Judge vetoes plan to cut Missouri public defenders’ workload

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge refused approval of a deal to reduce Missouri public defenders’ case workloads, saying the proposed agreement is essentially unworkable.

According to KCUR-FM, the consent decree submitted to the court last May, would have limited public defenders to no more than 174 hours of casework a month.

Though studies conclude the Missouri public defender system is stretched beyond capacity, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey said the consent decree proposed is not the way to solve the problem since judges were not bound by the agreement, forcing public defenders to choose between violating the consent decree or being subject to contempt of court. 

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