PRESS RELEASE RE: PRIVATE ATTORNEY APPOINTMENTS TO REPRESENT CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS

Boone County Circuit Court Provides Notice to Boone County Bar Association of Intention to Appoint Members of the Private Bar to Represent Criminal Defendants

Columbia, Missouri – September 27, 2017 – The Boone County Bar Association can confirm that it has received notice from 13th Circuit Court Presiding Judge Kevin Crane of the Court’s intention to begin immediately appointing private practice attorneys to represent criminal defendants.  The announcement comes shortly after the Court’s receipt of an e-mail from District Defender David Wallis, District 13 of the Missouri State Public Defenders Office.  District Defender Wallis wrote that considering the ethical obligations of his employees, public defenders in the District 13 Office will not be assigned to represent criminal defendants who are otherwise eligible until the workload of the attorneys in the office becomes manageable.

While not involved in the announcements from the Court nor the Public Defender’s Office, the BCBA recognizes the difficult position the court system and public defender system now find themselves in – with a defendant’s constitutional right to counsel and a speedy trial and the public defender’s obligation to provide effective assistance of counsel to all eligible clients.  The BCBA Executive Committee will be meeting soon and will be discussing what actions, if any, may be appropriate to take and the impact on the membership.

The Boone County Bar Association is a voluntary membership organization consisting of over 300 attorneys who live or work in Boone County, Missouri.