State ex re. Missouri Public Defender Commission, Cathy R. Kelly and Rod Hackathorn v. The Honorable John S. Waters and the Honorable Mark Orr
In Missouri, the legislature established a Public Defender Commission to issue regulations on the administration and operations of the state’s defender services. The rule at issue in the case is 18 CSR 10-4.010, which requires the commission to maintain a caseload’s standards protocol identifying the maximum caseload each office can be assigned without sacrificing effective representation. When an office exceeds the maximum caseload standard for three consecutive months, the director may limit the office’s availability to accept new cases.
On July 31, 2012 the Supreme Court of Missouri issued its opinion on whether or not a trial judge may appoint an indigent defendant to the Public Defender’s office when the office is certified for limited availability due to an excessive caseload capacity. Judge Waters assigned Jared Blacksher’s case to the district’s Public Defender’s Office despite the office’s unavailability pursuant to the Commission’s regulation. The Judge ignored the administrative rule believing the Sixth Amendment right to counsel left him no choice but to appoint a public defender. The Public Defenders sought relief from Judge Waters orders to represent Mr. Blacksher.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the trial judge exceeded his authority by assigning a public defender in contravention of the rule. The Court faced three arguments in support of Judge Waters’ order. First, that the case was moot, because the defendant had accepted a plea bargain. The Court found this case to fall under the public interest exception, because the issue presented is of general public importance and capable of repetition yet evading review. Second, the regulation permitting defender offices to limit their availability is bad public policy. The Court noted that a rule must be followed unless it is invalid or inapplicable, but that neither was shown in this case. And third, public defenders are obligated under the Sixth Amendment to accept an appointment regardless of their caseload. The Court reiterated that the Sixth Amendment gives a defendant, not just the right to counsel, but effective assistance of counsel. It is the judge’s duty to ensure that the defendant has effective assistance of counsel and this right is “affirmative and prospective.” The Court found that this duty means “a judge may not appoint counsel when the judge is aware that, for whatever reason, counsel is unable to provide effective representation to a defendant. Effective, not just pro forma, representation is required by the Missouri and federal constitutions.”
The Court sympathized with the situation facing the parties and suggested judges should use their inherent authority to manage their dockets by taking a proactive role in ensuring effective representation. One suggestion was using methods such as to “triage” cases by appointing public defenders to the most serious offenses and delaying the appointment of counsel for minor offenses.
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.