The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Missouri, MacArthur Justice Center, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe have filed a class action lawsuit to end the state of Missouri’s unconstitutional use of public defender “waiting lists” which deprives thousands every year of the court-appointed counsel required in by the constitution.
Over 4,600 individuals, roughly 600 of whom are currently in pretrial detention, are waiting for an attorney in the State of Missouri.
These individuals have been charged with crimes and qualify for a court-appointed attorney but are being forced to wait for an indeterminate amount of time for one to become available due to an overburdened indigent defense system. As a result, a criminal defendant may wait weeks, months or even years before they are assigned an attorney.
“Without intervention by the court, public defenders and judges will continue to endorse this practice that destroys lives, communities, and any integrity of criminal proceedings.”