By Brad Tregnago, KSSZ
Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson, who was a Missouri public defender for decades, agrees with appointing Governor Nixon to defend someone who can’t afford an attorney. She says the poor deserve affective counsel.
Janet Thompson (Photo courtesy of Boone County Commissioner’s website)Janet Thompson (Photo courtesy of Boone County Commissioner’s website)
Missouri Public Defender Director Michael Barrett has appointed Nixon as a protest to Nixon’s budget freezes. Nixon cites lower than expected revenue for freezing more than $115 million in the current budget.
“It’s highly appropriate (to appoint Nixon). That’s often what happens when the Public Defender needs assistance. Judges sometimes appoint folks to those cases,” says Thompson.
Thompson says the Missouri Public Defender System has needed more funding since at least the 1980’s.
“It (Public Defender System) was underfunded at that point and judges across the state were appointing lawyers. Governor Nixon is a lawyer, first and foremost he has a bar license,” says Thompson.
Nixon spokesman Scott Holste says Barrett does not have the legal authority to assign private counsel. Barrett says Nixon might have to make that argument to a judge.