A Missouri judge says the wait time for poor defendants to get legal help is unconstitutional. Circuit Judge Will Hickle write in an order that a class action lawsuit against the state by a group of poor defendants is likely to succeed. However, he held off on issuing an official ruling until May, to give lawmakers time to increase the budget for the public defender office.
State public defenders have been overwhelmed for years, and created a waiting list for state-paid help in 2017. As of November of last year, there were 2500 people on the list, with over 200 waiting over a year for help.