Broke and Broken: Can We Fix Our State Indigent Defense Systems?

Missouri Law Review 2010 Symposium

February 26, 2010
Hulston Hall



Brochure (PDF)

Across the country, systems for providing legal services to indigent criminal defendants are facing crises on a number of fronts. Stagnant or declining state appropriations are leading to oppressive caseloads for indigent defense systems. These caseloads, coupled with low compensation and difficult working conditions are driving lawyers out of the indigent defense system and into more lucrative and less stressful areas of practice. Indigent criminal defendants bear the true costs of these crises when they are represented by exhausted attorneys who are unable to adequately serve their clients.

While these challenges are well known, seldom have academics and practitioners gathered to discuss affordable yet effective solutions to the problems. The objectives of this symposium are to explore the causes of the crises facing state indigent defense systems, discuss potential solutions, and consider the impact of legal and ethical considerations on the systems.