St. Louis Public Radio News
3:47 am
Wed January 28, 2009

Mo. Chief Justice delivers State of the Judiciary Address

Jefferson City, MO – One day after Governor Jay Nixon gave his State of the State Address, Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith delivered her State of the Judiciary Address.

In her speech, Stith implored lawmakers to address the lack of public defenders in Missouri, which she described as a crisis.

"Missouri ranks dead last in per capita funding of the public defender...this affects not just the defendant whose trial is delayed, it sometimes means that justice is delayed or denied for the victims of crime," Stith said.

Governor Jay Nixon is recommending the state spend $35 million on the Public Defender's office. That's one million more than what's currently being spent, but $13 million less than what's been requested.

Stith also urged lawmakers to re-authorize the $7 fee paid by those who file court cases. She says the money collected funds one-third of the court system's technology needs.