Missouri governor assigned to be public defender on case




KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The head of Missouri's public defender system says he is appointing Gov. Jay Nixon to handle a case in protest of declining funding.

Michael Barrett, the director of Missouri's Public Defender System, wrote in a letter this week that repeated budget cuts have left his office unable to hire enough public defenders for people who can't afford representation. The letter to Nixon was posted this week on the office's website.

Barrett says the law allows him to appoint any Missouri attorney to secure representation for indigent clients. He says he's starting with Nixon, a former attorney general. Barrett wrote that Nixon "not only created this problem, but is in a unique position to address it."

Nixon's office didn't immediately respond to an email Thursday from The Associated Press seeking comment.
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