Missouri public defender director asks Nixon for $10 million

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The director of Missouri’s public defender system is asking Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon for an additional $10 million.

Director Michael Barrett said Monday that the money is needed to help the agency adequately represent the state’s poorest individuals charged with crimes.

Nixon’s office did not have an immediate comment Monday about the request for more money.

Barrett cited a federal report released in July on the St. Louis County Family Court, which said young people accused of crimes often lack adequate legal representation.

Barrett says the agency’s most pressing need is to hire more public defenders.

Nixon cannot give the department $10 million without first asking permission from lawmakers during the legislative session beginning in January.