Court dismisses public defender system’s suit against governor

A Cole County Circuit Court has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the Missouri State Public Defender System director against Gov. Jay Nixon.

In July, director Michael Barrett filed a lawsuit, arguing that Nixon did not have the authority to withhold $3.5 million of his office’s $4.5 million budget increase. Nixon cited lower than expected revenue in freezing more than $115 million in the current budget.

In August, Barrett assigned Nixon to serve as a public defender, as a protest to Nixon’s budget freeze. A court ruled in favor of Nixon, saying the Public Defender director doesn’t have the authority to appoint the governor to serve as legal counsel. Judge Patricia Joyce says only courts can appoint public defenders.

Nixon said in a statement that the court decision affirms the governor’s authority to keep the budget balanced.

Read more: Missourinet, Kansas City Star


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