University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name State ex rel. Missouri Public Defender Commission v. Waters PD-MO-0001
Docket / Court No. SC91150 ( State Court )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Case Summary
On July 1, 2010, criminal charges were filed against a defendant in the 38th Judicial Circuit of Missouri. The defendant was unable to obtain counsel and qualified to have counsel appointed to him through the office of the public defender. The public defender's commission asked the appointment to ... read more >
On July 1, 2010, criminal charges were filed against a defendant in the 38th Judicial Circuit of Missouri. The defendant was unable to obtain counsel and qualified to have counsel appointed to him through the office of the public defender. The public defender's commission asked the appointment to be set aside as it was in violation of 18 CSR 10-4.010, which precluded public defenders from being appointed after reaching 100% of their caseload after three consecutive months of being over their caseload. The trial judge denied the motion and appointed a public defender to a case in violation of the caseload protocol rule. In doing so, the trial judge concluded that he believed that the Sixth Amendment required him to appoint the public defender to represent the defendant.

On September 2, 2010, public defenders in Missouri filed, in the Missouri Supreme Court, for a writ of prohibition ordering the trial court to withdraw its appointment of the public defender's office.

On July 31, 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an opinion holding that the trial court judge exceeded his authority in appointing counsel in violation of 18 CSR 10-4.010. The court further held that to appoint a public defender in this circumstance would actually have violated the 6th amendment as competent counsel could not be guaranteed. The trial court was also instructed to hold a meeting with stake-holders to alleviate the need for the protocol rule to be invoked.

Patrick Branson - 11/19/2014


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Quality of representation
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) Judge John Waters
Plaintiff Description Missouri Public Defenders office
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Indigent Defense Reform: The Role of Systemic Litigation in Operationalizing the Gideon Right to Counsel
Written: May. 07, 2007
By: Vidhya K. Reddy (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel.
Written: Apr. 14, 2009
By: National Right to Counsel Committee (The Constitution Project)
Citation: National Right to Counsel Committee, Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel (2009)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense
By: Norman Lefstein (Indiana University--Indianapolis)
Citation: (ABA 2011)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Third Generation of Indigent Defense Litigation
New York University Review of Law and Social Change
By: Cara Drinan (Columbus School of Law, Catholic University)
Citation: 33 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 427 (2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
SC91150 (State Supreme Court) 09/02/2010
PD-MO-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Bloomberg Law
General Documents
Opinion (Missouri Supreme Court) 07/31/2012 (370 S.W.3d 592)
PD-MO-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Justia
Judges Fischer, Zel M (State Supreme Court)
PD-MO-0001-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Mermelstein, John Gregory (Missouri)
PD-MO-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dobbs, Donovan Duane (Missouri)
PD-MO-0001-9000
Miller, Benjamin Jacob (Missouri)
PD-MO-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -