Source:Dave Helling, Katie Moore, Shelly Yang, Jill Toyoshiba, Neil Nakahodo, Leah Becerra, James Wooldridge
Affiliation:The Kansas City Star
Date:November 20, 2019; November 20-24, 2019
The Star’s investigation of Missouri’s failing public defender system found that the state is robbing people of their constitutional rights, depriving poor people of effective legal representation and allowing courts to railroad people into jails and prisons without regard for their guilt or innocence. The series showed that public defenders were tasked with too many cases and were threatened with jail when they sought help. A judge was found ordering a lawyer to violate the ethical code, while prosecutors used jails and weak public defenders as leverage to win guilty pleas from the poor.