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Story Publication logo November 7, 2019

Broken Justice, Episode 1: 'Triage'

Authors:
Broken Justice: A dive into the public defender system across the nation.
English

In 1997, Ricky Kidd was sentenced to life without parole for a double homicide he says he didn't...

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Image courtesy of PBS NewsHour. United States, 2019.
Image courtesy of PBS NewsHour. United States, 2019.

Can an attorney handle more than 100 criminal cases at a time? That's the reality for a public defender like Jeff Esparza, who represents defendants unable to afford their own lawyers in Kansas City. The public defender system in Missouri--and across the nation--is underfunded, understaffed and overworked. Attorneys say their clients are slipping through the cracks. The system fails people like Kevin Shepard, who sat in jail for months before ever meeting his overworked public defender's mistakes.

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