(AP) – The Missouri Supreme Court is putting a public defender on probation after he admitted to neglecting indigent clients while he dealt with illness and a heavy caseload.
The state’s high court on Tuesday put Columbia-based public defender Karl Hinkebein on probation for a year. The court could suspend his license if he doesn’t follow his probation.
The case hit on larger concerns that have been raised by the head of the public defender system about underfunding and unmanageable caseloads.
Hinkebein in court documents admitted that he failed to properly represent and communicate with six clients between 2011 and 2014. A state attorney discipline agency recommended he be suspended for a year, but his attorney argued for a lighter punishment because he was sick and handling a large caseload.