MISSOURI STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER SYSTEM
Director’s Office
Woodrail Centre
1000 West Nifong, Building 7, Suite 100
Columbia, Missouri  65203
Telephone: 573-526-5212   Fax: 573-777-9975

Official Statement – For Immediate Release

June 8, 2020 (COLUMBIA, MO)  The Missouri State Public Defender system stands with our greater defender communities and bar associations throughout the United States as the public defense community marches today in St. Louis and Kansas City for Black lives lost and against the deeply rooted inequities in the criminal legal system.  Systemic racism and police brutality have never had a place in any part of our society, including our criminal legal system.  And yet here we are again.  This cannot continue.  We watched in horror the killing of George Floyd, but the presence of a video should not be what changes us.

We condemn state sanctioned violence against the Black community and all communities of color. We believe, and always have believed, that Black Lives Matter.  We have and will work tirelessly to have our client’s voices heard, valued, respected and believed in Missouri Courts. We commit to do more. We commit to listen to people of color and believe their experiences. We commit to teach and learn about how racism impacts our community, our courts, and our profession and to take action against it.

Mr. Floyd’s death proves that we have much work to do as a nation, as a public defender agency, and individually to right the wrongs of 400 years of oppression of Black people in this country.  In this moment, we again hear you, stand with you, and join you and the rest of our country in this fight for equality and justice.

For questions regarding this information, please contact:

Mary Fox, Director
Missouri Public Defender System
Phone: 573-508–7722
Email: Mary.Fox@mspd.mo.gov

Greg Mermelstein Named Interim State Public Defender

Press Release – For Immediate Release

Greg Mermelstein Named Interim State Public Defender

November 18, 2019 (COLUMBIA, MO) — The State Public Defender Commission has named Greg Memelstein interim director of Missouri’s public defender system.

Mermelstein replaces former director Michael Barrett, who resigned to take a new job in New York.  Mermelstein will serve until a permanent replacement is selected.

“The legislature wisely made the public defender an independent department of state government in order to protect the rights and liberty of people accused of crimes,” Mermelstein said.

“Whether it’s fighting wrongful convictions or opposing illegal fees imposed on poor people, public defenders stop government overreach and uphold everyone’s constitutional rights,” Mermelstein said.  “I’ll seek to ensure that work continues.”

Mermelstein has been with the public defender system since 1990.  He most recently served as deputy director and general counsel.

For questions regarding this information, please contact:

Greg Mermelstein, Interim Director
Missouri Public Defender System
Phone: 573-526-5212
Email: Greg.Mermelstein@mspd.mo.gov