Head of Monett public defender office named

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Missouri State Public Defender System has named Pamela Musgrave as new manager of the Monett Public Defender Trial Office, which includes Barry, Lawrence and Stone counties.

Musgrave, who has worked as a public defender in the Monett office since last year, will replace District Defender Clate Baker, who will retire at the end of August.

During law school at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., Musgrave participated in an internship at the St. Joseph Public Defender's Office and developed an interest in criminal law. After graduation, Musgrave moved to Kansas City but was not able to find work in the field of criminal defense, so instead began working in telecommunications law and foreclosures.

"After some years had passed, I was not satisfied with the work I was doing, and I began to look at the public defender system again," said Musgrave.

In 2006, Musgrave took a position with the public defender office in Poplar Bluff, working there for four years before transferring to the Monett office.

"I am so glad I did," said Musgrave. "I now love my job and living in a rural area."

In addition to earning a law degree from Washburn University, Musgrave holds a paralegal degree and a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Missouri Western State University.

As manager of the public defender trial office in Monett, Musgrave will oversee eight attorneys who cover Stone, Lawrence and Barry counties. They also handle conflict cases in several other counties. During the last fiscal year, the local public defenders were assigned more than 2,000 cases.

Currently, the Missouri State Public Defender System is involved in litigation over whether public defender offices have the right to turn away cases when their lawyers are too overloaded to provide effective assistance of counsel. The case is currently pending in the Missouri Supreme Court.

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