Barrett said his budget has been slashed to the point that he can not hire lawyers to fill vacant positions and that caseloads have increased 12 percent from the previous year.
The state's public defender system needs nearly 270 more attorneys to meet its case volume a 2014 study found, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Barrett told the Post-Dispatch he has lost about 30 attorneys since that study was done.
Barrett told The Post the office's 376 current attorneys handled more than 82,000 cases last year.
Nixon did not comment to the Post, Post-Dispatch or other media outlets.