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St. Louis district supervisor picked to run Missouri's public defender office

St. Louis district supervisor picked to run Missouri's public defender office

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ST. LOUIS — The city's head public defender has been tapped to run Missouri's statewide public defender system.

Mary Fox, who has run the St. Louis Trial Office since 2007, will take over the state's public defender system beginning Friday. She was selected by the six-member Missouri Public Defender Commission to succeed Michael Barrett, who left the job in November.

After earning her bachelor's and law degrees from St. Louis University, she went on to work as an assistant public defender in Clayton from 1981-86 and worked as a special public defender in St. Louis in 1986 and 1987.

Over the next two decades, she served as an administrative hearing officer for St. Louis police internal affairs and worked part time as the traffic commissioner for St. Louis County, she said. She also practiced family and juvenile law.

Fox told the Post-Dispatch she is most proud of working with the judges and prosecutors' office in St. Louis to improve bail practices and the docketing system.

In an emailed statement, Fox said she looks forward "to building upon the successes of our previous director Michael Barrett and the public defender commission."

"I am confident that we will be able to work with others in the criminal justice system to identify ways to manage caseloads in a way that allows for effective and zealous representation for all those who qualify for our services," Fox said. "If the public defender and its clients are not a primary consideration in the criminal justice system, the potential for true reform within our communities is greatly hindered."

Fox, of University City, said she will live in Columbia, Missouri, during the week. She'll earn a salary of $149,712.

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