The head of Missouri’s public defender system is resigning. Michael Barrett decided to resign after four years as director of the Missouri State Public Defender system because he is returning to New York to be closer to family. A six-member public defender commission will select a new director. Barrett has been a vocal critic of the lack of resources for Missouri public defenders and the need for criminal justice reform. In 2016, he appointed former Governor and attorney Jay Nixon to defend a case for a person who couldn’t afford a lawyer. He said the move was a protest of budget cuts for the public defenders’ office. A judge later ruled that Barrett didn’t have the authority to make the appointment.