Profile: michael.barrett

A native New Yorker, Barrett worked as a public defender in Albany, New York before moving into the political arena. He went on to receive several appointments, under New York Governors Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, to positions in criminal justice and public safety, where he implemented policies that helped further reduce the state crime rate, which lead to the closing of multiple prisons. Recently, he served as Deputy General Counsel to Governor Jeremiah (Jay) Nixon. He moved to Missouri in 2011, and later joined the Office of Governor Jay Nixon as Deputy General Counsel. Barrett worked in the Missouri governor’s administration for two years before accepting the position as General Counsel for the MO State Public Defender System. In May, Michael Barrett was sworn into office as the new director of Missouri’s State Public Defender System. He was selected for the top spot by the Public Defender Commission in March. Barrett assumes leadership of a department that, at just shy of 380 attorneys, is one of the largest law firms in the state. Support and operations staff bringing the total number of employees up to 567. Last year, the organization was assigned over 75,000 new cases, ranging from misdemeanor traffic offenses up to and including death penalty cases, appeals, and post-conviction matters.




On December 28, 2016, NAPD published its Open Letter to Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro for his prosecution of Orleans Public Defender investigator Taryn Blume. A bedrock principle of our criminal justice system is that every citizen accused by the government of a crime starts with the benefit of the doubt – with a presumption that they are in fact innocent.  That right becomes meaningless if we do not uphold the equally important right of every citizen-accused defense team who fights for her cause; who digs for evidence of her innocence; who exposes the government when it hides that evidence.  The legitimacy of our criminal justice system depends upon defense lawyers and defense investigators doing their jobs, and doing them well, without fear of reprisal from a prosecutor acting more like a bully than the champion of truth and justice he is supposed to be.


Last Chance to Register! The NAPD Executive Leadership Institute (ELI-2017) is almost full will will be held from 3:00 pm on April 2 through 11:45 am on April 5, 2017 at the Department of Public Advocacy training facility in Frankfort, KY. You can see more information and registration details HERE