Expansion of office space to accommodate more court-appointed lawyers out of the Area 32 Missouri State Public Defender (MSPD) office in Jackson means an amended and more expensive lease is being required. Beginning in January, the county’s rent agreement with Nabors Land Developers, which leases the now-larger offices at 2360 N. High St. to the state, will increase from $50,000 to $80,000 annually. The Jackson office handles caseloads for Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Mississippi, Perry, Scott and Stoddard counties. Rent payments will be assessed to the individual counties on a pro-rated basis according to population, officials say. Cape County is the most populous of the counties in Area 32. Due to a bill that was passed on May 7 by the Missouri General Assembly, 53 additional public defenders were hired statewide — addressing a long-term shortage. The local MSPD office has increased by one-third from 12 to 18 attorneys. Three of the six public barristers are new while three others were reassigned from MSPD Area 35 office in Kennett, Missouri.