Page 101 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 overhead, have access to staff provided by the office, and receive benefit packages. The Committee appreciates the fact that federal defenders and U.S. Attorneys
cannot engage in the private practice of law. However, this is becoming a reality for some CJA panel attorneys as well. There are two factors associated with federal practice which may also make it difficult to maintain a private practice. The first
is that the complex nature of federal criminal defense requires panel attorneys
to take a sufficient number of cases to remain proficient in complicated areas of law.215 Taking the number of cases at this hourly rate to maintain that proficiency may become a financial burden. Second, as panel attorneys become more skilled in federal defense, they take on increasingly complex and difficult cases, which may inhibit their ability to accept private cases to support their practices.216 If
CJA panels are to retain qualified counsel, the need for adequate rates must be addressed.
The low hourly rate is demoralizing and discourages continued participation in federal public defense representation. One panel attorney said that in Pittsburgh, “I think there are paralegals who make more money than that or who bill at higher rates.”217 Another panel attorney told the Committee the rate is “demoralizing. Many times the ancillary services people get the same as what the [CJA] lawyer gets.”218 Finally, a panel attorney testified in Philadelphia:
Because I need to save money...I made the decision...to share an office, not office space, but literally share an office with another very experi- enced attorney....We love the work, we’re committed to the work and we do it. But, really, I shouldn’t be sharing an office at this point of my career. I shouldn’t be forced into that position.219
To continue to attract qualified panel attorneys to take cases under the CJA, the hourly panel rate must be higher.
215 TheVeraReportrecommended4-5casesayear,thoughwitnesseswhotestifiedtotheCommittee recommended a higher number. Please see section B; Jon Wool et al., Improving Public Defense Systems: Good Practices for Federal Panel Attorneys Programs, Vera Inst. Of Just. 7 (June 2003), available at https://www/vera.org/publications/good-practices-for-federal-panel-attorney-programs- a-preliminary-study-of-plans-and-practices (last viewed 9/25/2017).
216 SeeMarkWindsor,CJAPanelAtty.,C.D.Cal.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel3,Writ. Test., at 1–2; See also Jessica Hedges, CJA Board Chair, D. Mass., Public Hearing—Philadelphia, Pa., Panel 9, Tr., at 11 (“I [have had] to turn away good civil cases recently...to focus on [my urgent CJA cases]. I am losing a lot of money on making that choice.”).
217 PatrickLivingston,CJADist.Rep.,W.D.Pa.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel9,Tr.,at11. 218 BobbiSternheim,CJADist.Rep.,S.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel9,Tr.,at29. 219 JessicaHedges,CJABoardChair,D.Mass.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel9,Tr.,at30.
No recommendation presented herein represents
the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United 2 0 1 7 R E P O R T O F T H E A D H O C C O M M I T T E E T O R E V I E W T H E C R I M I N A L J U S T I C E A C T 57
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 




















































































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