Page 113 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 113

 defendants of much needed assistance in trying to obtain post-conviction relief.”264 A former defender who is now a panel attorney disagreed with the General Counsel memo. He told the Committee that, for defenders, “[W]e don’t feel that we’re
part of the judiciary, we work for our clients and these were the people who were impacted by that opinion that limited involvement.”265 He wrote to the Committee that the memo was “a crushing emotional blow to defenders to be told they could not help former clients suffering over-punishment. But, the more damaging conse- quence of the AO’s decision is that many eligible prisoners will not have petitions for commutation processed in time for consideration.”266 Another defender agreed that because of this decision, it was “questionable whether all those cases that are ripe for review will be timely entertained during this administration.”267
As the clemency issue described above illustrates, where policy initiatives and client interests are concerned, the AO and the judiciary’s views can conflict with the defenders at a very basic level—who should be represented under the CJA.
3.6.4 Probation Officer Protection Act
This conflict of missions is also illustrated in a recent bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. Nearly a decade ago in its March 2008 meeting, the JCUS adopted a recommendation to “seek legislation that would permit probation officers, whether in a search context or otherwise, to arrest, based on probable cause, persons who assault, resist, or impede the officer in the performance of official duties.”268 A bill
to do so, H.R. 1039, the “Probation Officer Protection Act of 2017,” was introduced and passed in the House of Representatives. Before it passed, two federal defenders wrote a letter to the representatives on the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of Federal Public and Community Defenders outlining their position against the bill. They wrote, “We oppose the bill because it would violate the Separation of Powers, would invite Fourth Amendment violations, is unnecessary for purposes of super- vision or safety, and would instead escalate the risk of harm to all concerned and undermine effective supervision.”269
Unfortunately, there is no evidence the Committee can find that the Defender Services Committee had any chance to meaningfully consider and respond to this proposal before it was approved by the Judicial Conference. No one from the Defender Services Office or the defender community was included in meetings with congres- sional staff on this bill. Also, since the AO’s Office of Legislative Affairs only promotes
264 MarjorieMeyers,FPD,S.D.Tex.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel6,Writ.Test.,at4.
265 ThomasHillier,FormerFPD,W.D.Wash.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel1,Tr.,at14.
266 ThomasHillier,FormerFPD,W.D.Wash.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel1,Writ.Test.,at3.
267 LeighSkipper,Exec.Dir.,CDO,E.D.Pa.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel3,Tr.,at6.
268 AvailableonJNET,accessrestrictedtojudiciaryemployees,athttp://jnet.ao.dcn/legislation/ legislative-summary/crime/safe-searches-us-probation-officers-2017.
269 Patton-Sandsletter,March30,2017pg1.SeeAppendixE.
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 69
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 


















































































   111   112   113   114   115