Page 117 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 117

 nature of federal criminal litigation, the defense should be “on the same footing as [government] counsel with training and expertise,” to protect the rights of the defen- dant under an adversarial system.280 Where there is not a current and adhered-to plan codifying practices to establish an effective and efficient system for providing CJA representation, then the statute itself is not being implemented to provide the protections it was designed to ensure.
Other districts have CJA plans that exist on paper but are ignored in practice. A federal defender told the Committee that under the plan in her district, “You are technically on the panel, on the CJA panel, whether or not you are qualified. Every person who is admitted to the bar of the [district] is considered to be on the panel, and that includes whether or not you are dead because they don’t strike your name off after you die.”281 She further explained that if her office wants to contact panel attorneys to offer training or other support, “it is very difficult to get a meaningful list of those lawyers who are practicing routinely.”282
In another district, the Committee was told:
[W]e have a model CJA plan. We’ve had it for years, it’s been re-adopted any number of times, the last time was 2011. We have it, but the judges of my district totally ignore it. It has different things on it about criteria for admission to the panel. There’s supposed to be a mentor panel, you’re supposed to have a three-year review. They don’t do any of that.283
Moreover, because many plans lack review procedures for panel attorneys and don’t have structures in place to assist and train them when judges have con- cerns about the quality of their practice, some panel attorneys find that they are no longer receiving appointments. Judges simply tell the magistrate judge, “Don’t send this person back into my courtroom.”284 This hurts the individual attorney and the panel. With proper plans that include policies that provide feedback and training for these attorneys, many of these lawyers would not be faced with exclusion from appointments but instead would be “salvageable.”285 Instead of being identified
for training or support that could improve overall quality of representation in the district, they “just magically don’t get cases anymore, which doesn’t improve the performance standards of anyone.”286
There are considerable benefits to updating and implementing plans with provisions to promote a qualified and well-trained panel. A panel attorney told the
280 E.GerryMorris,Pres.NACDL,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel2,Tr.,at26.
281 TinaHunt,Exec.Dir.,CDO,M.D.Ga.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel3,Tr.,at1.
282 Id.
283 RochelleReback,FormerCJAPanelAtty.,M.D.Fla.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel5,Tr.,at12–13. 284 TinaHunt,Exec.Dir.,CDO,M.D.Ga.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel3,Tr.,at25.
285 Id.
286 Id.
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 73
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 


















































































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