Page 122 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 122

 FINDINGS
is chaired by the federal defender and consists of 15 experienced defense lawyers. “They make recommendations to the court as to who should be approved....We really do make an effort to have more geographical, gender, and racial and ethnic diversity on the panel.”309
Similarly, a panel attorney told the Committee that the change in his district’s CJA plan to create not only a selection committee and membership requirements but also a reapplication process and membership requirements had improved rep- resentation: “[A] panel selection committee takes applications once a year....Every three years you have to reapply. That seems to be making progress in getting a better qualified panel of attorneys to handle cases.”310
In another district, where the selection committee consists of the Chief Judge, the federal defender, and five senior panel members, the federal defender explained the process: “We meet once a year to consider the renewal portion of the panel and any new applicants. In advance of that meeting we will have reviewed both a fairly comprehensive written application and the notes from an interview that would have been conducted with each applicant by me and at least one or two members of the selection committee or members of my staff.”311
However, not all panel administration by committee was praised. Some panel attorneys expressed concern that there was still too much judicial control. One panel attorney told this Committee there is a concern among panel members in his district that the judiciary has undue influence on who gets to sit on the selection committee: “[S]o does the court really have one vote or does it have multiple votes because of who has been appointed to this committee that considers the applica- tions?”312 And despite the committee process to select attorneys for the panel, when it came to appointments in the district, this same witness described judges in his district who “seek out certain attorneys to handle cases.” “I wouldn’t question nec- essarily the experience of those attorneys that are being sought out,” he explained, “[but] I think that creates the perception of favoritism.”313
A consistent theme in testimony was that if committees are involved in panel administration, defense attorneys’ voices needed to be heard and they need to
be part of the decision-making process. “That the judges consult us first when
they have an issue with a lawyer, we feel like we can actually say truth to power,” one panel attorney explained. “I really think that’s the solution...a structure that encourages participation at every level.”314 Similarly, a CJA supervisory attorney told this Committee, “I believe our plan is successful because the court, the panel, and
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78 2017 REPORT OF THE AD
Id.
MarkFoster,CJADist.Rep.,W.D.N.C.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel6,Tr.,at10. HenryMartin,FPD,M.D.Tenn.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel6,Tr.,at16. PhillipSapien,CJAPanelAtty.,D.N.M.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel5,Tr.,at24.
Id. MaryMcNamara,CJADist.Rep.,N.D.Cal.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel6,Tr.,at38.
No recommendation presented herein represents 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 the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United States unless approved by the Conference itself.





















































































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