Page 139 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 assistance with interfacing with the CJA lawyer regarding the voucher.”401 Another defender told the Committee she had “to spend a substantial amount of time educat- ing the bench about what is required [of the defense] in a federal criminal case.”402
In some cases, Circuit Case Budgeting Attorneys provide needed guidance and advice. One judge told the Committee that when there’s a concern about a voucher, she and others in her district request the assistance of the case budgeting attorney, and “the consensus is that this has worked quite well.”403 Although these informal efforts to educate and assist judges are laudable, they do not solve the problem of judges being poorly situated and ill-equipped to review panel attorney vouchers.
5.2.3 Judicial Voucher Review Produces Wildly Inconsistent Outcomes
A system of voucher review involving more than 1,000 independent decision-makers who receive no formal training yet are tasked with deciding whether services ren- dered are “reasonable”404 will necessarily produce wildly varying results. Testimony confirmed this. There is no uniformity in how “reasonableness” determinations
are made. And given that judges are not held to or constrained by any administra- tive direction, it is unlikely that uniformity could be imposed. Outcomes vary widely between circuits, between districts, and even between judges in the same district.
A former member of the Defender Service Committee agreed the current review process is extremely inconsistent between judges. He stated, “There are over 600 district court judges that review vouchers...not counting magistrate judges... and they had to do it with their own different way. There’s no one way that every- body does it. Those types of things could be more streamlined and more uni- form.”405 A panel attorney testified that even where judges are supportive and panel attorneys feel respected, voucher review is still not uniform:“[T]he judges came to the bench from very different paths. They don’t all share the same background and they don’t all share the same judicial philosophy and they certainly don’t all share the same attitude about funding the CJA panel.”406
Another source of inconsistency is the varying degree of pressure judges feel to contain costs. What is considered “reasonable” can change depending on the general fiscal climate or specific pressures to conserve funds. Although Judicial Conference policy discourages consideration of funding levels or appropriations shortfalls in voucher review,407 judges candidly admit they are affected by these concerns. As
401 MichaelCaruso,FPD,S.D.Fla.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel1,Tr.at30.
402 LisaFreeland,FPD,W.D.Pa.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,NM,Panel3,Tr.at26.
403 Mag.JudgeCherylPollak,E.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel2b,Tr.at2.
404 See18USCA§3006A(d)(1).
405 ChiefJudgeRanerCollins,D.Ariz.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,NM,Panel1,Tr.at5.
406 DebraDiIorio,CJAPanelAtty.,C.D.Cal.PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel3,Tr.at2. 407 SeeGuidetoJudiciaryPolicy,Vol.7A,Ch.2,§230.33.
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 95
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 


















































































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