Page 143 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 143

 obtaining those same sentencing letters.419 In other districts, even communications on those topics may be considered non-compensable.420
Panel attorneys explained that judges sometimes miss the importance of gath- ering relevant and important information about the client from family and others who know the client best and the value of establishing a relationship with people whom the client knows and trusts. Just how much time is reasonable to spend with a client and his family is not subject to a bright line rule. Where such meetings assist the attorney in building a working relationship with the client, they are reasonable. And failure to establish a trusting relationship with a client can have financial as well as human costs. Most notably, a rupture in the attorney/client relationship requiring appointment of new counsel will always increase CJA costs.
Travel Time
Judges were often reluctant to pay for time attorneys spent traveling to meet in person with clients and witnesses. When clients are housed remotely or witnesses are in far-flung locations, travel by the attorney is essential to proper representation. Judiciary policy provides that, “[C]ompensation must be approved for time spent in necessary and reasonable travel.”421 However, some districts have adopted policies to discourage even necessary and reasonable travel.
A panel attorney district representative in a large western district testified, “A few years ago, the court determined that it would not allow us to travel, that vouch- ers would be cut for travel cost. Attorneys were placed in the position of wondering whether they would get paid for making the trip, sometimes a very long trip, to meet with their clients.”422 And a federal defender from a rural district emphasized to the Committee, “It is difficult to appropriately represent someone who is detained two- and-a-half hours from your office if one of the things that goes through your mind
is a practice that exists to say that two client visits is enough and that amounts after that [are] getting cut.”423
There is also tremendous inconsistency, even within a single district, as to when payment for travel will be approved. One panel attorney’s experiences exem- plify what the Committee had heard about these inconsistencies:
I’ve had the opportunity to have several judges be very understanding
419 AnthonySolis,CJAPanelAtty.Dist.Rep.,C.D.Cal.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel6, Tr. at 23.
420 Seee.g.,U.S.v.Aadal,280F.Supp866(S.D.N.Y.1967)(holdingeffortstosecurebondnot compensable); U.S. v. Brock, 2010 WL 4320445 (S.D. Fla.)(holding “handholding” is not compensable); U.S. v. Cobas 2010 WL 4814679 (S.D. Fla.)(holding time spent assisting family with bond paper work and explaining sentencing not compensable).
421 GuidetoJudiciaryPolicy,Vol.7A,Ch.2,§230.60(a).
422 WendyCurtisPalen,CJAPanelAtty.Dist.Rep.,D.Wyo.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal., Panel 6, Tr. at 6.
423 NeilFulton,FPD,D.N.D.&D.S.D.,PublicHearing—Minneapolis,Minn.,Panel2,Tr.at3.
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 99
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 


















































































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