Page 154 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 154

 FINDINGS
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R E P O R T
O F
be paid for, or knowing that if a case goes to trial almost none of their time will be compensated. No professional wants to admit that lack of compensation will affect her decision, but at some point there is the real possibility that it will.
Some attorneys are curtailing their efforts so as to avoid submitting a voucher that is above the case maximum. A concern commonly heard was that attorneys felt “pressure to keep fees down” and worried that if their vouchers con- sistently exceeded the case maximum, they would be cut from the panel.465 No one wants to be perceived as “milking the CJA system”466 by submitting a voucher over the case maximum—even when they put in the work. Judge John Gleeson spoke of a culture that exists in some districts where the reality is that panel attorneys do not want their voucher scrutinized and so they make the decision to “either do the work and it’s not compensated, or they don’t do the work.”467 Either the attorney suffers or the client does.
In the long term, qualified attorneys may reduce the amount of CJA work
they accept. One attorney explained that she had decided to expand her privately retained work because she had started to question the value of her CJA services to the courts. In the past she had not been concerned about getting paid for her work, assuming, “It’s the government, they’ll pay me.”468 Now, she is making changes
in her practice. In another large district, CJA representatives reported that morale among panel members had suffered greatly.469 On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being high and 1 being low, 70 percent of the panel reported morale to be 3 or less.470
In another district, an attorney spoke of how “demoralizing”471 it was to have his voucher cut. He noted that even if it is not a criticism of the quality of the work,
or an allegation that anything about the voucher was improper, the reduction in compensation for work done is still “hard not to take personally.”472 These attorneys continued to accept CJA work, but others have decided not to.
Some attorneys have chosen to give up their CJA practice and leave the panel. A former district court judge told the Committee, “What I understand is that some of the best and the brightest have left the list, so there’s a relationship between who you get and how you treat people.”473 Voucher cutting, panel attorneys told the
465 LoriNakaoka,CJAPanelAtty.,D.Idaho,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel5,Tr.at30.
466 TeresaDuncan,NewMexicoCriminalDefenseLawyersAssociation,PublicHearing—SantaFe, NM, Panel 4, Tr. at 25.
467 JudgeJohnGleeson(ret.),E.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel3,Tr.at27.
468 ShaunMcCrea,CJAPanelAtty.,D.Or.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel4,Tr.at34.
469 MarilynBednarski,CJAPanelAttyDist.Rep.,C.D.Cal.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel 6, Tr. at 9.
470 Id.
471 RobertRichman,BoardMember,Minn.Assoc.ofCriminalDefenseAttorneys,Public
Hearing—Minneapolis, Minn., Panel 4, Tr. at 17.
472 Id.
473 JudgeNancyGertner(ret.),SeniorLecturer,HarvardLawSchool,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,
Pa., Panel 2b, Tr. at 9.
No recommendation presented herein represents 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 the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United States unless approved by the Conference itself.











































































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