Page 171 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 171

 underscored the vital role of supervising attorneys in voucher review:
When all of us in all of our various districts were looking to cut back, we as judges were adamant [the CJA Supervising Attorney] was not going to be cut because it is such as a critical part of our process....The key ingre- dient in our view for why that process works is that the person who sits in that seat is a respected former member of the defense bar, and that, I think, is important.558
A district’s CJA panel representative agreed, testifying that, “it’s very import- ant to note that [the CJA Supervising Attorney] is a very, very well respected member of the defense bar, has been a CJA lawyer for over two decades. We
all know her. When she says a voucher is unreasonable, it’s unreasonable and none of us complains about it. She comes with inherent credibility.”559 A CJA Supervising Attorney echoed these views:
I was a panel member for over ten years and I’ve been working on CJA cases in this district for almost thirty years prior to taking this position.
I know the judges who I practiced before who I’m now working with as well as the panel members....I do a reasonableness review of the vouch- ers. Having an experienced federal practitioner and a former member of the panel gives both the court and the panel confidence that there will be a fair and reasonable review of vouchers.560
A district judge in Maryland admitted that while the system, “is not perfect,” having a supervising attorney “has gone a long way to bring some consistency to what would otherwise be ten or fifteen different district judges who all may take slightly different approaches to the idea of reviewing the vouchers.”561
Other districts have since added supervising attorney positions, sometimes as court employees, other times as employees of the federal defender office (as dis- cussed in the next section). The Committee heard positive reviews of these posi- tions, wherever they were located.562 South Carolina placed its CJA administrator within the defender office. According to the defender, this system guards against arbitrary voucher cutting. A panel attorney also praised the administrative attorney position, telling the Committee:
I cannot tell you what a difference that has made and how valuable that attorney is to our panel in South Carolina. I have been a panel attorney
558 JudgeYvonneGonzalezRogers,N.D.Cal.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel5,Tr.at1.
559 MaryMcNamara,CJAPanelAtty.Dist.Rep.,N.D.Cal.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel 6, Tr. at 3.
560 DianaWeiss,CJASupervisingAtty.,N.D.Cal.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel1,Tr.at10. 561 ChiefJudgeCatherineBlake,D.Md.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel1,Tr.at21.
562 RichCurtner,FPD,D.Alaska,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel7,Writ.Test.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 127
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 


















































































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