Page 214 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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center [it could be] spreading ideas maybe we should be looking at.”790 Panel mem- bers also offered support for these ideas, “the federal defenders performance stan- dards, and have a baseline [for] best practices for our panel members, the quality of representation would definitely go up.”791
7.3 Additional Issues that Affect the Quality of Representation
Three additional issues that affect the quality of representation are 1) access to inter- preters, 2) remote detention, and 3) the challenges associated with representing Native American defendants. These issues are not mutually exclusive, and when they over- lap, even greater difficulties confront defense attorneys, especially CJA panel attorneys. While the Committee is unable to adequately address these issues within the scope
of this study, the testimony establishes these are problems that must be addressed to improve the quality of defense services provided in federal criminal cases.
7.3.1 Ability to Retain Interpreters
Many attorneys testified about their need for interpreters to effectively communi- cate with their clients, even when the attorney has some ability to speak the client’s language. Many attorneys who speak the defendant’s language understand how important it is to have an interpreter, lest “something gets missed in terms of trans- lation of a plea agreement or something.”792 As one panel attorney explained,
[T]here are Spanish speakers and then there are real Spanish speak- ers....I can carry on a conversation. I can understand things. They under- stand me. But when you start explaining to them what are their available paths, what are the particular nuances of evidence that exist against them, explaining to them these federal sentencing guidelines...explaining adjustments, explaining offender characteristics, explaining the § 3553(a) factors and variant sentences and grounds for it. I believe you really have to have someone that is a real Spanish speaker with you.793
A federal defender testified that having an interpreter is paramount. Referring to bilingual attorneys, he said, “I just wonder with some of them the level of their expertise and I always feel more comfortable if they’re using a certified inter- preter because I have no way of knowing otherwise whether the accuracy of the
790 Id.at33.
791 AmySirignano,CJAPanelAtty.,D.N.M.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel3,Tr.,at27. 792 PhillipSapien,CJAPanelAtty.,D.N.M.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel5,Tr.,at20. 793 RichardEsper,CJAPanelAtty.,W.D.Tex.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel5,Tr.,at6.
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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