Page 24 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 24

 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The lack of data hamstrung this Committee, just as it did its predecessor
a quarter- century ago.
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, states have had the ability to apply for “fast- track” measures that would shorten the statute of limitations for capital habeas cases to six months and aggravate existing problems.
To address these widespread problems, some Federal Defender Offices cre- ated Capital Habeas Units (CHUs) that serve their entire district and/or state. These specialized units are effective in ensuring timely, high quality representation and in controlling costs because of their economies of scale.14 Despite their demonstrated effectiveness, CHUs were prohibited in some circuits until recently, and even today some circuit courts restrict the creation of a CHU and its staffing.
Persistent Data Deficit
Twenty-four years ago, the last time an independent committee was tasked with reviewing the quality of public defense in the federal courts, that body was criti- cized for the lack of data supporting its findings and recommendations, despite the fact that at the time such data did not exist. It still doesn’t exist. The kind of comprehensive approach to data collection needed to effectively manage and evaluate a billion-dollar-plus government program is not taking place.
The lack of data hamstrung this Committee, just as it did its predecessor a quarter-century ago. Much of the data that the Committee sought out to complete its review was unavailable, nonexistent, or inaccessible. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts doesn’t even maintain a list of all practicing panel attorneys.
With limited government data to rely on, the Committee embarked on its own effort to gather data. Through significant effort on the ground, the Committee created a master list of panel attorneys in each and every district—and then sur- veyed them. As a result, the most extensive effort ever to collect data on the admin- istration of the Criminal Justice Act was undertaken by this Committee. Moving forward, it is imperative that government assume this responsibility, use all avail- able tools—including full implementation of the electronic vouchering system (eVoucher) — and develop data collection protocols when none exist. •
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14 StephenBright,President,SouthernCenterforHumanRights,PublicHearing–Miami,Fla.,Panel 4, Writ. Test., at 8.
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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