Page 48 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 48

BACKGROUND
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R E P O R T
O F
T H E
In addition to its public hearings, the Committee held closed-door hearings with individuals who requested anonymity or had sensitive information to relay. The Committee also met privately with leaders of the Administrative Office, mem- bers of Judicial Conference Committees, and other relevant agencies, offices, and courts in Washington, D.C. Outside the scope of hearings, the Committee invited and received written comments from district, circuit, and magistrate judges,
the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and
the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, among others. Finally, the Committee and staff reviewed hundreds of pages of relevant reports and studies.
The Committee attempted to secure quantitative data from the Administrative Office on panel attorneys’ vouchers, voucher review, and voucher reductions as part of its research. Much of the information requested by the Committee did not exist, and what was provided did not fully meet the Committee’s needs.
The Committee understands that the Administrative Office’s efforts to systemi- cally collect data have met with some obstacles. For example, although the judiciary has an electronic system for receiving and processing bills from panel attorneys nationwide, many of the system’s features that would allow for more comprehensive data collection and analysis have not been activated or installed.
The Committee did have access to useful data from prior surveys of federal defenders and panel representatives, as well as information on the use of service pro- viders by panel attorneys. To complement that data the Committee fielded its own nationwide surveys of panel attorneys, and questioned half of them about their expe- rience with voucher cutting and the other half about their use of service providers.3
In order to study, review, and organize the information received, discuss rec- ommendations, and complete this report, the Committee worked together for over 200 hours in addition to time spent conducting hearings. Before participating in the study, Committee members were unaware of the depth and scope of the prob- lems hindering implementation of the Criminal Justice Act. Because the current structure emphasizes local control, most actors within the criminal justice system know only what happens in their own courtrooms and/or districts; and each
has its own distinct culture and practices. At the outset, many on the Committee believed that the system of federal public defense worked fairly well, upheld the right to equal justice, and could be improved with small changes or gradual shifts in policy and practice. Studying the system as a whole and hearing from hundreds of witnesses from around the country led Committee members to the unanimous conclusion that the current administrative structure of the CJA is flawed, defeating
3 Asevidenceofthecurrentlackofdata,theCommitteewasunabletoobtainacompletenationallist of active panel attorneys from the Administrative Office. Thanks to the assistance of CJA Panel District Representatives across the country and others, the Committee was able to construct its own list of all CJA Panel Attorneys for use in these surveys. See Appendix C: Survey Data Considered.
No recommendation presented herein represents 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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