Page 55 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 Poverty and the Administration of Justice, instructing its members to study the system of federal criminal justice for those defendants unable to afford an attorney. The Allen Committee34, named after its chair, Professor Francis A. Allen, was asked to present to the Department of Justice a series of recommendations to address weaknesses in the administration of criminal defense, especially the problems faced by defendants without resources to afford counsel. In 1962, as the Allen Committee went about its work, two editors of the Harvard Law Review conducted their own research into the state of federal public defense.35 They found that without insti- tutional support or payment, assigned counsel’s role was limited, and most of the attorneys spent less than three hours, not including time in court, preparing each case.36 Guilty pleas were prefaced only by “a hurried ten-minute conference in a corner of the courtroom.”37 Those who were assigned counsel received young, inex- perienced lawyers, “little versed in the technicalities of the criminal law or the ques- tioning of accused persons,” with “little if any courtroom experience.”38 Attorneys were reluctant to refuse a judge’s assignment because “they might later have to appear before [the judge] on an important matter.”39
While the glaring problems were obvious to the article’s authors, the major-
ity of lawyers and judges interviewed for the study felt the ad hoc system provided “adequate” or “very adequate” representation.40 Even though the system’s inade- quacies were clear to those who studied the system, those within that system failed to see them. Perhaps because operating within the system limited perspective and exposure, or perhaps because their expectations were low, 93 percent of lawyers and judges believed that appointed counsel performed sufficiently.41
The Allen Committee’s findings, captured in its 1963 report, echoed those of the Harvard Law Review study. It refuted the belief that defendants without means were receiving effective representation. The Allen Committee concluded that the ad hoc system of providing counsel to indigent defendants failed both those defen- dants and the criminal justice system as a whole.42 The report underscored the
34 TheAllenCommittee’sReportoftheAttorneyGeneral’sCommitteeonPovertyandthe Administration of Federal Criminal Justice was submitted to the Attorney General on February 25, 1963 and to the Congress in March of the same year.
35 BruceJ.Havighurst&PeterMacDougall,Note,TheRepresentationofIndigentCriminalDefendants in the Federal District Courts, 76 Harv. L. Rev. 579, 581 (1963).
36 76Harv.L.Rev.579,588.
37 76Harv.L.Rev.579,589.
38 76Harv.L.Rev.579,596.
39 76Harv.L.Rev.579,591.
40 76Harv.L.Rev.579,588.
41 76Harv.L.Rev.579,588.
42 Seee.g.,AttorneyGeneral’sComm.onPovertyandtheAdmin.ofFed.CriminalJustice,Rep.tothe H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 86th Cong. 10 (U.S. Gov’t Printing Office 1963) (discussing the vital role that a strong defense plays in the health of our adversarial system, and stating the Committee’s finding that the “system [was] imperiled” by the large number of defendants unable to afford or adequately fund “a full and proper defense”) [hereinafter Allen Report].
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 11
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 


















































































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