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 prosecutorial arm. Consequently, the committee recommends that the need for a strong independent administrative leadership be the subject of con- tinuing congressional review until the time is right to take the next step.55
2.4 Prado Report: First Independent Review of the Criminal Justice Act
That “congressional review” would not come for another 20 years. Not until the Judicial Improvement Act of 1990 did Congress ask the Judicial Conference to con- duct further study of the federal appointed counsel program. Led by Judge Edward C. Prado, then a federal district court judge for the Western District of Texas, the “Prado Committee” included federal judges, defenders, professors, and a former United States Attorney. The Committee faced obstacles in its comprehensive review, including the unavailability of reliable, empirical data about the program, time and budget constraints, incomplete and inaccurate panel attorney rolls, and the absence of any formal analyses of the quality of representation provided by federal and com- munity defenders and panel attorneys.
Despite these challenges, the Prado Committee submitted its report to the Judicial Conference on January 29, 1993.56 Finding significant problems in the administration of the CJA, the Committee made several recommendations for reform, some of which the Judicial Conference ultimately adopted. These included eligibility standards for membership on a CJA panel, additional training programs for panel attorneys, increased compensation for panel attorneys, and reimburse- ment for necessary and reasonable travel time. The report also recommended the establishment of more federal defender offices in districts with the caseloads to sup- port it, and the creation of evaluation procedures to review staff and attorney perfor- mance in defender offices, which the Judicial Conference agreed to as well.
However, the centerpiece recommendation of the report was to create an inde- pendent defense agency under the judiciary. Citing the growing size and complex- ity of federal defense services, the Prado Committee concluded that a dedicated agency was necessary to manage the program effectively. The Committee also found that judicial involvement in the program impaired the quality of CJA representation while overburdening the courts, whose responsibilities under the CJA had grown as caseloads had increased.
Analyzing the letters, comments, testimony, and surveys it received, the Prado
55 S.Rep.No.91–790,91stCong.,2dSess.at18(1970).
56 Comm.toReviewtheCriminalJusticeAct,Rep.oftheComm.toReviewtheCriminalJusticeAct, at 2, reprinted in 52 Crim. L. Rep. (BNA) 2265 (1993) [hereinafter Prado Report] (quoting S. Rep. No. 91–790, 91st Cong., 2d Sess. at 18 (1970)).
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 15
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 























































































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