Page 81 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 rules of professional conduct to keep that goal center all the time.”136
The Committee is concerned about the pervasive inability of those most
impacted by the oversight of the federal defense program to have any say in its governance. As a former member of DSO told the Committee, “Even with that help and assist from [DSC], there are limits to what is able to be done. Not only are there limits, but at times, the Defender Services Committee just isn’t listened to....There is an internal judiciary power structure, if you will, and defenders aren’t a part of it.”137
The most important information about the functioning of the program comes from those doing the work at ground level—federal defense attorneys. There is an advisory structure that is intended to keep DSC informed about the CJA program, with such working groups as the Death Penalty Working Group, the Community Defender Organization Working Group, and the Performance Measurement Working Group, among others. These groups are made up of federal defenders
and panel attorneys, they are assisted by staff at DSO, and their work informs the Defender Services Advisory Group (DSAG). DSAG’s membership also includes both federal and community defenders and panel attorneys, and it works with DSO and ultimately the Defender Services Committee to assist in the oversight, governance, and support of the CJA program. However, no defense attorney—either defender or panel attorney—has a voting membership on any Judicial Conference committee.
So while structures theoretically exist to capture and transmit their knowledge and insight to decision-makers with authority over the program’s management, that theory often does not lead to practice, and defender voices are then only heard in an advisory capacity, still subordinate to the needs of the judiciary.
As with the lack of federal defender and panel attorney input within the Judicial Conference structure, when it comes to legislation and policy proposals defenders are placed in the difficult position of acting as dedicated advocates for their clients while trying to work within a governing structure whose mission is to serve the courts. This placement harms both the defenders and the judiciary—the former by silencing them when they have a duty to speak for their clients; the latter by placing the judiciary in a conflicted position of having to speak for both the defenders and their own interests.138
Defenders testified about their frustration with not having a seat at the legisla- tive and policy tables both inside and outside the Judicial Conference. A defender testified that because defenders “have that constitutional responsibility, we should
136 Julia Leighton, General Counsel, Public Defender Service for D.C., Public Hearing—Minneapolis, Minn., Panel 1, Tr., at 25.
137 RichardWolff,FormerChief,Legal,Policy,andTrainingDivision,DSO,Public Hearing—Philadelphia, Pa., Panel 7, Tr., at 12.
138 Asmentionedabove,theDSC’sjurisdictionregardinglegislativeinputisextremelylimited.Often, even regarding legislation that will directly affect the CJA program or defenders, the DSC is not asked for any comment, nor is it necessarily notified of legislation proposed either in Congress or by the judiciary. This will be discussed below with the recent example of legislation proposed by the judiciary to expand the policing powers of probation officers.
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 37
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.
 




















































































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