Page 97 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 Congress to increase the CJA hourly rate, one panel attorney expressed his frustra- tion to the Committee:
For 11,000 CJA panel reps [sic], the judges decided not to even approach Co ngress and ask for what the rate should be right now. Think about that. Who does that benefit? Now, they did it “for our own good.” Well, thank you. I really appreciate that, but I don’t feel very good about it, as you can tell.197
3.5.2 Effects of the National CJA Panel Rate
Insufficient hourly-rate funding for CJA panel attorneys has consistently been identified as a threat to effective representation. The hourly rate paid to CJA panel attorneys has fallen well behind prevailing rates for legal work. As the gap between rates paid for CJA representation and those earned elsewhere in the law grows, highly qualified lawyers become increasingly unwilling to accept CJA appoint- ments. Some of the best lawyers doing this work leave the panel altogether.198 This problem is not a new one.
In 1993, the Prado Committee found that “[a] primary reason for the grow- ing dissatisfaction with the functioning of [the] private bar component of the CJA program stems from the historically and increasingly inadequate compensation paid to panel attorneys.”199 Over two decades later in 2005, a subcommittee of
the Defender Services Committee, evaluating the placement of the CJA program within JCUS, reached the same conclusion,200 finding that the primary reason that attorneys declined CJA appointments was the “low level of CJA panel attorney compensation and concerns about voucher reductions.”201 Surveys commissioned by the subcommittee supported this finding. The subcommittee concluded that “the failure to fund the panel attorney program adequately, including fair and rea- sonable compensation rates, has adversely impacted . . . the availability of qualified attorneys to accept CJA appointments.”202
This Committee’s conclusions are no different. Both the $132-per-hour non-capital rate which Congress has funded, and the unfunded $148 statutorily authorized non-capital rate, are too low and need to be significantly increased. These rates cause the loss of qualified counsel from CJA panels and make it difficult to attract young, capable federal criminal practitioners to an aging panel. As explained
197 JohnConvery,CJADist.Rep.,W.D.Tex.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel6,Tr.,at33.
198 Seee.g.insectionCbelow:“WhatIunderstandisthatsomeofthebestandthebrightesthaveleft the list, so there’s a relationship between who you get and how you treat people.” Retired Judge Nancy Gertner, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Law School, Public Hearing—Philadelphia, Pa., Panel 2b, Tr. at 9; “I’ve had lawyers tell me ‘I can no longer work for free.’” Deborah Williams, FPD, S.D. Ohio, Public Hearing—Philadelphia, Pa., Panel 10, Tr. at 29.
199 Rep.oftheJudicialConferenceComm.CJARev.Comm.,March1993,at37.Emphasisadded. 200 GleesonReportpg.16.
 201 Id.at14. 202 Id.
No recommendation presented herein represents the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United States unless approved by the Conference itself.
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