Page 104 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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flawed with that model?”222 The President of the NACDL told the Committee, “Those problems became very manifest in 2013 with the sequester crisis...During that crisis, there was a feeling among the defender community that when money got tight, that the Judiciary looked after itself more than the defenders and that the defenders, who had long relied upon the Judiciary to be their advocates for Congress, for funding, were let down.”223
Some witnesses explained to the Committee that the defenders were not sin- gled out during sequestration; all offices and programs in the judiciary were affected. A federal district judge who was chief judge at the time told the Committee that the judiciary took “significant hits” during the budget shortfall.224 “For instance in my dis- trict, our funding for staffing was cut by one-third and we had to reduce our staffing costs....There was in no way an attempt that I’m aware of by the judiciary to meet the budget restrictions by decimating the federal defenders or defender services.”225
This assertion is, on its face, accurate.226 Defenders operated under the same Continuing Resolution and were subject to the same sequestration related per- centage cuts as the rest of the judiciary. But for reasons particular to the program, defenders were affected far more severely than the judiciary’s various programs. More important for purposes of this discussion, judiciary decisions about how these shortfalls would be managed prioritized judiciary needs over those of the CJA and in doing so damaged the program.
The Defender Services Committee, aware of these facts and of the harm
these cuts would cause federal defender offices, recommended to the Executive Committee — which has exclusive jurisdiction to create the judiciary’s yearly spending plans227 — that the shortfall in available funds be addressed by planning to delay payments to CJA panel attorneys at the end of the fiscal year. The judiciary could then either seek supplemental funding in the current fiscal year to timely make these payments or seek sufficient funding in the following fiscal year to make
222 NationalAssociationofCriminalDefenseLawyersReport,FederalIndigentDefense:The Independence Imperative, 2015, available at (last
visited Oct. 6, 2017) at 5 [hereinafter “NACDL Report”]. The report goes on to state that in light of sequestration, “[f]or NACDL, which has increasingly devoted resources to promoting indigent defense reform among the states, the federal indigent defense crisis was a grave concern. This concern was heightened as many within the federal indigent defense structure urgently sought support for efforts to restore funding. It was in this context” that the report was commissioned. NACDL Report at 5.
223 GerryMorris,President,NationalAssoc.ofCriminalDefenseLawyers,PublicHearing—SantaFe, N.M., Panel 4, Tr., at 7.
224 JudgeRosannaPeterson,E.D.Wash.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel3,Tr.,at2. 225 Id.
226 Thefollowinginformationisbasedoninterviewsheldwiththoseinvolvedatthetimeanddirect Committee member knowledge.
227 TheJudicialConferenceoftheUnitedStatesanditsCommitteesAugust2013,Appendix Jurisdiction of Committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States (As approved by the Executive Committee, effective March 13, 2017). The Jurisdictional Statement of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference which gives this Committee explicit authority to, “ spending plans for the federal judiciary’s congressionally approved appropriations.”
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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