Page 114 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 114

JCUS legislative policies, even if the Defender Services Committee, the AO’s Defender Services Office, or the defenders had voiced opposition, it would not have been com- municated or included in any submissions if it was contrary to that policy.
During the markup of the bill, Rep. Conyers advanced many of the arguments put forth in the Federal Public and Community Defenders’ letter in opposition to the bill, illustrating the importance of defender input to legislators. It appears that the defenders felt forced to circumvent the JCUS governing structure to give input on the bill. The current structure had failed to allow for the defense view to be heard. Under the current structure, there does not appear to be a mechanism for the defender pro- gram to have an official position that is contrary to that of the judiciary. Finally, this structure does not allow federal defenders to act as advocates for the CJA program or their clients on legislative matters that affect federal criminal defense.
Once again, the CJA program is simply not suited to be subsumed within a judiciary structure whose goal is to serve the courts. As a judge on the Defender Services Committee said,
The defenders today are uniformly individuals at the very top of their profession, experts in the field of federal criminal defense who for the most part have devoted their careers to defense of the indigent...the fact remains that the direction of the defense function is controlled by a committee made up entirely of judges, leaving the nationally-recognized experts in the criminal defense profession and the lawyers charged with implementing policies and providing the representations with no vote and little authority over the direction of the defense function.270 •
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270 Mag.JudgeJonathanFeldman,W.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel1,Tr.,at8.
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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