Page 115 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 115

 Section 4: Local CJA Panel Administration
The Criminal Justice Act requires each United States district court, with the approval of the relevant circuit court, to formulate and implement a district-wide plan for providing representation to any criminal defendant who cannot afford to hire an attorney.271 The CJA also grants authority to the Judicial Conference of the United States (JCUS) “to issue rules and regulations governing the operation of district plans” for providing legal representation for indigent defendants.272
While plans can and should vary to reflect local conditions, the fundamental goals of any plan are the same: to ensure there is a pool of qualified lawyers (both panel attorneys and institutional defenders), that counsel is promptly appointed, that these defense attorneys have the resources necessary to properly represent their clients, and that they are fairly compensated. Even though up-to-date plans that conform to JCUS policies are a requirement around the country, there are currently districts without CJA plans, districts that have not updated their plans in decades, and districts that do not follow their own plans.
4.1 Importance of CJA Plans for Representation
Local plans are critically important to the administration of the CJA. These plans are meant to spell out the process for selection and retention of panel attorneys along with many other essential aspects of representation in ways that meet the particular needs of the district. Doing so helps ensure that qualifying defendants are provided
271 18U.S.C.§3006A(a)(2012). 272 18U.S.C.§3006A(h).
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 71
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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