Page 118 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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Committee that an updated plan in her district led to the creation of a system in which lawyers are required to apply to be on the CJA panel, and the size of the panel is designed to allow the attorneys to become and remain proficient by regularly receiving appointments. The new plan also has provisions for training.287 As a result of this updated plan, the panel attorney reported an increase in performance and practice among panel attorneys. It also created an environment which encourages younger, less experienced attorneys to join the panel.288
4.2 Aspects of Effective Plans
Many CJA plans do operate well and are effective at ensuring quality representa- tion. Adopting a structure that incorporates best practices not only sets the stage for the consistent provision of high-quality defense; such a plan is also perceived by defense lawyers to be fair and reasonable. As one CJA panel attorney district rep- resentative told the Committee, “I think culture comes after structure. I don’t think you can get a good culture without a good structure.”289
4.2.1 Who Should Manage the Panel
Judiciary policy provides that panel administration and management “should be centralized in one organizational element (such as the clerk’s office or, where appro- priate, the federal defender organization) to ensure that counsel is appointed as expeditiously as possible, appointments are equitably distributed, and information on availability of counsel is maintained.”290 On the whole, testimony this Committee received indicates that a critical aspect of an effective plan is involving the local fed- eral defender organization and panel attorneys in the administration of the plan. CJA panels function more effectively when the defender office, a CJA committee, or a CJA supervisory attorney manages applications from lawyers to join the panel—as well as their removal, if necessary, from the panel—and their appointment to cases. While judicial input is necessary to create a high-quality panel of attorneys, most practi- tioners believe that panels controlled exclusively by judges generally function less well and are less satisfactory to the participating attorneys. Although a minority view, some witnesses who testified before this Committee disagree. One federal defender told the Committee, “The panel is managed by the district court in my district, and it is preferred to be that way by our panel members.”291 She stated that panel attorneys
287 MelanieMorgan,CJAPanelAtty.,D.Kan&W.D.Mo.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel5,Tr., at 14.
288 Id.at13–14.
289 MaryMcNamara,CJADist.Rep.,N.D.Cal.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel6,Tr.,at20. 290 GuidetoJudiciaryPolicy,Vol.7,PartA,Ch.2§210.30.40.
291 DorisRandle-Holt,FPD,W.D.Tenn.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel6,Tr.,at7.
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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