Page 120 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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Another defender offered a similar view:
I’ve been so impressed with the panel administrator[s]...the way they
FrannyForsman,FormerFPD,D.Nev.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel4,Tr.,at18. ThomasMcNamara,FPD,E.D.N.C.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel1,Tr.,at5. AnthonyRicco,CJADist.Rep.,E.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel9,Tr.,at37. Id.
No recommendation presented herein represents 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.
I think that judicial input is necessary. Because when I was first a defender where we wrote the local plan, we had nothing but attorneys and no judges on the selection committee, and I realized fairly quickly that there was no way that those lawyers were going to know enough about whether somebody should be on the panel or off the panel. There should be judicial input and a procedure or process for receiving that [input]; as well as there should be a procedure or a process for clients to be able to register complaints with regard to lawyers.300
While a great deal of the work lawyers do in preparing a case is not visible to judges, their input is nevertheless essential in evaluating a lawyer’s performance. Certainly, any scheme of panel management should consider judges’ views in deter- mining who will be on the panel and, in an individual case, whether work was com- pleted and done well. However, this does not require judicial management. In a number of districts where the panel is managed primarily by the federal defender or a CJA supervising attorney, plans provide for receipt and consideration of judicial input.
Administration of the CJA panel by institutional defenders was widely praised. One defender whose office manages panel administration felt his district could be a model for others: “My office and myself do everything, from A to Z. We select the panel attorneys when we have conflicts, we work closely with them to give them advice all the time. We have extensive training sessions for them. We have a listserv, a newsletter rather, that we give to them.”301 A panel attorney told the Committee that the basis for administration by defender offices exists already in the relationship between CJA attorneys and the defender office.302 Panel attor- neys in many districts already use the defender office as a resource and look to them for assistance. “[I]nformally it happens now anyway. Lawyers reach out, they call, they want advice, and it should be encouraged. . . . I think [formal administra- tion] would be welcomed.”303
Limited resources can be an impediment to moving administration into defender offices, however. As a defender told the Committee, “[M]y efforts to have a CJA panel administrator in my district were 100 percent dependent on them being my employee. The clerk’s office said . . . [t]hey were not going to pay for them.”304 Some defenders believe they could easily absorb panel management if funds were made available.

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