Page 148 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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and frequency of voucher cutting bear mention. First, although the Prado Report was criticized for the lack of data supporting its recommendation to unburden judges of the responsibility for voucher review, the AO and the judiciary have not, in the intervening 24 years, collected system-wide data on the payment of vouch- ers. Even today, the newly deployed eVoucher system does not currently have the national reporting capabilities to provide all of the data which the program should have for its management.443 Second, the Committee was somewhat hampered in collecting information because many panel attorneys feared that criticizing judges could have negative consequences for them and their clients. A federal defender bluntly told the Committee: “Unfortunately, Judge, I suspect you won’t hear
those testimonials [from panel attorneys]. because if somebody is pulling back
on what they need for representation because of the fear of what’s happening to people around them or even to themselves in the past they’re not going to be very inclined to come forward and make the bold statement that you need to hear.”444 One veteran panel member, who had recently relocated to another area of the country and thus was in a unique position to provide testimony about his previous district, told the Committee: “I’m here today to publicly talk to you about voucher averaging and all of the other problems in that district because I can assure you the vast majority of the members of the panel are not in a position to talk to you. Because they understand. They fear that talking to you publicly may result in them not being on that panel.”445 And the Committee did hear public testimony that panel lawyers who challenged voucher cuts in their districts had suffered nega- tive consequences.446 Because of these concerns, the Committee held a number
of closed-door sessions with witnesses, including panel attorneys. While those individuals are not quoted, their testimony supports what the Committee heard in public hearings and helped inform the Committee’s recommendations.
5.3.1 Self‐cutting (“Voluntary” Reductions)
One additional factor complicated the Committee’s efforts to gather information on the effects of voucher cutting—the practice of “self-cutting,” or submitting bills that do not reflect all time reasonably expended on a case. This practice does not include those lawyers, often from large private firms, who choose to consider their CJA work as a contribution to the public good. Rather it concerns the practice of panel attor- neys who are unwilling to bill for all time reasonably expended in order to avoid disclosing confidential client information, prevent larger voucher cuts by judges and
443 Seediscussionofe-VoucherinSection4.4.
444 DeborahWilliams,FPD,S.D.Ohio,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel10,Tr.at29.
445 JuanMilanes,CJAPanelAtty.,E.D.Va.andD.P.R.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel4,Tr.at9.
446 CoriHarbour-Valdez,CJAPanelAtty.,W.D.Tex.&D.N.M.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,NM,Panel 5, Tr. at 2.
No recommendation presented herein represents 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 the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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