Page 152 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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Another defender, involved in the voucher review process, told the Committee, “I’m able to see the attorneys whose vouchers are being cut...I do think that it is some- thing that is more frequent now than it was pre-sequestration.”456 And in a written submission, another federal defender informed the Committee that in his District “reductions in compensation have occurred with greater frequency in several high profile, multi-defendant cases in the past twelve months”.457
Chief Judge Catherine Blake, former chair of the Defender Services Committee, testified that during sequestration voucher cutting was a pervasive problem such that the Defender Services Committee felt the need to address the practice. She testified:
Essentially we were receiving information from panel attorneys, from some of the advisory groups within the AO that there certainly was at least a perception that vouchers were being cut because of the difficult financial times, that there were judges who genuinely believed that in a difficult financial time cutting everybody a bit was an appropriate way to go to help conserve resources. That of course is contrary to Judicial Conference policy. And also, to the extent that perhaps some judges believed that by cutting voucher they were saving money for their own court, that is of course not correct.458
To address this misperception, Chief Judge Blake along with Judge John Bates, then Director of the AO, issued a memorandum to all federal judges dated December 23, 2014, reminding them: “It is the responsibility of judicial officers to carefully review payment vouchers for compliance with the CJA ‘reasonableness’ requirement. Reducing vouchers simply in the interest of cost-containment, how- ever, or as a result of concerns about the Defender Services budget, is contrary to Judicial Conference policy.”459
Unfortunately, it appears the practice has not stopped, and “anecdotal infor- mation indicates judges are cutting vouchers and denying expert funding requests based on a perception that they need to reduce payments in order to contribute to the overall judiciary cost-containment effort.”460
5.3.3 Effects of Voucher Cutting
The effects of voucher cutting are very difficult to capture and quantify. It is hard to
456 LisaFreeland,FPD,W.D.Pa.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,NM,Panel3,Tr.at31.
457 TonyGallagher,Exec.Dir.,CDO,D.Mont.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel6,Writ.Test.at5.
458 ChiefJudgeCatherineBlake,D.Md.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel1,Tr.at26.
459 JudgeJohnBatesandJudgeCatherineBlake,PaymentofCriminalJusticeActCounsel,December 23, 2014. The memo quoted from the Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol. 7A, Ch. 2, § 230.33 (Impact of
an Appropriation Shortfall on Voucher Review) which states clearly that sequestration and budget concerns should not change how vouchers are reviewed.
460 TonyGallagher,Exec.Dir.,CDO,D.Mont.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel6,Writ.Test.at6.
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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