Page 163 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 163

 based upon a “gut feeling.” Reflecting on this attorney’s comments made during the course of a Committee hearing, one judge noted, “I’m not sure how those judges who do cut viscerally justify that. I do think that there should be a justifica- tion component to any cutting that goes on.”518 Another district court judge voiced her own frustration with these unexplained, or unexplainable, cuts. She described her efforts in trying to encourage her colleagues to revisit their reasons for impos- ing cuts or denying professional services under the CJA. “[T]here have been occasions where lawyers have come to me and said, ‘My voucher was cut’ or ‘An investigator was denied’ and I’ve gone to the judge and he said, ‘Well, I thought it was appropriate.’ And that was it.”519
If you have had a voucher(s) cut or denied, were you given an explanation?
Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
    States unless approved by the Conference itself.
30% 40% 50
15.63% 12.34%
Source: CJA Review Committee Survey on Vouchers (June 2016), available at
Panel attorneys expressed additional frustration that they sometimes would not learn of a cut until they received a check for the representation. “It’s wrong to do work and submit a voucher and get no notice and open the envelope and find that your check is less than what you billed and have no idea that that was com- ing.”520 Because the payment does not include any notice that the voucher has been reduced, sometimes attorneys do not even realize the voucher has been cut until they go back and compare the amount they billed to the amount they received.
A panel attorney district representative in one district, who is also a former federal defender, testified that in a difficult terrorism case the circuit court cut his voucher by $45,000, representing roughly half of the hours he had worked on the case. He received no notice from the circuit court, learning of the cut only when the district’s federal defender notified him. Asked whether he sought some form of due process, he replied, referring to the judge who reviewed his voucher, “He doesn’t give due process, so I didn’t ask for any.”521
518 JudgeCathyBissoon,W.D.Pa.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel2a,Trat14.
519 Mag.JudgeCherylPollak,E.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel2b,Tr.at10.
520 DebraDiIorio,CJAPanelAtty.,C.D.Cal.PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel3,Tr.at3. 521 DanScott,CJAPanelAtty.Rep.,D.Minn.,PublicHearing—Minneapolis,Minn.,Panel5,Tr.at18.
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 119

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