Page 165 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 165

 Even when panel attorneys are provided with some notice or process, the right is not always meaningful. Panel attorneys are frustrated that when they made significant efforts to explain to the court how their vouchers were justified, they still received little or no response.528 After learning that the court had determined that his claims for discovery review were excessive compared to his co-defendants, an attorney spent four hours setting forth his response to the proposed cuts. He received no response from the judge, only the check with the original proposed cut.529 Another panel attorney told the Committee about her experiences being given an opportunity to respond to the proposed cut:
We have a chart that [my paralegal] has created for the amount that
we have billed and then the amount that we were ultimately paid, and that’s what I reviewed in preparing my testimony today. I can say that 60 percent of my cases this calendar year have received a reduction of some sort. The times that I have been given the opportunity to meet with the judges, I would say about 50 percent of the time, those are still reduced.530
In a few districts, panel attorneys who protested voucher cuts have found their names in published opinions described as “scathing.”531 These opinions then influenced the way that the rest of the panel practiced criminal defense. A federal defender told the Committee:
We have had more than one published opinion cutting in great detail, talking about the pro bono obligations of counsel. They were rather scathing. They were very detailed. At least in one of the cases the judge had asked for a written response from the attorney and then turned around and wrote another opinion quoting what the attorney had said. Judges don’t have to do this more than once or twice to get the message across....One of the attorneys didn’t take any more cases. It had a very direct chilling how [other] attorneys billed. There was self-cut- ting no doubt because of those opinions...532
Models of providing process
Some districts have instituted successful models providing process before vouch- ers are cut. Many of these districts have a committee or other non-judicial group
528 MarkWindsor,CJAPanelAtty,C.D.Cal.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel3,Tr.at15. 529 JuanMilanes,CJAPanelAtty.,E.D.Va.andD.P.R.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel4,Tr.at10. 530 CoriHarbour-Valdez,CJAPanelAtty.,W.D.Tex.&D.N.M.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,NM,Panel 5, Tr. at 2.
531 MelodyBrannon,FPD,D.Kan.,PublicHearing—Minneapolis,Minn.,Panel2,Tr.at28.
532 Id.
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 121
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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