Page 166 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 166

 122 2 0 1 7
to review questioned vouchers and make independent determinations.533 A key
to their success seems to be the inclusion of attorneys on these committees who understand what is required for an effective defense. In the Western District of Washington, for example, the federal defender explained that the district’s standing committee meets four times a year to consider issues with vouchers,534 reviewing half a dozen each year.535 The committee reviews vouchers only when the attorney or the judge involved requests a review.536 The CJA panel attorney district represen- tative described the standing committee’s process:
[W]e just finished reviewing a voucher that was referred to the standing committee, and it was a pretty exhaustive process where we went to the attorney and asked some questions. We went to the judge and really tried to get more clear on the judge’s concerns, and went back to the attorney, and then we took a position and I think we’ve just submitted that to the judge.537
This standing committee can intervene where a lawyer has made mistakes in billing and can refer the attorney for “counseling and mentoring.”538 The committee can also investigate vouchers flagged by judges as containing questionable asser- tions of work done. For example, in one case a voucher requested reimbursement for time spent discussing a suppression motion with the client that was never filed. After inquiring, the review committee found, “There were good reasons to spend time with the client to recommend against filing the motion because of the nega- tive ramifications it would have.”539 Judges would not normally have access to this kind of information when conducting a “reasonableness” review.
A Northern District of Alabama judge described his district’s process when attorneys request review of a voucher reduction. Within seven days of receiving notice, a panel attorney can ask a CJA Administrative Committee to review the reduction.540 The Administrative Committee gives panel attorneys the opportunity to raise concerns about the cuts and the Committee then issues recommenda- tions.541 As this judge acknowledged, “ultimately it is the district judge’s call, but we do provide an opportunity for the committee to have input....I think that gives
533 Onejudgeinadistrictwithoutsuchacommitteesuggesteditasthebestoptionforproviding process. Mag. Judge William Matthewman, S.D. Fla., Public Hearing—Miami, Fla., Panel 3, Tr., at 25 recommended districts “establish a committee just like we have committees to review issues of attorney professional misconduct.”
534 MikeFilipovic,FormerFPD,D.Or.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel6,Tr.at15.
535 Id.at2.
536 Id.at21.
537 JenniferHorwitz,CJAPanelAtty.Dist.Rep.,W.D.Wash.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel5, Tr. at 38.
538 MikeFilipovic,FormerFPD,D.Or.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel6,Tr.at15.
539 Id.at16.
540 Mag.JudgeMichaelPutnam,N.D.Ala.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel1,Tr.at19. 541 Id.
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.

   164   165   166   167   168