Page 167 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 lawyers on the panel a level of comfort that they’re not going to be arbitrarily having their vouchers cut.”542
Participants in these committee processes emphasize that they do not rubber stamp either the proposed reductions or the original voucher. As one defender explained:
CJA peer reviewing their colleagues’ work is no joke. They do not rubber stamp their colleagues’ work, including people who are friends. I’ve watched them review the vouchers of excellent attorneys in my district who are friends of these attorneys, and they take it dead serious. They cut those vouchers, they recommend cuts to those vouchers, or they support those vouchers, but they do it in a very meaningful way.543
In all districts with such committees, recommendations are non-binding, and “the court is free to accept, reject, or modify” the committee’s recommendation.544
5.4.5 Independent Support for Changing the Current System of Voucher Review
In fall of 2015 the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (“NACDL”) issued a report, “Federal Indigent Defense 2015: The Independence Imperative.” The report listed “Seven Fundamentals of a Robust Federal Indigent Defense System,” the fifth of those fundamentals being “Decisions regarding vouchers must be made promptly by an entity outside of judicial control.”545 According to the report, which considered interviews with panel attorneys, defenders, and judges across the coun- try, many panel attorneys,
often face arbitrary cuts at the hands of judicial officers whose decisions need not be explained and cannot be challenged. Allowing judges to determine the amount of time and effort an attorney devotes to a case improperly puts the judge in the position of determining the amount
of justice for an indigent defendant and forces the private bar to sub- sidize the government’s obligation to provide zealous and meaningful representation. Some lawyers leave the panel as a result of this practice. Control over vouchers must be removed from unreviewable, unregu- lated judicial control and given to a truly independent administrator outside of the judiciary.”546
542 Id.
543 MarianneMariano,FPD,W.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel3,Tr.at34-35. 544 LeighSkipper,Exec.Dir.,CDO,E.D.Pa.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel3,Tr.at6. 545 NACDLReportpg.10.
546 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 123
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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