Page 168 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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The NACDL interviewed former AO Director and District Judge John D. Bates, who admitted that while the AO “has emphasized educating the judiciary about ‘fairness’ and ‘proper examination’ of vouchers, the AO could not impose upon dis- trict judges a national standard because ‘district courts are fiefdoms.’”547
The Vera Institute study of the federal defender system supports the assertions made by many of the judges who testified at this Committee’s hearings that they did not feel they were qualified for or in the position to adequately review vouchers or service-provider requests. According to that study,
somewhat more than half of the judges we spoke to stated candidly that they were not fully qualified to make decisions about certain matters such as when an expert should be retained, what is a reasonable fee for their services, or how many hours are reasonable to spend on investigations
or plea negotiations. Moreover, even when judges are fully qualified to make these decisions, some judges said they feel it inappropriate to do
so as presiding judge in the case because of the ex parte nature of these contacts and the dangers inherent in the court intruding into the strategic planning of the defense.548
Additionally, adopted in 2002, the American Bar Association’s Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System were created to address “the fundamental criteria necessary to design a system that provides effective, efficient, high quality, ethical, conflict-free legal representation for criminal defendants who are unable to afford
an attorney.”549 The very first principle on the list is: “The public defense function, including the selection, funding, and payment of defense counsel, is independent.”550
Finally, in its amicus brief in the recent case of Christeson v. Roper,551 the ABA challenged the notion that attorneys appointed under the CJA in death penalty and habeas representation are supposed to provide their representation pro bono:
Reliance on pro bono representation is no substitute for an adequately funded defense....Yet federal courts too often fail to grant the funding necessary for...attorneys to provide effective bono representation cannot be the norm for constitutionally or statutorily man- dated counsel....[It] undermines the court’s important role of safeguard- ing the statutory right to counsel...[and] also conflicts with numerous
547 Id.at50.
548 JonWool,K.BabeHowell,LisaYedid,ImprovingPublicDefenseSystems:GoodPracticesforFederal
Panel Attorney Programs, Vera Inst. of Just., 30 (June 2003).
549 AmericanBarAssociation,TenPrinciplesofAPublicDefenseDeliverySystem(Feb.2002),available
at ls_sclaid_def_tenprinciplesbooklet.authcheckdam.pdf (last visited April 26, 2017).
550 Id.
551 Christesonv.RoperBriefOfAmicusCuriaeAmericanBarAssociationInSupportOfPetitioner,No.
16-2730 (8th Cir) (August 17, 2016).
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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