Page 18 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 out in front, working to make the Sixth Amendment right a reality in practice. And they were not alone. Several U.S. Attorneys General, some members of Congress, and the American Bar Association repeatedly called for a legislative solution to the Sixth Amendment crisis. In the end, it took a federal commission—the Committee on Poverty and the Administration of Justice—appointed by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to persuade Congress to act.
The Allen Committee, named for its chair Professor Francis A. Allen, concluded that the ad hoc system of providing counsel to indigent federal defendants failed both defendants and the criminal justice system as a whole.11 When the Committee’s report was delivered to Congress on March 6, 1963, lawmakers were already primed to receive the findings. In his final State of the Union address on January 14, 1963, President John F. Kennedy had called on Congress to protect the right to counsel regardless of a defendant’s financial circumstances.
Congress passed the Criminal Justice Act on August 7, 1964, outlining a system to provide defendants without resources legal representation at every stage of the court proceeding. Even though the Act applied only to federal courts, its national scope made it a watershed for public defense, especially coming on the heels of the Supreme Court’s 1963 decision in Gideon v. Wainwright.
Because Congress was divided at the time about whether or not to create federal defender offices, the Act initially outlined a system in which federal judges would appoint counsel drawing from a local “panel” of private attorneys who would be paid at set rates for work in and out of court up to a fixed maximum. The statute also provided compensation for experts, investigators, and others services up to a fixed amount. The Judicial Conference of the United States and its allied agency, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, were tasked with the responsibility of building and overseeing this new national system of public defense.
A few years later at the request of Congress, the Department of Justice and the Judicial Conference commissioned Professor Dallin H. Oaks to revisit the idea of cre- ating institutional defenders. Submitted to Congress in 1969, the Oaks Report found
“a demonstrated need for some type of full-time salaried federal defender lawyers.”12 Congress amended the Criminal Justice Act in 1970 to create the current hybrid system of institutional defenders and private attorneys. Today, 91 of the 94 judicial districts have a Federal Defender Office whose staff are federal employees or a nonprofit Community Defender Office that works under contract with the federal government.
 11 TheAllenCommittee,ReportoftheAttorneyGeneral’sCommitteeonPovertyandtheAdministration of Federal Criminal Justice, submitted to the Attorney General on February 25, 1963 [hereinafter Allen Committee]. (See e.g. page 10, discussing the vital role that a strong defense plays in the health of our adversarial system, and stating the Committee’s finding that the “system was imperiled” by the large number of defendants unable to afford or adequately fund “a full and proper defense.”)
12 DallinH.Oaks,TheCriminalJusticeActintheFederalDistrictCourts,Subcomm.onConstitutional Rights of the S. Comm. on the judiciary, 90th Cong., 2d Sess. 11 (Comm. Print 1969) [hereinafter Oaks Report].
No recommendation presented herein represents xvi 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 the policy of the Judicial Conference of the United States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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