Page 185 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 185

 part of the recent work measurement study conducted by the Policy and Strategic Initiatives Division of the Human Resources Office (the staff within the AO that pro- vide support to the Judicial Resources Committee), data collected from FPD offices was used to create a work measurement formula that indicates how many staff were needed for each office. The work measurement study showed that many of these offices are currently understaffed. However, circuit courts retain ultimate staffing authority over the number of assistant federal public defenders an FPDO can have. According to one federal public defender, “The judiciary can now decide whether my office grows, remains at its current level, or goes out of existence simply by manipulating the number of appointments.”648
Some circuits have demonstrated an unwillingness to increase staffing levels for offices that have requested additional attorneys. This has been true in some instances where the staffing formula would provide an office with additional posi- tions but the circuit will not approve requested assistant positions. This has led to drastic disparities in staffing in different parts of the country.649 For example, in recent years, the Fifth Circuit has been unreceptive to approving additional attor- neys for FPD offices, even when those attorneys were needed to meet the offices’ growing caseloads.650 According to the former Deputy Assistant Director of the Defender Services Office, federal public defenders in the Fifth Circuit historically did not feel “comfortable in putting a request for attorney staff increases that they felt that they needed to the circuit court of appeals because of reactions that it would draw.”651 Federal public defenders expressed concern to the Committee that if they asked the circuit for additional attorneys, “their job status would be impacted,” and they might not be reappointed.652
Indeed, the former Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Texas described experiencing a “culture of no” shortly after assuming his appointment: “Despite rising caseloads and the fact that the prior defender received assurances of 2 additional slots for AFPDs, the prior defender had not filled those spots for fear of being looked upon as wasteful by the Fifth Circuit.”653 The Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Texas recounted a similar experience:
Throughout recent decades, we have had to make strenuous arguments to justify an increase in the number of AFPD’s positions, and our arguments have at times been at least partially unsuccessful. For example, when our
648 BruceEddy,FPD,W.D.Ark.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Alabama,Panel6,Writ.Test.,at6.
649 ReportoftheProceedingsoftheJudicialConf.,JCUS-SEP15,p.24-25.
650 SeegenerallyMaureenFranco,FPD,W.D.Tex.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel2,Writ. Test.; Jason Hawkins, FPD, N.D. Tex., Public Hearing—Santa Fe, N.M., Panel 2, Writ. Test.; Marjorie Meyers, FPD, S.D. Tex., Public Hearing—Birmingham, Ala., Panel 6, Writ. Test.
651 SteveAsin,FormerDeputyAssistantDirector,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel7,Tr.,at30. 652 Id.
653 RichardAnderson,FormerFPD,N.D.Tex.,PublicHearing—Minneapolis,Minn.,Writ.Test.,at3.
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 141
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

   183   184   185   186   187