Page 205 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 205

 “The Criminal Justice Act should be amended to require the CJA’s national admin- istrative entity to provide on-going training in federal law and practice, on a par with that provided to the prosecutors, to attorneys supplying service pursuant to the CJA.”741 The need for training is as great today as it was in 1993. The National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys’ president explained why: “Indigent defense counsel must have the requisite expertise to provide representation consis- tent with the best practices in the legal profession....[F]ederal criminal defense has just become too complicated, too specialized. The lawyers that handle those cases should have expertise and training in that area of the law.... [T]raining must be comprehensive, ongoing, and readily available.”742
Heeding the Prado Committee’s recommendation, the Defender Services Office has created a dedicated Training Branch to organize training events for both federal defenders and CJA panel attorneys. It sponsors national and regional train- ings on a broad range of topics relevant to federal criminal practice. Panel attor- neys and federal defenders praised the Training Branch’s efforts. The regional and national training programs sponsored by the Training Branch were valued particu- larly for the opportunity they provide to learn from colleagues around the nation.
Now years later looking back, I think that the national conferences are absolutely essential to the success of this program because what happens is that the lawyers get together and find a common ground with their experiences. Lawyers in smaller districts get good ideas from lawyers from the big city districts, and the lawyers from the big city districts get good ideas from the lawyers from the smaller districts. The beneficiary of it of this is the people we represent, and the improvement of the program. That kind of exchange would never take place if we didn’t at least get together once a year to discuss the issues that we confront.743
A federal defender emphasized the importance of having national training events. She told the Committee, “I think there’s a real benefit both for CJA lawyers and for federal defender staff to go to national trainings and to interact with their counterparts from other areas. We just learned so much from what’s happening in other districts, things that you might not think about in the culture of your district.”744
National and regional training serves as an antidote to parochialism. Attorneys not exposed to practices from other areas may be unable to recognize the limita- tions of their approaches to federal criminal defense. In the experience of a former federal defender, “every district believes that it’s doing a good job. Every judge, every
741 PradoReportat56.
742 E.GerryMorris,President,NationalAssoc.ofCriminalDefenseLawyers,PublicHearing—Santa Fe, N.M., Panel 4, Tr., at 9.
743 AnthonyRicco,CJADist.Rep.,E.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel9,Tr.,at9. 744 LisaFreeland,FPD,W.D.Pa.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel3,Tr.,at15.
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 161
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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