Page 206 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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defender thinks, wow, the way we do it is really the way it should be done ....My perception however is that those variations include a tremendous disparity in the quality of the representation that’s provided” from district to district.745
NACDL and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association also spon-
sor national and regional training that could improve the quality of panel lawyers’ work. But these programs can be costly. A defender explained, “There are offerings through NACDL and other organizations that require membership that cost a lot more money for the panel members, even for defenders when I want to send my staff to a NACDL, program, if they’re not members our cost is higher as well.”746
As useful as national and regional programs are, they cannot fully meet the panel’s need for more training. The Committee was told by a defender that “[t]he [DSO] training division does a wonderful job, they always get great reviews; how- ever, panel lawyers have a hard time closing up shop and traveling across the coun- try or regionally for several days.”747 Most panel attorneys are solo practitioners who operate their own practices. As one panel attorney observed, “I think it is often diffi- cult for solo or small firm attorneys who are on the panel to attend some of the out of state CLEs.”748 For panel attorneys from rural areas, the problem is greater still. A defender told the Committee, that especially in these rural districts, travel to attend regional training programs takes longer and is more expensive. She testified,
It is a financial burden on them....We have many lawyers who could ben- efit from those programs but because of the costs and the time and the fact that they are solo practitioners in these largely rural areas it creates a huge burden on them to be able to receive the training.749
A panel attorney who practices in a rural district agreed that even regional training was difficult to attend. She told the Committee, “It is estimated that each regional CLE credit costs approximately $75 per credit, which requires [additional] time, airfare, and hotel expense and meals. Moreover, the CJA attorney is not able to bill while attending training.”750 The community defender from Montana explained that, while he thinks there are very good training opportunities through his office, “I would like [CJA attorneys] to attend the really great programs put on by the defender services training branch. Those can cost somebody from Montana about a thousand dollars to go to, more than that, even though the tuition is free.”751 A panel attor-
ney from Montana explained that the geography of the state also affects training
745 SteveWax,LegalDirector,OregonInnocenceProject,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel1,Tr.,at6. 746 LisaFreeland,FPD,W.D.Pa.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel3,Tr.,at15.
747 ElizabethFord,Exec.Dir.,CDO,E.D.Tenn.,PublicHearing—Birmingham,Ala.,Panel6,Tr.,at24. 748 PhillipSapien,CJAPanelAtty.,D.N.M.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel5,Tr.,at10.
749 TinaHunt,Exec.Dir.,CDO,M.D.Ga.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel3,Tr.,at16.
750 AmySirignano,CJAPanelAtty.,D.N.M.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel3,Tr.,at11–12. 751 WendyHolton,CJAPanelAtty.,D.Mont.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel4,Tr.,at7.
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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