Page 210 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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Eastern District of Kentucky, and the District of the Northern Mariana Islands. Sixty-four of these offices are Federal Public Defender Offices (FPDOs) and 17 are Community Defender Offices (CDOs). The CJA empowers district courts to deter- mine whether a district will have a defender office and, if so, whether it will be a CDO or an FPDO.769 In addition, the court has authority to close an office or convert it to either an FPDO or CDO with approval from the circuit’s judicial council.770
Federal Public Defender Offices
FPDOs are federal government entities within the judicial branch. Federal Public Defenders are appointed by the court of appeals for a term of four years and may
be reappointed for an unlimited number of four-year terms. The circuit sets the defender’s salary at a rate not greater than that of the U.S. Attorney in that district. Federal Public Defenders hire their own staff, but the circuit determines the number of assistant federal defenders they may employ.
Community Defender Offices
CDOs are non-profit legal services organizations incorporated under the laws of the state in which they reside and operating under the supervision of a board of direc- tors. These are not federal government offices. CDOs are funded similarly to FPDOs, but receive their funding as grants. The executive director of a CDO is employed under the conditions and terms determined by the board. The executive director hires staff subject to the same formulas that govern Federal Public Defenders. These offices are subject to state employment protections and regulations, state corporate and non-profit law, and local tax laws.
CDO executive directors and judges from districts with CDOs testified that their defender offices had greater independence. Judge Gleeson argued, “They should all be CDOs in my view. I respectfully disagree with the comments made yesterday by one of our brother judges...who suggested that CDOs are not more independent. They’re more independent. They’re appointed, the executive directors are appointed by a board.”771 A circuit judge agreed, “If I had to endorse a model, I would probably endorse the community-based federal defender that is completely independent of the Circuit.”772 He preferred the CDO model, “for the simple reason that I think that it’s really important that the defender office be and be seen as inde- pendent from the judiciary. I think that’s critically important in dealing with our clients I think it’s critically important as the public looks at the way that the criminal
769 18U.S.C.§3006A(g)(2)(2012).
770 Id.§3006A(a).
771 JudgeJohnGleeson(ret.),E.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel3,Tr.,at33. 772 JudgeLuisRestrepo,3rd.Cir.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel2a,Tr.,at3–4.
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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