Page 211 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 justice system functions.”773 While a CDO director said that he and his office interact regularly with the judiciary on issues involving the court, cases, or attorney perfor- mance, the district judges do not engage with the office on “the inner workings and management of my office, or the structure of my office. That lies with my board.”774
The independence of a CDO is limited by the power of the district court to change its local CJA plan and convert the CDO to an FPDO or dissolve it entirely. Vesting this authority in district courts was criticized. One federal public defender observed, “Having elected which type of defender office a jurisdiction will have,
I think then the judiciary has to step away. Otherwise, its motives for wanting
to change the structure really will be called into question, even if it’s the best motives.”775 Another defender, the head of a CDO, stated,
I think it is a problem that it’s placed on the judges to have that responsi- bility. If a judge thinks a US Attorney’s office is not doing a good job, they have ways of communicating that or participating in some discussion about that, but they don’t have the ability to fire the US Attorney. And I don’t think the corollary power should exist.776
Federal public defender offices are also subject to conversion or dissolution. And, as described in the Section 6 on circuit oversight, their independence is further constrained by the circuit’s power to appoint and reappoint the defender and to decide the number of assistant federal defenders. These impingements on institu- tional defenders’ independence are threats to the quality of representation in the same manner as limitations on panel lawyers’ independence.
Federal defender offices have also struggled with problems of inadequate resources. Providing quality representation requires resources, the most critical
of which is the attorney’s time. As the work measurement study conducted by the Judicial Resources Committee showed, defenders have been chronically under- staffed. The degree varied by district and circuit. But in some districts, the distance between staffing needed and that available was large.
Despite limitations of both independence and resources, FDOs are generally believed to provide the highest quality of representation. They are rated as good or excellent by close to 96 percent of judges who responded to the surveys discussed above.777 Panel attorneys also believe that federal defenders provide their clients
773 JudgeRestrepowentontosay“Anecdotally,theotherdefendersfromthecircuitthatareappointed by the circuit, I’ve never heard a complaint, but I do like the concept of the independence that the defender in the Eastern District has.” Judge Luis Restrepo, 3rd. Cir., Public Hearing—Philadelphia, Pa., Panel 2a, Tr., at 4.
774 LeighSkipper,Exec.Dir.,CDO,E.D.Pa.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel3,Tr.,at37. 775 MarianneMariano,FPD,W.D.N.Y,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel3,Tr.,at38.
776 DavidPatton,Exec.Dir.,CDO,S.D.N.Y&E.D.N.Y,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel3,Tr., at 40.
777 WestatSurvey.SeeAppendixC:SurveyDataConsidered.
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 167
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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