Page 228 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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that is because again, we are a very rural district. If you tell someone, “Hey, come live in Macon, Georgia,” those people will go, “Where is that?” [Laughing.] And if you say it’s in the heart of Georgia, then the next ques- tion is, “Why would I want to do that?”...It is difficult [to attract employ- ees], especially Spanish speakers, especially Latinos.869
Another problem is that in many situations, young lawyers and lawyers of color have amassed significant educational debt and cannot afford to perform public interest legal work. They may “really, really, really want to be a criminal defense lawyer...but they don’t know if they’re going to be afford it.”870 Meanwhile, “they’re being recruited heavily by major law firms to do [more lucrative] work.
They have a huge student debt load that they have to service when they get out of school,”871 and as a result, they are “not in a position to accept court-appointed cases where the hourly compensation is a fraction of what is paid on the private lev- el.”872 According to both panel members and defenders, the problem of diversity in the defender and panel community is going “to get worse very, very soon” as more law graduates with high debt loads enter the profession.873
While some panel members said they look to state court practitioners to diver- sify federal panels, they find lawyers who have practiced exclusively in state court are intimidated by federal court practice. Because federal criminal defense work may seem formidable to those without experience in the federal system, especially when it comes to the intricacies of sentencing, a chief district judge told the Committee that state defense attorneys are “reluctant to put a foot in federal court.”874 The Committee heard similar sentiments from multiple districts. “Federal court is a very intimidating place for many, many reasons,” explained a panel attorney.875 “There are many young lawyers who have become comfortable practicing in state court, but taking that step over the threshold of this building is a completely different exercise.”876
8.4 Current Diversity Initiatives
In many districts, judges, defenders, and panel attorneys “are keenly aware of...and committed to the belief that diversifying the panel broadens the perspective that
869 TinaHunt,Exec.Dir.,CDO,M.D.Ga.,PublicHearing—SantaFe,N.M.,Panel3,Tr.,at23.
870 ShaunMcCrea,CJAPanelAtty.,D.Or.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel4,Tr.,at31.
871 GilbertSchaffnit,CJADist.Rep.,N.D.Fla.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel6,Tr.,at15.
872 GilbertSchaffnit,CJADist.Rep.,N.D.Fla.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel6,Writ.Test.,at4. 873 ShaunMcCrea,CJAPanelAtty.,D.Or.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel4,Tr.,at31.
874 ChiefJudgeMichaelSeabright,D.Haw.,PublicHearing—SanFrancisco,Cal.,Panel5,Tr.at28.
875 RobertRichman,BoardMemberofMinn.Assoc.ofCriminalDefenseLawyers,Public Hearing—Minneapolis, Minn., Panel 4, Tr., at 32.
876 Id.
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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