Page 283 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 283

 helped find him some housing but we were the ones going to feed and transport him for those seven weeks. Lawyers, investigators in our office take money out of their pockets to buy bus tickets and hotel rooms for clients because...the law isn’t particularly clear in this area. It seems like it comes down against our clients routinely. That needs to change, staying in a homeless shelter and being fed by what we buy at lunch is not the way it should happen.1108
Finally, the Committee heard from witnesses who said that because of the lack of funding, some indigent clients were actually being detained needlessly. A panel attorney told the Committee that in one case:
My very, very poor client came from Missouri; this was in the dead of winter. We were able to obtain release for him. There was no way to get him home. He had no clothes, appropriate clothes. We had to address
all of those problems. Then, when it came time for him to come back
to court...there’s no provision on our system for it. In order to get him back to Montana without a cost to him or his family, the only way to do it through our Federal System was to have his pretrial release revoked so he could be transported in con air, essentially.1109
12.3 A Need for a Congressional Fix
The Committee finds that the failure to provide costs for indigent defendants during and after their criminal proceedings is a long-standing problem that must be resolved. It is causing substantial hardships for many defendants—defendants who have not been convicted of anything—and it is, in some circumstances, creating an unfair and unnecessary burden on defense counsel. This Committee concludes that the current statute should be amended by Congress to permit courts to order payment of costs
in the limited circumstances where the defendant is unable to bear the costs and the court finds that the interests of justice would be served by paying necessary expenses.
The statute, 18 U.S.C. § 4285, states in full:
Any judge or magistrate judge of the United States, when ordering a person released under chapter 207 on a condition of his subsequent appearance before that court, any division of that court, or any court of the United States in another judicial district in which criminal proceed- ings are pending, may, when the interests of justice would be served
1108 MelodyBrannon,FPD,D.Kan.,PublicHearing—Minneapolis,Minn.,Panel2,Tr.,at24. 1109 WendyHolton,CJAPanelAtty.,D.Mont.,PublicHearing—Portland,Or.,Panel4,Tr.,at14.
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 239
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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