Page 30 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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Views have changed considerably since the Prado Report. Many federal judges now support the creation of an independent entity to oversee public defense in the federal courts. As Judge John Gleeson, a former chair of the Committee on Defender Services and author of the 2005 Gleeson Report told
the Committee, “I think there should be fundamental structural change. I think wresting the obligation, the responsibility to deliver indigent defense away from the judiciary is a good idea. We’ve just gotten used to the fact that it’s in the judi- ciary. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m not sure if we had a blank slate and we were divvying up responsibilities now and that was on the table we would take it. I would take it out of the judiciary and find a really good defender gener- al.”26 Likewise, a consensus of federal and community defenders supports such a change. The Defender Services Committee, panel attorneys, relevant professional associations, and academics who study public defense have all voiced support for the creation of such an entity.
The Judicial Conference Committee on Defender Services (DSC) met with this Committee during the course of our review and concluded that not only would DSC support a recommendation for independence, but that the only recommendation
it would not support would be to maintain the status quo. Realizing that it will take Congressional action to create such an independent entity, DSC later submitted a letter outlining important steps the judiciary can take in the interim.27 This guidance significantly informed the slate of interim recommendations this Committee devel- oped, which are discussed in brief below.
A March 25, 2016, letter from federal and community defenders to Judge Cardone as Chair of this Committee reported on the results of an on-line poll of defenders, with a 94 percent response rate.28 Of those who responded, 84 per- cent believed that defense attorneys themselves must have significant authority to govern and manage the program at both the national level and within districts. Their specific minimum requirements outlined in the letter are reflected in this Committee’s interim recommendations.
In a letter dated July 6, 2016, from Defender Services Advisory Group’s Panel Attorney District Representatives conveyed the consensus view that judges should have very little control and oversight of the program.29 In particular, judges should have no role in the voucher review process, in establishing compensation rates for panel attorneys, or even in appointing counsel. Their views are also incorporated into the Committee’s interim recommendations.
26 JudgeJohnGleeson,E.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing–Miami,Fla.,Panel3,Tr.,at40.
27 LetterfromtheJudicialConf.oftheU.S.Comm.onDefenderServ.totheHonorableKathleen Cardone, Chair, Ad Hoc Comm. to Review the Criminal Justice Act Program (July 22, 2016).
28 LetterfromtheFederalandCommunityDefenderOfficestotheHonorableKathleenCardone, Chair, Ad Hoc Comm. to Review the CJA Program (Mar. 25, 2016).
29 LetterfromtheCJAPanelAttorneyDistrictRepresentatives(PADRs)totheHonorableKathleen Cardone, Chair, Ad Hoc Comm. to Review the CJA Program (July 6, 2016).
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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