Page 62 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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  18 2017 REPORT OF THE
A CJA program that was created on the understanding that its budget would be small and its appointments few has been required to grow well beyond its original design into a billion dollar program. An evaluation of the program’s needs and an investigation into how it could adapt and evolve to meet the sheer volume and com- plexity of modern criminal defense work was well overdue.
2.6 Administration of the Criminal Justice Act by the Judiciary
2.6.1 Hybrid System of Defense
Since the CJA’s amendment in 1970, the federal defender program has functioned as a hybrid system comprised of public defender offices and appointed private attor- neys. This system allows for flexibility, since panel attorneys can step in to handle a sharp increase in prosecutions. It also addresses conflicts that may arise in multi-de- fendant cases, with the defender office often taking the lead defendant while panel attorneys act as counsel for the other defendants. Lastly, the current system offers the consistency of having an institutional defender office, which not only sets the bar for defense best practices locally but, with ready access to resources, can often provide training opportunities and assistance to panel attorneys in that district.
There are two kinds of defender offices within the CJA system:68
Federal Public Defender Offices (FPDOs)
FPDOs are headed by a federal public defender appointed by the Circuit Court and subject to various reappointment processes every four years. All staff in an FPDO are government employees. The Circuit Court determines the number of Assistant Federal Defenders an office may hire and so exercises additional control over FPDOs.
Community Defender Organizations (CDOs)
CDOs are non-profit corporations funded by the Defender Services Program. CDOs are managed by a board of directors and employ an Executive Director who functions as the district’s Federal Defender.
From the perspective of a defendant, FPDOs and CDOs operate identically (in this report, they are referred to collectively as “federal defender offices” or FDOs)
Private attorneys, depending on the district, either apply to be included on the local “CJA panel” or are placed on the panel through some other process. Panel attorneys are often solo practitioners or from small firms and also take paying cli- ents in addition to their appointed cases. Each district has a CJA panel attorney
68 18U.S.C.Section3006A(g)(1)and(2).
No recommendation presented herein represents 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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