Page 64 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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authority to determine individual defender office staffing and compensation levels and placing that power with the Judicial Resources Committee, which performs these functions for court entities.
The AO performs administrative functions for the federal judiciary and over- sees the expenditure of appropriated funds. Its mission is to serve and support the federal judiciary pursuant to the policies, guidance, and direction of the Judicial Conference. The AO provides the working staff for all JCUS committees and so plays an important role in JCUS policymaking. It assists in creating the judiciary’s budget, maintains a legislative office that has contacts with Congressional staffers to track and offer comment on legislation affecting the judiciary, and provides auditing ser- vices and financial accountability for court entities, among other tasks.
Within the AO, the office responsible for staffing DSC and assisting in the national administration of the CJA is the Defender Services Office (DSO). DSO’s mis- sion is divided between supporting defenders and panel attorneys and, as part of the AO, supporting judiciary interests. DSO provides training to CJA practitioners, advises on legal and policy issues affecting the provision of counsel and other services under the CJA, assists individual defender offices in formulating budgets, serves as staff to AO working and advisory groups, and collects limited data on the defender program.
Until 2013, DSO was a “directorate,” reporting directly to the head of the AO. This status recognized DSO’s unique non-judicial role. During a reorganization of the Administrative Office, DSO was demoted to become an office within the AO’s Department of Program Services, grouped with other court services like pretrial ser- vices and probation.
2.6.3 Local Administration
The CJA gives local district and circuit courts significant authority in administering the program. The statute requires each district to develop and, with the approval of the circuit judicial council, implement its own plan for providing representation to defendants financially unable to hire their own lawyer.73 This local control creates considerable variation across districts in the provision of defense services.
CJA panel attorneys are subject to much greater judicial control of their daily activities than attorneys who work in federal and community defender offices. While defender offices receive an annual budget, have salaried employees, and have the freedom to hire experts, use investigators and paralegals, or purchase com- puters and software as needed without judicial approval,74 district courts do have the ability to determine whether to have a defender office at all, and whether the institutional defender office will be an FPDO or a CDO. District courts also have the authority to close a defender office or alter its organizational structure (i.e. from a
73 18U.S.C.§3006A(a).
74 18U.S.C.§3006A(g)(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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