Page 80 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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has become more important, not less.
During the Committee’s public hearings, many of the judges involved in this
process voiced their frustration. A member of the DSC told the Committee, “The current structure requires the voice of defenders to be filtered through the judges. That filter in many respects is unnecessary and, more importantly, [it] deprives the defense community of their best advocates on policy and funding issues of national importance.”131 A former chair of the DSC132 told the Committee about a conference call convened to discuss how to handle the CJA program during sequestration:
On this conference call there was us in New York and then on the other end of the call was the chair of the Executive Committee and then a staffer from the Budget Committee. When you do this stuff long recognize talking points when you hear them. The talking points that we heard were the talking points that we had been getting from the Budget Committee for a decade. The most remarkable thing about the call to me was there was no one on that call from the staff from the Office of Defender Services, no one there from Defender Services Committee. A decision that went right to the heart of the function of defender services was being made with no input whatsoever from anybody who knew what was going on.133
A magistrate judge told the Committee the question facing the Committee regarding the current structure asked, “[I]s there a better system? Is there a better way for the defenders and the CJA lawyers to have a seat at the table, to have a voice into what’s going on? . . . I do think it’s important for the CJA lawyers and the federal defenders to have a true seat at the table and a true voice in what is going on with the defender program.”134
The former general counsel for the District of Columbia’s public defender pro- gram, which advocates to Congress for its own budget and legislative interests, spoke forcefully for the need for defender voices and input to be incorporated into all deci- sions regarding a defense program. She testified that subsuming defender needs into the judiciary’s mission: “isn’t a good fit. It isn’t part of the judiciary’s job to be zealous advocates for indigent clients.” 135 She pointed out that as defenders have a very spe- cific mission, “When it comes to getting into the trenches and fighting for what we do and how we should do it and how we should be evaluated about how we do it, we’re the ones that are obligated to our clients. We’re the ones that are obligated under our
131 Mag.JudgeJonathanFeldman,W.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Philadelphia,Pa.,Panel1,Tr.,at8.
132 From1999to2008,JudgeJohnGleesonwasamemberoftheDefendersServicesCommitteeand served as Chair from 2005 to 2008. The sequestration at issue occurred in FY 2013.
133 JudgeJohnGleeson(ret.),E.D.N.Y.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel3,Tr.,at6.
134 Mag.JudgeWilliamMatthewman,S.D.Fla.,PublicHearing—Miami,Fla.,Panel3,Writ.Test.,at23–24.
135 Julia Leighton, General Counsel, Public Defender Service for D.C., Public Hearing—Minneapolis, Minn., Panel 1, Tr., at 25.
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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