Page 93 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
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 the devastation visited on defenders by sequestration, signed a letter in support of defenders while forgoing advocacy for other core court functions that faced seri-
ous cuts.179 A shared commitment to the Sixth Amendment means that judges and defenders should always find common cause on the need to adequately fund indi- gent defense. The current relationship is simply not a prerequisite to judicial support.
Moreover, if Congress is not convinced of the value of the public defense pro- gram, judicial influence may be insufficient to save it. This premise is illustrated by Congress’ defunding of Post-Conviction Defender Organizations (PCDOs). In 1988, Congress had authorized the federal judiciary to support the creation of the PCDOs to address a looming crisis in state and federal post-conviction death penalty cases. In January of 1993, the Prado Committee submitted its report praising their work and recommending continued support and funding of PCDOs. But by July of that year, the Senate Appropriations Committee expressed concerns over the escalating cost of the organizations. The judiciary’s appropriations request that was approved by the Conference sought continued funding of the PCDOs.
However, judicial support was not enough to protect the organizations
in Congress. PCDOs had received a harsh reaction from death penalty propo- nents, which prompted criticism of the program from the National Association of Attorneys General and Congressman from states with the death penalty. In turn, Congress acted to defund PCDOs. In an appropriations bill passed in January of 1996, Congress funded the Defender Services account but added a special directive that no funds were to be expended for PCDOs after April. Without federal funding, many of the PCDOs dramatically scaled back operations; seven of the 20 offices closed their doors entirely.
The Committee cites this example to illustrate that judicial support for public defense does not always result in Congressional approval. While the prestige of the judiciary is likely an asset in securing necessary funding, after careful consideration and considerable debate, the Committee believes that defenders are their own best advocates, and will receive continued judicial support.
Numerous witnesses proposed greater defender program involvement in congres- sional advocacy, arguing that it would be favorably received. Considerable evi- dence demonstrates that defenders would be more effective and better informed advocates for their program. The former chair of the DSC told the Committee,
“I also support a greater role for the committee, DSO staff, defenders and panel attorneys themselves in advocating to Congress as part of the appropriations pro- cess. While I fully understand the need for the judiciary to speak with a consistent voice. . . . I believe that there are issues specific to the defender and panel attorney
179 Letter,ChiefJudgeLorettaA.Preska,S.D.N.Y.toSenatorJosephBiden,August13,2013.
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 49
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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