Page 95 - Ad Hoc Report June 2018
P. 95

 Speaking as a policy counsel who does a lot of advocacy on criminal justice issues before Congress, I think what really resonates with staffers and members of Congress is people who can go in and speak with expe- rience and lean on their own experience. Having federal defenders who can go in and speak to the importance of funding is so important.186
The experience of sequestration lends credibility to the testimony of many witnesses endorsing the ability of defenders to secure necessary funding. Facing significant consequences for the program, some federal defenders made the deci- sion to reach out to Congress directly to request emergency funding to preserve the program. Ultimately, Congress was responsive. Defenders told the Committee that the experience, though it created tension with the AO and the JCUS, was instructive. “I think Congress, when they understood the problems the defenders were facing during the sequestration, we came out pretty well with Congress and support from both sides, from the Republicans and the Democrats.”187
Defenders told the Committee that their successful appeals to Congress showed they could be effective advocates for their program with Congress and con- gressional appropriations staff.188
As one witness who has worked in criminal and civil rights for decades stated, the lesson to take away from sequestration is that the federal defender program “is a great brand. It didn’t matter whether you had a D, or an R, or an I label, who you went to talk to. The federal defender program has an excellent reputation across Congress. The second thing is, unlike other expenditures, this is a necessity...this is a fundamental need of government, to keep the courts open and to see that indi- gent people have representation.”189
The evidence is convincing that defenders are capable of advocating for the CJA and that Congress would continue to provide adequate funding for their needs. Maintaining the status quo leaves in place a structure whereby the defense budget competes with the budget for the judiciary.
3.5 Panel Attorney Hourly Rates
In 1964 when Congress passed the Criminal Justice Act, the hourly rate was set at $10 per hour for out-of-court work and $15 per hour for time spent in court.190 In 1986, the rates were revised and Congress authorized annual, recurring
186 Id.at19.
187 MichaelFilipovic,FormerFPD,D.Or,PublicHearing-Portland,Or.Tr.at36.
188 Seealsosection“FederalDefendersBecomeEffectiveAdvocateswithCongress”Supraatp.62.
189 GeorgeKendall,Director,PublicServiceInitiative,SquirePattonBoggs,PublicHearing—Minneapolis, Minn., Panel 3, Tr., at 26.
190 CriminalJusticeActof1964(Pub.L.88–455).
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 51
 States unless approved by the Conference itself.

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