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The Champion

September-October 2018 , Page 10 

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NACDL News: Judicial Conference Takes Steps Toward Greater Independence for Federal Public Defender System; NACDL Encouraged by Progress

By Ivan J. Dominguez and Ian Nawalinski

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On Sept. 13, 2018, the Judicial Conference of the United States publicly released the 2017 Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act (CJA Review Committee) and issued a statement approving 19 of the Committee’s 35 Interim Recommendations, importantly stating that “the Defender Services Office will be made an independent office within the Administrative Office, reporting at the executive level.” The Judicial Conference is the national policymaking body for the federal court system. This re-elevation of the Defender Services Office reverses a step that was taken more than five years ago and was noted as a problematic development in a 2015 study issued by NACDL.

The CJA Review Committee, announced shortly before the September 2015 release of NACDL’s study titled Federal Indigent Defense 2015: The Independence Imperative, was appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. to conduct a comprehensive review of the Criminal Justice Act program, which secures the Sixth

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  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
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