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NCJ Number: 142163 Find in a Library
Journal: Criminal Justice  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1993)  Pages:30-33,59- 60
Author(s): J J Cleary
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article assesses the recommendations proposed by the Prado Committee for the reform of Federal defender services.
Abstract: In August 1991, Chief Justice Rehnquist established the Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act of 1964, which became known as the Prado Committee, after its chairman. In July 1992, the Prado Committee filed its interim report on the reforms needed in Federal defender services. Its report is an excellent survey of the ills of Federal defender services, and it recommends a variety of reforms. Some are minor, such as the approval of defense witness fees; some are ideal, such as improved training and performance standards for appointed counsel. Two recommendations have become controversial. One is the creation of a national center for Federal criminal defense services; the other is the requirement that a local board of trustees be created for Federal Public Defender Offices. Because of the perceived fear of a "defender czar" at the national level, many Federal public defenders oppose the national center concept; however, the proposed national center would not centralize the authority for defender services. Instead it would create a separate structure that would not be lost, as it is now, in the judicial bureaucracy. Still, the Prado Committee's proposal is fundamentally flawed because it does not go far enough to separate defender services from the judiciary. The independence of Federal public defenders must be recognized if it is to have true parity with both Federal prosecutors and the courts before which they practice.
Main Term(s): Defender systems; Law reform
Index Term(s): Federal courts; Federal programs
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