I was recently given the honor of being appointed to serve a second three-year term as CJA Panel Representative from the Middle District of Alabama. The CJA Panel is the group of private practice lawyers who are accepted by the Federal District Court to receive appointments to represent clients in that court. As CJA Panel Representative, my first task of the year was to attend the national conference in Alexandria, Virginia.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Criminal Justice Act, the landmark legislation that set up the system of appointed counsel in place today, allowing even those among us who are unable to afford legal representation will receive the competent, skilled assistance of a lawyer.
After attending the conference, I have a couple of thoughts that I would like to share.