Joint letter relating to proposed budget cuts of federal Defender Services

Even after implementing these emergency measures, the program faces a devastating shortfall: the House mark is $80.6 million less than the bare minimum of what the program needs, and the Senate mark is $109 million short.

Unless corrected, these cuts risk loss of federal defender staff, unpaid furloughs, and lengthy deferments of CJA panel attorney payments. These cascading consequences would disrupt the federal criminal legal system, compound the burden on private counsel (mostly small business owners), and cost more in the long run than any expected short-term savings. Simply put, insufficient funding will undermine the administration of justice, harming the public, witnesses and victims, and countless federal defendants.