United States Courts
Western district of Missouri
Representing Criminal Defendants Under the Criminal Justice Act (CJA)
On June 18, 2010, the Court sponsored a continuing legal education (CLE) half-day seminar at the Truman State Office Building in Jefferson City. The topic was “Representing Criminal Defendants in Federal Court Under the Criminal Justice Act (CJA).” The session was approved for four hours of MCLE credit and included one hour of ethics credit. The seminar was free to the 37 attendees and featured an outstanding barbecue lunch provided by the Court.
Judge Laughrey originated the idea for holding a CLE seminar in the Central Division. It has been difficult over the years for federal practitioners in the Central Division to attend the Court-sponsored CLE seminars held at the Kansas City Courthouse because of the distance. Consequently, after discussing the idea with Judge Whitworth, a plan was formed to host a CLE in Jefferson City.
Judge Laughrey welcomed the attendees with opening remarks at 9 a.m. Teresa Harrison, CJA Administrator, followed with information for appointed counsel on how to receive an appointment, the duties of appointed counsel and how to submit legal fees to the Court for payment. Then Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Miller in the Jefferson City branch office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office spoke to the attendees on cooperation with the government, effective plea negotiations and how to obtain discovery from the USAO. Deputy U.S. Marshal Brett Roberts followed with a presentation on interacting with the U.S. Marshals Service and discussed such issues as transportation, visitation and medical concerns of detainees.
Also included on the packed agenda: U.S. Pretrial Services Officer Cindy Piant discussing interactions with the Pretrial Services Office, reporting, bonds and other issues; Senior U.S. Probation Officer Paul Mudd discussing interactions with the U.S. Probation Office in the preparation of the pre-sentence report; and Assistant Federal Public Defender Michele Nahon from Springfield reviewing assorted ethics topics, with an emphasis on recent Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit cases.
The last session was a panel discussion on how to effectively represent a client in a criminal case at sentencing and the role of the federal sentencing guidelines. The panelists included Judge Laughrey, Judge Whitworth, attorney John O’Connor, Assistant Federal Public Defender Troy Stabenow and Supervisory AUSA Larry Miller.
This final session began with an entertaining presentation by AFPD Troy Stabenow on sentencing practices. Stabenow included a series of courtroom scenes from movies that demonstrated various sentencing issues. Judging by the laughs from the audience and the large number of positive comments from the attendees on the evaluations forms, the session was popular and informative.
Judge Whitworth and Judge Laughrey were both grateful to Jefferson City Division Manager Glenda Richardson, Courtroom Deputy Jackie Price and Judicial Assistant Kay Bode for their outstanding support in getting the CLE organized and successfully completed. The event was fun and informative, and because of the excellent attendance and positive feedback, the Court has plans to offer a CLE at least once each year in Jefferson City.