Good to see the federal judiciary criticizing cuts to federal defender's offices. See "Public Defender Offices Shouldn't Suffer Under Sequestration," Washington Post, 4/18/13, by D.C. District Judges Paul L. Friedman and Reggie B. Walton.
District of Nebraska U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf's blog, Hercules and the Umpire, also has a few posts on the impact of sequestration in his district. Personally, I like his suggestion "Congress is herewith warned" that he might dismiss some immigration cases to help the Federal Defender's Office meet its Sixth Amendment and statutory obligations:
While I intend to honor this directive, I am also contemplating the dismissal of a certain percentage of criminal cases assigned to the FPD. If I dismiss a bunch of immigration cases, where a short prison sentence would otherwise be imposed and the defendants will be deported anyway, perhaps I can assist the FPD in meeting his statutory and constitutional obligations. I have not finally decided on this course of action, but I am seriously contemplating it.
Congress is therefore on notice that its failure to fund the judiciary, and most particularly the Federal Public Defenders and Criminal Justice Act counsel, may result in the guilty going unpunished. If a banana republic is what members of Congress want, I may help them get it.
Now that would get the attention of Congress!