Monday, June 02, 2008

Capital defense lawyer's suit againt former Chief Judge Wilkins is resolved by Fourth Circuit

In 2006, a Virginia capital defense lawyer filed suit after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, with no explanation, cut in his bill from $38,000 to $10,000 for work on a death penalty appeal to the circuit, the Supreme Court and a clemency petition. The lawyer sued the man who signs off on the payments, 4th Circuit's former Chief Judge William Wilkins, claiming that the cut, without a chance to know why and challenge it, violated his due process rights. The Court held that due process rights were not violated:

At bottom, we find, assuming that he held a protected property interest in a reasonable fee, that Rosenfield was afforded constitutionally adequate procedural protections in the reduction of his requested award. While we are grateful for the service provided by Rosenfield and other CJA attorneys, and while we are committed to providing the level of review described in the Plan and the updated CJA Guidelines going forward, we cannot say that the careful processing of Rosenfield's award here was constitutionally deficient.

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