Mindful of this limitation, I turn to examine both the claim and the certification of excess compensation here. The defendant was charged in a seven-count indictment with kidnapping,
kidnapping while armed,
interference with commerce by robbery,
and various lesser included offenses.
Counsel filed extensive pre-trial motions to suppress statements, identifications, and other evidence,
and the District Judge held three days of hearings on these and other motions.
All motions were denied, but none, in the presiding judge's view, was frivolous.
The ensuing trial, which culminated in convictions, lasted five days.
Counsel also submitted post-trial motions,
but the convictions stood, and were affirmed on appeal without opinion.
As noted earlier, the Act allows for excess compensation "for extended or complex representation" when necessary to provide "fair compensation".
This critical terminology has been interpreted authoritatively. "Complex representation" is that involving unusual legal or factual issues requiring "the expenditure of more time, skill and effort by the lawyer than would normally be required in an average case."
"Extended representation" is similarly defined as that demanding "more time . . . for total processing than the average case."
While the representation need not be both extended and complex,
the District Judge found both elements present,
a determination in which I concur. The motions hearings and the trial alone consumed almost two full weeks of counsel's time.
Even as reduced by the judge to time profitably expended, counsel put in 248.4 hours on the case.
The legal issues presented at the motions stage were far from routine;
indeed, on certification the judge expressly characterized many of them as "complex."
I am therefore satisfied that the representation was both extended and complex.
The Act also requires that excess payment be necessary to provide "fair compensation."
Important illumination of the meaning of this elusive phrase is derived from the admonition to examine, among other factors, the manner in which counsel's duties were executed, and the "knowledge, skill, efficiency, professionalism, and judgment required of and used by counsel."
Because first-hand observation of counsel's performance is obviously crucial to proper assessment of these elements,
the evaluation given them by the presiding judge is entitled to considerable deference.
Here the judge described counsel as "well prepared," and declared that he had "diligently pursued his client's case" and "afforded [the defendant] excellent representation."
I agree with the judge that excess compensation is essential to fair remuneration.
I conclude, then, that the claim as certified is "for extended or complex representation," and that excess compensation is "necessary to provide fair compensation."
The allowance of $7,500 is therefore approved.