FY02 North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender & private appellate counsel costbenefit analysis.  Page 8 
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... ... ... . 8 Costing Out AAD Appellate Cases Using the same caseweighting system used earlier, the study compared what it cost to dispose of AAD appellate cases to what it would have cost if private counsel had disposed of this same group of cases. (See spreadsheet on following page) It would have cost $36,738 less if private counsel had disposed of these appellate cases, although the findings also suggest there would have been some loss in the quality of representation provided as well. Since AADs have a much lower hourly rate than private counsel, there are two possible explanations as to why the AAD total cost is higher than private counsel total cost: 1. AADs are not accurately reporting the number of hours spent on cases for the reasons explained in detail earlier in this report. 2. The assumption that pending caseload is stable from year to year, and therefore not a factor when costing out cases, is erroneous. The Issue of Pending Case Work Load The length of time it takes to dispose of appeals routinely exceeds one year. This could cause the rate at which cases close to be uneven even though the rate at which AADs are working remains constant. This means that some years would have a higher number of closed cases and a lower number of pending cases, while other years would have the reverse. If in fact pending caseload does vary from year to year, then years with higher pending caseloads would result in underestimating the amount of casework being performed by AADs, which would in turn underestimate what it would have cost private counsel to do this work, with the net result of making AADs look less costeffective than they are. To determine the effect of pending caseload, trend data on AAD pending caseload is needed, but was unavailable. However, the study did look at trend data on the number of cases disposed of annually by AADs to determine if there was a pattern of high caseclosing years followed by low caseclosing years (see table). There is clearly a wide range in the number of annual case closings, but a pattern of above average case closings followed by a year of belowaverage case closings did not occur. As there are a number of factors that influence annual case closings, including personnel vacancies, differing proportions in the types of appellate cases, or training new staff, this lack of pattern does not necessarily rule out the possibility that pending caseload is negatively skewing the cost outcome results. FY02 was a belowaverage year for case closings for the AADs. At the end of the year, AADs had a pending caseload of 93 casesâ€”137% of the number of cases they closed that year. If we assume that this pending caseload represents a caseload that is above average, then the portion of pending caseload that is above average would need to be factored into the cost analysis. Since AADs carried a 37% higher number of pending cases than closed cases, pending cases received onethird the credit of disposed cases. This assumes that twothirds of the casework inherent in these pending cases is normal. If a onethird credit for pending cases is added into the cost analysis, AADs become more costeffective than private counsel and saved IDS just over $60,000 in FY02 (see spreadsheet on next page). OAD Annual Case Dispositions FY OAD Closed Appeal Cases A=Above Avg. B=Below Avg. 93 67 B 94 103 A 95 65 B 96 98 A 97 82 A 98 43 B 99 73 B 00 62 B 01 81 A 02 69 B All Years 743 Average 74.3 Median 71 Low 43 High 103 Variation 60
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Title  FY02 North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender & private appellate counsel costbenefit analysis.  Page 8 
Full Text  ... ... ... . 8 Costing Out AAD Appellate Cases Using the same caseweighting system used earlier, the study compared what it cost to dispose of AAD appellate cases to what it would have cost if private counsel had disposed of this same group of cases. (See spreadsheet on following page) It would have cost $36,738 less if private counsel had disposed of these appellate cases, although the findings also suggest there would have been some loss in the quality of representation provided as well. Since AADs have a much lower hourly rate than private counsel, there are two possible explanations as to why the AAD total cost is higher than private counsel total cost: 1. AADs are not accurately reporting the number of hours spent on cases for the reasons explained in detail earlier in this report. 2. The assumption that pending caseload is stable from year to year, and therefore not a factor when costing out cases, is erroneous. The Issue of Pending Case Work Load The length of time it takes to dispose of appeals routinely exceeds one year. This could cause the rate at which cases close to be uneven even though the rate at which AADs are working remains constant. This means that some years would have a higher number of closed cases and a lower number of pending cases, while other years would have the reverse. If in fact pending caseload does vary from year to year, then years with higher pending caseloads would result in underestimating the amount of casework being performed by AADs, which would in turn underestimate what it would have cost private counsel to do this work, with the net result of making AADs look less costeffective than they are. To determine the effect of pending caseload, trend data on AAD pending caseload is needed, but was unavailable. However, the study did look at trend data on the number of cases disposed of annually by AADs to determine if there was a pattern of high caseclosing years followed by low caseclosing years (see table). There is clearly a wide range in the number of annual case closings, but a pattern of above average case closings followed by a year of belowaverage case closings did not occur. As there are a number of factors that influence annual case closings, including personnel vacancies, differing proportions in the types of appellate cases, or training new staff, this lack of pattern does not necessarily rule out the possibility that pending caseload is negatively skewing the cost outcome results. FY02 was a belowaverage year for case closings for the AADs. At the end of the year, AADs had a pending caseload of 93 casesâ€”137% of the number of cases they closed that year. If we assume that this pending caseload represents a caseload that is above average, then the portion of pending caseload that is above average would need to be factored into the cost analysis. Since AADs carried a 37% higher number of pending cases than closed cases, pending cases received onethird the credit of disposed cases. This assumes that twothirds of the casework inherent in these pending cases is normal. If a onethird credit for pending cases is added into the cost analysis, AADs become more costeffective than private counsel and saved IDS just over $60,000 in FY02 (see spreadsheet on next page). OAD Annual Case Dispositions FY OAD Closed Appeal Cases A=Above Avg. B=Below Avg. 93 67 B 94 103 A 95 65 B 96 98 A 97 82 A 98 43 B 99 73 B 00 62 B 01 81 A 02 69 B All Years 743 Average 74.3 Median 71 Low 43 High 103 Variation 60 