The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz
District Judge Sandra S. Beckwith
DECISION AND ORDER ON FEE APPLICATION OF FATIMA AGHA AL-HAYANI
This case is before the Court on the Fee Application of Fatima Agha Al-Hayani, Ph.D.. Dr. Al-Hayani seeks $13,000 in fees for her work in this case, $8,000 at $200 per hour for forty hours of preparatory work and $5,000 for her testimony in court.
Dr. Al-Hayani was presented by Petitioner as a cultural expert in support of his claim that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel when counsel did not seek to employ a cultural expert. The Court had permitted Dr. Al-Hayani to substitute for Dr. Nabeel Abraham, the proposed cultural expert who offered an affidavit in post-conviction, when Dr. Abraham became unavailable (See Doc. No. 97).
As of the date of this Order, Petitioner has already expended $12,595.39 in funds for services and expenses under 21 U.S.C. §848(q)(10)(B). That statute limits expenses for investigative, expert, and other reasonably necessary services to $7,500 unless an amount in excess of that figure is approved by the Chief Judge of the Sixth Circuit or his delegate. Chief Judge Boggs has delegated this responsibility to Circuit Judge Alice M. Batchelder. On April 10, 2006, Judge Batchelder approved an Amended Budget Order in this case with the express annotation that the amount approved was the total amount for the case. The Amended Budget Order was based on the budget originally filed by Petitioner's counsel which sought a total of $15,500 for services under 21 U.S.C. § 848(q)(10(B).
Accordingly, the Court has approved total compensation to Dr. Al-Hayani in the total amount remaining in the budget for expert services, $2,904.61.
Because the total amount approved is much less than the amount Dr. Al-Hayani has billed, the Court has not engaged in a detailed analysis of that bill. The Court notes only that she has billed her preparatory time at $200 per hour, which is $38.00 per hour more than the maximum amount allowed for counsel in capital cases, all of whom must meet special requirements to litigate these cases. The Court also notes that her testimony began at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, 2006, and consumed less than forty pages of transcript. $5,000 for that time would put the witness' fee at over $1,500 per hour, an extraordinary amount. The fee application is not supported by any documentation of what the witness spent her preparatory time on or any documentation of comparative fees. Given those facts, it is very unlikely that a fee in the full amount billed could be approved by this Court, even if the budget permitted it.
Michael R. Merz Chief United States Magistrate Judge
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