CJA FAQ: Expenses

  • In order to get my client out on bond, his property was used as surety. I needed to have a Title exam done before the U.S. Attorney’s Office would accept the papers. I would like to be reimbursed and want to claim this as an expense. May I?

    No.  Title examinations done pursuant to a bond agreement are considered personal to the defendant and are not reimbursable to the attorney.

  • My client needs clothes, a haircut and personal items so s/he looks presentable while appearing at court. I already purchased them and would like to be reimbursed. Can I claim these expenses on my voucher?

    No.  These are items of a personal nature and are not reimbursable under the Criminal Justice Act.

  • Does the district court or the court of appeals pay for appellate transcripts?

    Ordinarily, claims for payment of CJA transcripts requested for appeal purposes will be processed by and paid for through the district court.  However, for an individual whose representation under the CJA commences at the court of appeals level, transcript costs should be processed by and paid for through the court of appeals.  In either situation, if a court of appeals requests that defense counsel submit additional transcript pages for the appeal record, payment for the CJA transcript should be processed and paid for through the court of appeals.

  • Is there a national CJA rate for copies?

    No.  The costs reasonably incurred by an appointed CJA attorney for copies, whether the copies are made in-house or using a copy service, are considered “reimbursable out-of-pocket expenses.”  CJA attorney are entitled to be reimbursed for these expenses.  Although there is no set national rate for the cost of making copies, the copying costs should be reasonable under the circumstances and may vary by district.  An attorney should use the most economical means available under the circumstances of the individual case.  For more information see the Guide, Vol. 7, Section 230.63.10, Section 230.63.70, and Section 230.66.40.

  • I have expenses of more than $50. What do I do?

    Any single expense greater than $50 must be accompanied by the receipt or an affidavit from counsel explaining the claim and why there is no receipt.  EXCEPTION:  If you are traveling, any single meal expense greater than $25 must be documented with a receipt.

  • Can an attorney be reimbursed for purchasing a text book needed for a case?

    Yes.  CJA funds may be used to reimburse the appointed attorney for the cost of the text book if the court determines that the book is reasonably necessary to provide an adequate defense for the defendant and not simply for the general education of the attorney.  At the completion of the case, the text book should be given to the local federal defender office.