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CJA FAQ: Attorneys

  • I was appointed as CJA counsel to represent a defendant’s appeal at the US Court of Appeals (USCA), how do I order a transcript of a hearing held in the District Court?

    When a case is on appeal, a transcript request must be submitted through the USCA’s eVoucher system. After approval, counsel should send an email along with a copy of the USCA approval order to for our office to process.

  • I have just been assigned a matter with many defendants. Should I be budgeting?

    Yes.  We would suggest you contact Alan Nelson, Case Budgeting Attorney at the Second Circuit for assistance with budgeting.  We would also suggest you contact the National Litigation Support Team for assistance in obtain equipment and cost-saving assistance and ideas.

  • I am involved in a complex case, I find I cannot negotiate reasonable costs for investigators, duplication, research, etc. What options do I have?

    You can go to the Federal Defender’s Website, to the sub-tab “Litigation Support”.  Once in this site, you will be given a great deal of information regarding the National Litigation Support Team.  This team has many resources with which to assist you.  Some of these resources can actually give you assistance without any cost to the CJA program.

  • I was retained through sentencing, my client has run out of money and I need to be appointed CJA. What do I do?

    Pursuant to Rule 24 of the F.R.A.P., you should make a motion to proceed IFP in the district court, the move to be appointed CJA at the circuit level once the IFP is granted.  If the district denies the application for IFP, you may make the motion at the USCA.

  • I discovered that my client has some assets and I want to be retained. What do I do?

    Pursuant to the Guide to Judiciary Policies and Procedures, Vol. VII, Section 2.22E., no appointed attorney shall accept a payment from or on behalf of the person represented without authorization by the Court on a CJA7 Form. If your client wants to retain you, you must file a motion with the court to be allowed to do this. Your client may also be expected to repay the CJA fund for costs associated with your representation prior to being retained.

  • I discovered that my client has some assets and I’m CJA, what do I do?

    Bring this to the attention of the court.  If a finding is made that the defendant can pay all or part of the cost of representation, the court may enter an order directing contributions to the CJA fund.  The defendant cannot be made to reimburse the fund as part of his/her sentence.  This must be dealt with as a separate issue.

  • My client has run out of money, what can I do?

    Have the client execute a financial affidavit, file it with the court and move to be appointed CJA. Effective date will be determined by the court.

  • My expert required that I pay him/her up front before rendering the service and now I need to submit the claim. Do I include this on my CJA20 under other expenses?

    No.  You must claim the amount on a CJA21, listing yourself as the payee, but supporting the claim with a copy of the expert’s bill to you and proof that you paid the claim directly.  This is not the preferred method of payment to an expert provider but it may be allowed under limited circumstances.

  • Do I include claims for transcripts on my CJA20 voucher?

    No.  All claims for transcripts must be submitted on a CJA24 voucher.

  • Can an associate attend court with me and can I charge for his/her time in court?

      The regulations allow for the assistance of a partner or associate; however, if you bill for compensation, separate worksheets must be submitted for the associate or partner, and overlapped times/dates must be explained in support of the claim.  The associate or partner must also enter an appearance with the consent of the court.  On the CJA20 form, the time is bundled in with the appointed counsel’s time – only the worksheets are separated.

  • I am appointed as stand-by counsel. What do I need to do?

    If there has been an attorney/client relationship established, you will need to advise the court in writing of such relationship. We cannot issue a voucher until this notification is received.

  • I finished a case last year and I just realized that I never submitted my claim. May I do it now?

    Yes, but you must submit a memorandum in support of the claim explaining why you are submitting it more than 45-days after the completion of your representation.

  • How long is it going to take for me to get my money?

    We are required to audit all claims, which involves going through every expense and compensation claim.  If your voucher is fairly simple, it will take less time to process.  The more complicated the voucher, the more time it will take to audit.  Claims can take from a few weeks to several weeks to be paid, depending on the complexity and on whether or not the voucher has to be sent to the circuit for additional approval.

  • I need to subpoena witnesses for trial and I want to have a sheriff do this. Can I?

    Under Local Rule 17, you are required to have the U.S. Marshals serve your subpoenas, unless the Court, by order, directs otherwise.  Before making any arrangements with a private process server or sheriff, you should contact the U.S. Marshal’s Office and speak with the Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal.

  • How do I report “wait time” for an in-court claim?

    Time for actual hearings should be reported under the specific hearing category and should be limited to the actual time in the courtroom.  If there is time spent waiting in the courtroom for a proceeding to begin, note this on your worksheets (e.g., Bond hearing, 1.5 hours [wait time .6 hours]; sentencing 3 hours [wait time 1.5 hours for defendant to be produced], etc.)  These explanations are very important and will help make the auditing process go more smoothly and quickly.  The wait time will be entered in the other category.

    Status conferences with the judge and any time spent talking to your client in the USMS lockup should be reported in the “other” category, with the appropriate explanations.

    Do not include any travel time for in-court proceedings.  All travel time must be reported in Block 16d.

  • My SSN is showing up on the check stub, but I wanted payment made to my firm’s EIN. The firm’s EIN also shows up – what do I do?

    Your SSN is your unique identifier.  It will appear on any payment to you as CJA counsel.  If your firm is to receive the funds, the firm’s EIN will also be on the check stub sent by the AO.