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Alexandria Criminal Justice Act Panel
For Attorneys on the Panel:
The Alexandria Division's Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel is composed of 100 attorneys in private practice who have indicated they wish to be appointed to represent indigent defendants in criminal cases.
From that master list, two lists of 50 attorneys have been randomly selected to handle cases during each quarter of the year. The first list of 50 attorneys are appointed to cases during the months of January, February, March, July, August, and September. The second list of attorneys are appointed to cases during the months of April, May, June, October, November, and December. When a judge orders that an attorney be appointed for a indigent defendant, the Clerk's Office selects at random an attorney from that quarter's list. Once selected, the attorney will not be considered for another case during that quarter until all the attorneys in that quarter's list have been selected.
A separate list of 21 attorneys serve as CJA lawyers for defendants in capital cases. These attorneys have met the Fourth Circuit's qualifications for representing defendants facing the death penalty, as set forth in the Fourth Circuit Judicial Council Order 113. The same random selection procedure is used to assign counsel in death penalty cases. Attorneys on the death penalty CJA panel may also participate in the regular CJA panel.
District judges may also appoint attorneys who are not on the CJA Panel to represent indigent defendants if such an appointment is "in the interest of justice, judicial economy or continuity of representation or [for] other good cause," according to the Eastern District of Virginia's CJA Plan.
When selected for a case, CJA panel members must personally handle the case. They may not refer the case to another lawyer in their firm without leave of the court.
Attorneys on the CJA Panel must:
Once appointed to the Panel, attorneys must:
Counsel will be added to the panel only when a panel member resigns or is removed. New CJA panel members will be selected from a waiting list in the order in which they applied. To add your name to the waiting list, please submit an application.
Attorneys can be removed from the panel if they:
Valid excuses include:
CJA forms 20, 21, 24, 30 and 31 may be obtained only from the Clerk's Office, which must fill out portions of the forms. Instructions for these forms appear below. Click on the formats to download the forms.
To download the Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view PDF format forms, please visit the company's web site. (Disclaimer: The Judiciary neither endorses Acrobat Reader, nor exercises any responsibility over Acrobat Reader.)
Your client must fill out a CJA Form 23 - Client's Financial Affidavit prior to his or her first appearance in court.
You must complete CJA Form 20 and return it to the Clerk's Office for processing within 45 days of the completion of all work at the District Court level. Vouchers may be submitted while the case is ongoing only with the judge's permission.
Line-by-line instructions for filling out CJA Form 20 are provided to CJA counsel. You are responsible for completing items 15 thru 22, if applicable to your case. A voucher may not be processed if items 15 and 16, concerning your in-court and out-of-court time, are incomplete.
You may attach computerized billing sheets, provided the time and expense entries are listed separately and categorized in the same way as they are on CJA Form 20.
Counsel should note the date of appointment in the form's item 13. If time is claimed for a date prior to the appointment date, a motion for appointment nunc pro tunc must be filed.
Please note that all vouchers must have the original signature of the appointing officer. If an original has been misplaced, contact the Clerk's Office.
Counsel must maintain contemporaneous time and attendance records for all work performed including:
Time calculations must be in tenths of hours, as indicated on the following table.
Among the kinds of time spent by court-appointed counsel that are not allowable are:
Court-appointed counsel will be paid at the following rates for in-court time:
In-court time is defined as:
The in-court rate for these examples is premised upon counsel's unavailability to perform work on anything other than the CJA case for which the attorney is required to be at the courthouse.
Court-appointed counsel will be paid at the following rates for out-of-court time:
Some examples of out-of-court rates include time spent:
See 18 U.S. C. Section 3006A(d)(2) for an outline of the maximum compensation allowed for various types of representations. Maximum compensation amounts do not include allowable expenses.
Effective January 1, 2010, the maximums allowed at the District Court level are:
If all services were performed in a case prior to January 1, 2010, the former statutory maximums apply. However, in a case that commenced prior to January 1, 2010, if any services were performed after that date, the above-listed case maximums apply to the case.
Examples of representations falling into the category of "All Others" include:
If the amount of compensation claimed (not including expenses) exceeds the statutory maximum, amounts paid in excess of the maximums must be approved by both the judge handling your case and the Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit.
There may be times when proration of claims is appropriate. Whenever appointed counsel submit separate vouchers:
Following is a table outlining appropriate prorations:
Reimbursement will be allowed for actual (not estimated) expenses. Supporting documentation, such as receipts, must be submitted for single item expenses in excess of $50 (e.g. telephone bills, copy charges, etc.).
Before undertaking extraordinary travel or any travel involving an overnight stay related to CJA representation, the judge handling your case must grant a motion filed by counsel.
Mileage rates are as follows:
Paralegal expenses must be billed on a CJA Form 21. The judge handling your case must approve the expenses by signing Section 15 of the form before it is submitted for payment.
Computer-assisted legal research may be an allowable expense, provided that the total amount approved for computer-assisted legal research does not exceed the total amount of attorney compensation that reasonably would have been approved if counsel had performed the research manually.
Any voucher including a request for reimbursement of computer-assisted legal research expense must include all of the following:
Payment for service of subpoenas is not allowable under CJA. Attorneys must fill out the U.S. Marshal's Form 285 - Process, Receipt and Return Form, which is available from the Clerk's Office. The Clerk's Office will issue the subpoena and give it, along with Form 285, to the U.S. Marshal Service.
The Clerk's Office will not issue subpoenas that require witnesses to travel 100 miles or more, or pay for the travel expenses for a witness, unless an order is first issued by the judge handling your case.
The CJA Form 20 should not be used to request reimbursement for the cost of transcripts. Attorneys must request a transcript using the CJA Form 24 for authorization and payment of a transcript . Please consult CJA Form 24 instructions when filling out the form. The judge handling your case must approve the expenses by signing Section 16 of the form before it is submitted for payment.
Counsel is not required to serve opposing counsel with ex parte applications. The application will not be placed under seal without an order of the court.
Upon receipt by the Clerk's Office of a fully complete and accurate CJA Form 20 voucher, with appropriate attachments, the vouchers are:
Checks are issued to counsel by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C., and will include the docket number and name of the defendant. If the amount of compensation paid is less than that requested, the reason for the reduction will be included on the check.
Compensation and expenses paid to CJA attorneys are not disclosed without a court order. If an order is issued, the CJA attorney will be notified prior to the information being disclosed.
CJA Forms & Procedures: