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Criminal Justice Act


Title 18 U.S.C. § 3006A of the Guide to Judiciary Policies & Procedures requires every United States District Court, with the approval of the judicial council of the circuit, to implement a plan for providing adequate representation to any individual who is financially incapable of retaining counsel. This includes any individual who:

a. is charged with a felony or with a Class A misdemeanor;
b. is a juvenile alleged to have committed an act of juvenile delinquency as defined in section 5031 of this title;
c. is charged with a violation of probation;
d. is under arrest, when such representation is required by law;
e. is charged with a violation of supervised release or faces modification, reduction or enlargement of a condition, or extension or revocation of a term of supervised release;
f. is subject to a mental condition hearing under Chapter 313 of this title;
g. is in custody as a material witness;
h. is entitled to appointment of counsel under the sixth amendment to the constitution;
i. faces loss of liberty in a case, and Federal law requires the appointment of counsel;
j. is entitled to the appointment of counsel under Section 4109 of this title.


If a U.S. Magistrate Judge determines that the interests of justice so require, representation may be provided to an individual financially eligible if the person is charged with a Class B or C misdemeanor or an infraction for which an individual faces confinement or is seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241, 2254 or 2255.



To improve overall quality of representation for indigents in this court, the Judges have established a Criminal Justice Act Panel Committee whose duties shall be to screen application by attorneys for appointments to a rotating panel available for appointment under the CJA Act. Such appointments would be made after qualifications and experience of the applicants are thoroughly reviewed and evaluated by the Committee.

Complete and submit an application  for membership to the Criminal Justice Act Panel.  The membership review process can take from six to eight weeks. Please contact the Federal Public Defender for further information on becoming a member (505) 346-2489.


In addition to the responsibility of adequately representing an individual in court, a CJA Panel Attorney must maintain complete and accurate records with respect to time spent in court, time spent out of court, copy/fax logs, travel, travel expenses, mileage and other expenses which may arise and are allowed as reimbursable items under the CJA Act. The aforementioned items must be documented on worksheets and attached to a voucher for payment. The voucher must provide the judicial officer with a description of the work done to  enable the judicial officer to determine the reasonableness of the CJA voucher.  Failure to comply with this may result in a delay of payment to counsel or any service provider.
The responsibility of the Clerk's Office CJA Division is to perform an objective audit of all vouchers being submitted for payment. The CJA Division will check for proper billing rates, mathematical errors, eligibility for reimbursement and compliance with guidelines with regard to statutory limits, etc.
The responsibility of the Judicial Officer is to authorize payment of vouchers for fees that are reasonable and neccessary using his or her discretion. The Judicial Officer will also forward any vouchers exceeding the statutory limits to the Circuit Court of Appeals for approval.