CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT PANEL ATTORNEY MANUAL

TABLE OF CONTENTS


INFORMATION FOR ATTORNEYS NEW TO THE CJA PANEL

 

1.       CJA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

2.       GENERAL CJA VOUCHER INSTRUCTIONS

           2.1     Appointment of Counsel and Issuance of Initial Voucher

           2.2      Attorneys’ Compensation and Recordkeeping

           2.3      Maximum Amounts

           2.4      CJA 20: Non-Capital Cases

                      2.4.1   Time Limits

                      2.4.2   Standard Cases 

                      2.4.3   Complex or Extended Cases

                      2.4.4   Other Interim Payments

                      2.4.5   Multi-Defendant Cases 

           2.5      Voucher Preparation

           2.6      Approval and Payment

           2.7      Supplemental Claims 

           2.8      CJA 30: Capital Cases

 

3.       REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES

           3.1     Supporting Documentation

           3.2      Photocopying 

           3.3      Fax and Phone

           3.4      Postage

           3.5      Fact Witnesses

           3.6      State Court/Other Ancillary Matters

 

4.       REIMBURSABLE FEES FOR EXPERTS AND OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS

           4.1     Funding Requests for Services Exceeding $800.00

           4.2      Expert Vouchers

                      4.2.1   CJA 21

                      4.2.2   CJA 31

           4.3      Investigators

           4.4     Interpreters

           4.5      Psychiatrists, Psychologists

           4.6      Transcripts of Proceedings

           4.7      Transcript Rates

           4.8      Procedure for Requesting a Transcript

           4.9      Recordings of Magistrate Judge Proceedings

 

5.       FACT WITNESS COMPENSATION INSTRUCTIONS AND GUIDELINES

 

6.       PANEL ATTORNEY AND EXPERT TRAVEL

           6.1     Travel Time

           6.2      How to Claim Expenses

           6.3      Mileage, Tolls and Parking

           6.4      Airplane and Overnight Travel

           6.5      Meals and Lodging/Per Diem Rates

           6.6      The Traveler’s Responsibilities

 

7.       NON-REIMBURSABLE ITEMS


EXHIBITS

          Exhibit A - Calculating Compensation for Time Worked

          Exhibit B - Compensation Maximums

          Exhibit C - Guidance to Attorneys in Drafting the Memorandum Required for a Compensation Claim in Excess of the Case Compensation Maximum and sample CJA 26 Memorandum

          Exhibit D -Instructions for Completing CJA Form 20, Appointment and Authority to Pay Court-Appointed Counsel

          Exhibit E - Complex Case Memorandum for Attorneys and Experts

          Exhibit F - Instructions for Completing CJA Form 21, Authorization and Voucher for Expert and Other Services

          Exhibit G - Transcript Rates

          Exhibit H -Instructions for Completing CJA Form 24, Authorization and Voucher for Payment of Transcript

 

1.       CJA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


2.       GENERAL CJA VOUCHER INSTRUCTIONS


These instructions have been prepared to inform Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel attorneys of the court’s procedures and provide an understanding of the voucher review process. This manual covers Compensation and Expenses of Appointed Counsel and Authorization and Payment for Investigative, Expert or Other Services. Answers to questions concerning appointment under the CJA can generally be found in 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, 21 U.S.C. § 848(q)(4) et. seq, the CJA Plan and online manual for the Eastern District of Washington, the court’s website, www.waed.uscourts.gov, and the Guide to Judiciary Policies and Procedures, Appointment of Counsel in Criminal Cases. If you have questions, please call the Clerk’s Office and ask to speak with a CJA Clerk.


2.1     Appointment of Counsel and Issuance of Initial Voucher


A Magistrate Judge handles the appointment of counsel in CJA cases and enters the initial CJA 20 appointment order. The appointment order is filed and the attorney receives a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF).


2.2     Attorneys’ Compensation and Recordkeeping


Pursuant to the CJA, the hourly rate for non-capital cases for services provided between September 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014 is $110.00 per hour.


For capital prosecution cases, the hourly rate for lead counsel for services provided between September 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014 is $163.00 per hour.


Attorneys must report work performed in tenths of an hour (see attached table - Exhibit A). Vouchers submitted which record time in quarter hour increments will be returned and shall be resubmitted in tenth of an hour increments.


Counsel should use the least expensive and reasonable method to provide high quality legal and other services to indigent defendants. Appointed counsel will not be compensated for work performed by attorneys that could or should be performed by other less expensive authorized staff (e.g., paraprofessionals, secretaries, etc.). Attorneys will not be compensated for secretarial tasks.


Attorneys must maintain time and attendance records for all work performed, including work performed by associates and support staff, as well as expense records.

 

Each entry shall reflect separate individual tasks and shall not list multiple tasks performed in a specified block of time. Information should be provided in sufficient detail as to permit meaningful review, without violation of the canons of ethics or disclosure of attorney work product, including but not limited to: specific topics researched, identification of documents reviewed or prepared, including transcripts and pleadings drafted or reviewed, by title, and, if necessary, for an understanding of the task, explanation of its relevance to the federal proceedings. Aggregate time blocks or entries which are vague or ambiguous will not be approved for payment. If the level of detail is insufficient for auditing purposes, the vouchers will be returned to counsel for resubmission with adequate detail.

 

2.3     Maximum Amounts


Attached as Exhibit B is a schedule of statutory CJA compensation maximums. 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(d)(3) provides that compensation exceeding those maximum amounts may be authorized in such cases that are complex or extended. If the voucher is over the maximum, CJA counsel first must seek a finding that the case is “extended” or “complex” through submission of the form of Memorandum CJA 26 which is reviewed by the judge. If approved, it is then forwarded to the Ninth Circuit for further approval. The CJA 26 Memorandum and accompanying instructions are attached as Exhibit C. Failure to provide adequate information supporting excess fees may result in the reduction of the fees to the statutory maximums.


2.4     CJA 20: Non-Capital Cases (Refer to Exhibit D - Instructions for Completing CJA Form 20, Appointment and Authority to Pay Court-Appointed Counsel).


          2.4.1  Time Limits: The Guide states that vouchers shall be submitted no later than 45 days after final disposition of the case, unless good cause is shown. The policy requires that attorneys comply with the prescribed limits and make every effort to submit the claim as soon as possible upon completion of services rendered.


          2.4.2  Standard Cases: For cases that are not complex or extended, the CJA 20 voucher shall be submitted no later than 45 days after the final disposition of the case, unless good cause is shown.


          2.4.3  Complex or Extended Cases: For cases that are complex or extended, the attorney may request and justify periodic or interim payments rather than waiting to bill at the end of the case. The approval of the trial judge, and the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, must be obtained on an interim payment order. See Exhibit E.

 

          2.4.4  Other Interim Payments: It is expected that where interim or periodic vouchers are needed and approved, that no more than two will be submitted except in exceptional cases.

 

          2.4.5  Multi-Defendant Cases: In all multi-defendant cases involving more than one CJA attorney, counsel should make all reasonable efforts to coordinate to reduce costs, including joint applications for funding of investigators and other services.


2.5     Voucher Preparation


Vouchers should be submitted in eVoucher.


2.6     Approval and Payment


If the payment is certified in excess of the statutory maximum, the voucher is sent to the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for review and final approval. Remember, a CJA 26 Memorandum is required for vouchers over the statutory maximum.


After final approval, the voucher is returned to the Clerk’s Office for processing for payment. Payment will be mailed from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C. within one or two weeks thereafter.


2.7     Supplemental Claims


If counsel needs to submit a supplemental claim for services rendered after the case is completed, an additional voucher should be submitted. This voucher should be designated as a “Supplemental to Final”.


2.8     CJA 30: Capital Cases


The CJA 30, Section 10(d), provides for the judge’s approval of interim payments at the time of appointment. An interim payment order is entered by the Judge. Approval is necessary from the Ninth Circuit. There is no withholding of amounts from interim vouchers submitted on Forms CJA 30 or 31.


3.       REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES


Reimbursable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with a CJA representation may be claimed on the CJA Form 20 voucher (CJA 30 - capital case). Necessary and reasonable expenses will be compensated over and above fee maximums.


3.1     Supporting Documentation


All expenses should be thoroughly itemized and documented in the form of original receipts, invoices and office records which verify costs incurred. Receipts are required for all expenses over $50.00 and receipts are always required for the following expenses:


• Outside copying regardless of amount;

• Travel expenses (such as lodging, airfare, meals);

• Phone charges over $50.00 per month;

• Postage over $50.00 per incident.


Receipts should be taped to white 8-1/2" x 11" paper in chronological order as itemized on the worksheet. More than one receipt can be attached to each sheet of paper. All receipts should be scanned and submitted with your voucher and worksheets in eVoucher. Reimbursement may be delayed because of failure to itemize or supply sufficient documentation of expenses.


3.2     Photocopying


All in-house copies done in the attorney’s office regardless of the number of copies made will be reimbursed at the actual cost to the attorney. In-house copies are reimbursed on a CJA 20 or CJA 30 - capital case. Small outside copying jobs paid by the attorney are also reimbursed on a CJA 20 or CJA 30 - capital case with a copy of the receipt attached. Large copy jobs should be handled outside the attorney’s office at a rate more economical to the government.


Copies made outside the panel attorney’s office will be reimbursed at a rate negotiated by the attorney and supported by a receipt from the copy company.


Attorneys may be reimbursed during the case for copy expenses for discovery materials that exceed $300.00. Submit the request for reimbursement on a CJA 20 and include only that item on the form.


3.3     Fax and Phone


Toll and long-distance charges for out-going case related faxes and telephone calls are reimbursable, but local charges are not. Telephone toll charges in excess of $50.00 per month should be supported by a marked copy of the telephone bill.

 

3.4     Postage


Reimbursement will be made for the actual cost of case-related regular U.S. postage. Receipts are required if the postage cost exceeds $50.00 per instance.


3.5     Fact Witnesses


 Expenses related to the testimony of a fact witness, either at trial or at a deposition, including service of subpoenas, transportation and other expenses, are governed by Rule 15 and 17, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 1825. Complete information about the process can be found at .www.waed.uscourts.gov. 


An order approving the transportation of a fact witness must be entered. Once the order is entered, counsel coordinates the travel and reimbursement of expenses directly with the U.S. Marshal’s Office.


3.6     State Court/Other Ancillary Matters


Work related to state court proceedings or other ancillary matters will not be compensated unless the attorney obtains prior authorization from the court. If no prior authorization is obtained, a letter explaining the services must be submitted in support of the voucher and the payment will require approval by the judge presiding in the case. See, Guide to Judiciary Policy, Section 210.20.30.


4.       REIMBURSABLE FEES FOR EXPERTS AND OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS


4.1     Funding Requests for Services Exceeding $800.00


Prior authorization for expert or other services that will exceed $800.00 is required. 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(e)(2) provides that, in the absence of a subsequent finding by the judge that the services could not await prior authorization, no payment over $800.00 may be made without prior authorization by the judge.


4.2     Expert Vouchers


Prior authorization from the presiding judicial officer is required for all investigative, expert or other service necessary for adequate representation where the cost, exclusive of reimbursement for reasonable expenses, will exceed $800.00.

With prior authorization, compensation for investigative, expert and other services is limited to $2,400 per organization or individual, exclusive of reimbursement for expenses reasonably incurred, per individual authorization to perform said service, except with regard to capital cases. (See Guide, Volume 7A, Section 660.20.10.)

A separate authorization should be obtained for each type of service for each person served, and for each defendant served, and for each case. While the contractor may be compensated separately for each defendant served, care should be taken to ensure that duplicate charges are not being made for the same services.

Payment in excess of the $2,400 limit for services authorized prior to the performance thereof may be made when certified by the court and approved by a Ninth Circuit Judge as being necessary to provide fair compensation for services of an unusual character or duration.

If counsel obtained prior authorization for an investigative, expert or other service and later determines that the cost of the service will exceed the initial estimate by a significant amount, counsel should seek further prior authorization for the additional amount from the presiding judicial officer.

Paralegal services should be paid on a CJA 21. The amount claimed should not exceed the actual cost to the attorney (i.e. hourly salary and reasonable, reimbursable, non-overhead expenses).


Appointed counsel are responsible for requiring experts to submit invoices which are sufficiently detailed to permit review in a similar matter to that described for appointed counsel. Appointed counsel must review the expert’s invoice and voucher to ensure the service provider’s claim is consistent with the appointed attorney’s instructions and accurately reflects the services actually rendered. By signing the attorney certification on the CJA 21 or CJA 31 - capital case, the attorney certifies the validity and appropriateness of the services provided by the expert. Counsel are not authorized to pre-pay experts and request later reimbursement. All expert expenses must be submitted on a separate CJA 21 or CJA 31 - capital case.

 

4.2.1  CJA 21:     If the expert has been retained on a one-time, non-recurring basis, the attorney may submit the CJA 21 for payment in full before the end of the case.

 

For cases that are complex or extended, or cases in which the expert’s services are required during the pendency of the case, the attorney may request and justify periodic or interim payments to the experts rather than waiting until the end of the case. The approval of both the trial judge and chief judge of the Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit must be obtained.

See Exhibit F - Instructions for Completing CJA Form 21, Authorization and Voucher for Expert and Other Services.

 

4.2.2  CJA 31:      Fees and expenses for investigative, expert and other services are limited to $7,500 unless payment in excess of that amount is certified by the trial judge as necessary to provide fair compensation for services of an unusual character or duration, and the amount of the excess payment is approved by the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


4.3     Investigators


Investigators shall be paid not more than $75 per hour. Investigators are required to observe the same guidelines as attorneys for recordkeeping and use the least expensive, reasonable method to provide services to indigent defendants.


4.4     Interpreters


In-Court, certified or professionally qualified, interpreters are paid by the Clerk of Court at a rate of $204.00 for a half-day. A courtroom interpreter hired by the Clerk, whose services are not needed in the courtroom, may be used by CJA counsel for out-of-court CJA services for the remainder of the period for which the interpreter’s services were contracted.


The interpreter is also entitled to travel expenses. All interpreter expenses should be billed on a CJA 21 or CJA 31 - capital case.


Although uncommon, cancellations of interpreter appointments occur. Some interpreters require a 24-hour cancellation or a two-hour minimum fee is imposed. If billed, such a fee will be compensated with CJA funds if a reasonable explanation is provided.


The hiring of an interpreter is normally considered a one-time expense which may be billed by the interpreter immediately. If the attorney anticipates a continuing need for interpreter services over $500.00, counsel must request advance authorization.


4.5     Psychiatrists, Psychologists


CJA funds are used to pay psychiatric and related services. See Guide to Judiciary Policy, Chapter 3, Part A, Section 320.20


4.6     Transcripts of Proceedings


Fees for transcripts furnished in criminal proceedings to persons proceeding under the CJA are paid on a CJA 24 form.


When a transcript is paid by the United States, the court reporter may not require any party requesting the transcript to prepay an estimated fee in advance. The court reporter must prepare such transcript in the format prescribed by the U.S. Judicial Conference and may not exceed the rates for transcripts established by the Judicial Conference in effect at the time the authorization was made. The court reporter will not commence transcription services until the CJA 24 has been duly approved by the judge.


4.7     Transcript Rates


Refer to attachment at Exhibit G.


4.8     Procedure for Requesting a Transcript


Refer to Exhibit H Instructions for Completing CJA Form 24, Authorization and Voucher for Payment of Transcript. Follow the instructions for completing Items 1-14. If special authorizations are requested in Item 14, attach a detailed justification. Sign, date and complete Item 15 and forward the voucher to the Clerk’s Office, Attn: CJA Clerk.


Contact the court reporter with a transcript request and forward it to the judge for approval in Item 16 and Item 14, if special authorizations were requested in Item 13. The court reporter will prepare the transcript, fill out items 17-21 on the voucher, and send the transcript and the voucher to the attorney. The attorney should sign Item 22 signifying receipt of the transcript and forward the completed voucher to the CJA Clerk for final approval, processing and payment. 


4.9     Recordings of Magistrate Judge Proceedings


Counsel can request either a written transcript or a copy of the digital recording.


If the attorney wishes to obtain a written transcript, he/she completes Items 1-14 of the CJA 24, Authorization and Voucher for Payment of Transcript. Indicate in Item 13 that the proceedings to be transcribed are from the digital recording.


The completed CJA 24 is submitted to the Clerk’s Office, Court Services Dept.

 

5.       FACT WITNESS COMPENSATION INSTRUCTION AND GUIDELINES.


6.       PANEL ATTORNEY & EXPERT TRAVEL


6.1     Travel Time


Compensation shall be approved for time spent for necessary and reasonable travel. Ordinarily, allowable time for travel includes only those hours actually spent in or awaiting transit. For further clarification on travel time, refer to the Guide to Judiciary Policy, Chapter 2, Section 230.60


Travel time should be recorded in the Out-of-Court section of the CJA 20, Item 16(d), or the Travel section of the CJA 30, Item 15(I). Travel time for experts should be claimed under compensation on the CJA 21 or CJA 31 - capital case, Item 16(a).


6.2     How to Claim Expenses


For guidance in claiming daily travel expenses on the CJA voucher, refer to the instructions for the appropriate form of CJA 30 or 31.


6.3     Mileage, Tolls and Parking


Daily travel by vehicle does not require prior authorization. Travel by privately owned vehicle should be claimed at the rate currently prescribed for federal judiciary employees who use a vehicle for the conduct of official business (currently $ .565 per mile, effective 1/01/13). Refer to the mileage chart on the CJA website (under “Frequently Asked Questions”) for mileage rates during other time periods. It is very important that you include the origination location; destination location; dates traveled and number of miles traveled on the expense portion of the worksheet. Other reimbursable costs are parking fees. Other means of transportation should be claimed on an actual expense basis. Airfare is limited to the government authorized rate and must be pre-approved. Parking violation fines cannot be reimbursed.


Meals are not reimbursable during daily travel unless the travel period exceeds ten (10) hours.


6.4     Airplane and Overnight Travel


Compensation shall be approved for time spent in necessary and reasonable traveling. Ordinarily, allowable time for travel includes only those hours actually spent in or awaiting transit.


Please visit the court’s website www.waed.uscourts.gov for current per diem rates and contact National Travel Service (NTS) to determine government travel fares to provide an accurate estimate. Panel attorneys and experts are allowed and encouraged to take advantage of government rates for travel. A special account has been established with NTS which will facilitate direct billing to the government of the authorized airfare. NTS may be contacted at any time at 1-800-445-0668 to obtain travel cost quotes. If air travel expenditures cannot be made at government rates, reimbursement to the attorney or expert for the travel costs will be limited to the amount of the government rate. Government tickets are refundable due to loss, change or cancellation. If the traveler uses a non-government rate and loses the tickets or needs to change or cancel the reservations, he or she is liable for the cost which is not reimbursable under the CJA.


If for any reason the traveler is unable to use the airline tickets issued by NTS, it is his or her responsibility to immediately return the unused tickets to NTS with a letter explaining why the tickets were not used.


6.5     Meals and Lodging/Per Diem Rates


Actual expenses incurred for meals and lodging while on overnight travel outside of the city or county of your residence, in the course of a CJA representation, must conform to the prevailing limitations governing travel and subsistence expenses of federal judiciary employees. Since the amount allowable is dependent upon the place of travel, please consult the court’s website www.waed.uscourts.gov. Meals and lodging are included in per diem rates; other expenses, such as taxi fares, rental car charges, etc., are not included in the per diem rate and may be claimed separately if receipts are provided.


Meals are generally only reimbursable when overnight travel is authorized. You must provide detailed restaurant bills and not just credit card slips. An itemized receipt is required for meals. Alcoholic beverages, in-room movies, and other non-essential items are not reimbursable.


6.6     The Traveler’s Responsibilities


Upon submission of the CJA 20, 21, 30 or 31 voucher for reimbursement for the period of the authorized trip, all expenses should be documented in the form of original receipts which verify costs incurred.


7.       NON-REIMBURSABLE ITEMS


The following are NOT reimbursable under the CJA:

 

        General office overhead, such as secretarial help (whether regularly or specially employed), rent, office supplies or equipment; telephone lines or service (although telephone toll calls and telegrams are reimbursable). Attorneys will not be compensated for secretarial duties such as mailing, faxing, copying, etc.

 

        Books, journals or other publications.

 

        Billing for time needed to prepare vouchers, except in extraordinary circumstances.

 

        Taxes paid on attorney compensation received pursuant to the CJA, whether based on income, sales or gross receipts.

 

        The cost of printing briefs is not reimbursable, although the cost of photocopying, mimeographing or similar copying services is reimbursable.

 

        Filing Fees: These fees are waived for persons proceeding under the CJA. Fees for Deeds of Trust to secure a defendant’s release are not compensable under the CJA; these fees are paid for by the person(s) securing the collateral.

 

        Personal items and services for the client, such as clothing, cleaning or pick-up or delivery of clothing or personal items, haircuts, cigarettes, transportation, lodging, travel, meals, costs of assisting the defendant in the disposition of his or her personal property, etc. Payments by counsel for such items will not be reimbursed.

 

        Alcoholic beverages.

 

        Costs related to educational seminars, including travel, attendance, registration or materials.

 

        Expenses related to the testimony of a fact witness, either at trial or deposition, including service of subpoenas, transportation and other expenses, are not reimbursable under the CJA, but rather are governed by Rule 17, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 1825. Such expenses are paid by the Department of Justice through the U.S. Marshal’s Office.

 

        PACER costs are not reimbursable. Appointed attorneys can apply for a no-fee account and should contact the PACER Service Center in San Antonio at 1-800-676-6856 for more information.

 

        Time and expenses involved in the preparation of an appeal (whether from interlocutory orders or final judgments) or work related to the review of proceedings before this court. These are considered as applicable to the case before the United States Court of Appeals, and should be included on the voucher for services performed in that court. The e-filing of the lodged Notice of Appeal is allowed.

 

        Work related to state court proceedings will not be compensated unless the attorney obtains prior authorization from the court