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Panel Members FAQs

How do I apply for membership on the CJA panel?

Download the application from the forms on our website. The court has two CJA panels, a misdemeanor panel and a felony panel. Felony panel applications are considered each spring by the CJA Committee. Attorneys must have felony trial experience to apply for the felony panel.
How many CJA assignments can I expect to receive from the court?

It varies. The misdemeanor panel contains a large number of attorneys. While every effort is made to fairly rotate the number of appointments, the size of the misdemeanor panel means that no attorney can expect a sizeable number of misdemeanor case appointments. Many of the misdemeanor cases are handled by CJA misdemeanor duty attorneys, as explained below. The court keeps the size of the panel small, so each felony panel attorney receives a sufficient number of appointments to remain current in the application of the federal sentencing guidelines. This means that every felony panel attorney can expect to receive at least one CJA felony appointment per year. Depending on your availability and willingness to accept cases that are expected to last more than two weeks in trial, you could receive more appointments.
What is a misdemeanor duty day panel attorney?

The court has outlying locations that handle misdemeanor cases. The locations include Aberdeen Proving Ground, Andrews Air Force Base, Hyattsville multi-purpose center, and cases from Fort George G. Meade which are handled in Baltimore. Each year in December an email is sent to all misdemeanor panel attorneys inviting them to apply for a duty day. On that duty day, the misdemeanor panel attorney will be assigned 25% of the initial appearances scheduled for that day. The other 75% of the cases will be assigned to an attorney from the Federal Public Defender’s Office. The duty attorney ordinarily receives at least one case assignment. The duty attorney may volunteer for any court location but may only claim the actual driving time from his or her office or one hour, whichever is less. If case assignments are not made to the duty attorney, he or she can not claim compensation for the time spent as duty attorney. Compensation for the duty day should be split up among the cases assigned and billed on the case vouchers. While every effort is made to insure that sufficient initial appearances are on the docket for assignment to the duty attorney there is always the possibility that the clients may fail to appear for their initial appearances, and thus there may not be a case assignment.
What are the case compensation maximums?

  • Felony $9,700.00
  • Misdemeanor $2,800.00
  • Non-capital habeas $9,700.00
  • Witness/Target $2,100.00
  • Appeal $6,900.00
What if my claimed compensation is more than the case compensation maximum?

The Criminal Justice Act provides that an attorney can seek compensation in excess of the statutory maximum if a memorandum in support of excess compensation or CJA form 26 (statement in support of excess compensation) is filed with the voucher. The voucher must then be certified by the district judge to the Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit as a case requiring excess compensation to provide fair compensation to appointed counsel. If the Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit approves the district judge’s request to approve the compensation, then the voucher claim is paid in full. The court strictly scrutinizes any claim for compensation in excess of the statutory maximum, particularly if the case was resolved through a guilty plea.
What is the hourly rate of compensation for CJA panel attorneys?

The current rate is $110.00 per hour.
What are the hourly rates of compensation and their effective dates?

Time Period In Court   Out of Court
9/1/13 - Present $110.00$110.00
1/1/10 - 8/31/13   $125.00 $125.00
3/11/09 - 12/31/09   $110.00 $110.00
1/1/08 - 3/10/09   $100.00 $100.00
5/20/07 - 12/31/07   $94.00 $94.00
What is the reimbursement rate for mileage?

Time Period Rate per mile
1/1/13 - Present   $0.565
4/17/12 - 12/31/12 $0.555
1/1/11 - 4/16/12 $0.51
1/1/10 - 12/31/10 $0.50
2/1/09 - 12/31/09 $0.55
8/1/08 - 1/31/09 $0.585
3/19/08 - 7/31/08 $0.505
2/1/07 - 3/18/08 $0.485
Where do I send my voucher for payment?

CJA Supervising Attorney
United States District Court
101 West Lombard St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
How do I issue subpoenas under the CJA?

Subpoenas under the CJA are served by the Marshal’s office upon the order of the court. Prepare a subpoena pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 17(b). The request for a subpoena may be filed ex parte. The Marshal’s office requests that subpoenas be filed with their office not later than fourteen days prior to the start of trial. For further information, please see the CJA felony manual. The manual can be downloaded from the court’s website.
Can I get the assistance of an expert or investigator for my CJA case?

Yes, the District Court has authority to approve up to $2,400.00 in expert or investigative compensation. Any request for more than $2,400.00 in funding must be certified by the district court judge and approved by the Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit. All requests for expert or investigative assistance must be made in writing and forwarded to the CJA Supervising Attorney
Are there presumptive rates for expert or investigative services?

Effective November 16, 2005, the bench approved the following presumptive rates:
  • psychiatrists/psychologists       $225.00 per hour
  • investigators       $60.00 per hour
  • paralegal services       $35.00 per hour
How do fact witnesses get reimbursed under the CJA?

If the court has approved a subpoena under Fed. R. Crim.P. 17(b), the fact witness fee and travel reimbursements are paid by the Office of the United States Marshal. Please see the felony panel manual for further instructions. The travel authorization form must be filled out correctly and delivered by the panel attorney to the Office of the U.S. Marshal in order to secure the fact witness reimbursement. A fact witness reimbursement form is in the form list at the end of this section.
How do I obtain interpreters?

Interpreters for court proceedings are paid for by the court. If you require an interpreter in court, you may contact the Assistant United States Attorney handling the case, or in the Northern Division, you may notify Deputy Clerk Martina West at 410-962-3837. If your case is being heard in the Southern Division, you should contact Deputy Clerk Kathy Chiarizia, at 301-344-3104. If you require an interpreter for a client meeting, CJA funds are utilized. For an out of court meeting, you should seek authorization from the district judge on a CJA form 21. Attach a letter to the form explaining your need for an interpreter as well as your basis for the estimated compensation, and forward the voucher and letter to the CJA Supervising Attorney. The current rate for a half day’s service is $210.00 and the rate for a full day’s service is $388.00. Since more than one meeting with the client probably will be required, it may be advisable to seek authorization from the district judge for the statutory maximum of $2,400.00.
I need an interpreter, investigator or expert, but I don’t know who to call. What should I do?

The CJA Supervising Attorney has lists containing the names of certified Spanish interpreters. She can also direct you to agencies providing interpreters in other languages. Ms. West also has the names of interpreters willing to work in the court system. The CJA Supervising Attorney also has lists of experts and investigators willing to accept the court’s compensation rates. The Court does not vouch for or certify the quality of these experts or investigators, we are simply providing referrals to experts accepting the court’s rate structure. The Office of the Federal Public Defender can also provide you with referrals to qualified expert witnesses.
My client is detained, where should I call to determine his location?

Call the prisoner operation section in the Office of the United States Marshal at 410-962-2518. It is advisable to call before visiting any institution.
How do I obtain a PACER account for my CJA work?

CJA attorneys who use PACER in connection with their CJA appointments can obtain an exempt login and password with a CJA appointment by contacting the PACER Service Center at 1-800-676-6856
I need to travel overnight in association with my CJA appointment, what do I do?

Permission of the court is necessary for any overnight travel to facilitate the use of government rates. To obtain authorization for overnight travel or travel by common carrier, please send a letter to the CJA Supervising Attorney outlining the situation. A travel authorization containing the applicable per diem will be prepared for the Judge’s signature. The CJA appropriation pays directly for all travel by common carrier. Reimbursements will be made for food and lodging within the approved government per diem.
I have a defendant who is out on bond and resides out of state, how do I arrange for his transportation to Maryland to attend the court proceedings?

The Office of the United States Marshal is responsible for the defendant’s transportation costs under 18 U.S.C.§4285. This provision requires the Marshals Service to provide transportation and subsistence to the “place where the defendant’s appearance is required”. Counsel should seek a court order stating that the defendant is indigent and directing the U.S. Marshal to provide travel and subsistence for the defendant to the court location. The statute only provides for travel expenses to the court and subsistence expenses while in route. It is important to note that the statute does not require the Marshal to provide the defendants with transportation home following a court appearance. Nor does the statute require the court to provide subsistence payments to the defendant following arrival. If your client requires subsistence following his arrival in Maryland, then you should request the court to order that lodging and food be provided to your defendant through Pretrial Services under 18 U.S.C. §3154(4). Generally housing can be provided through a halfway house such as Volunteers of America. Please note, that Criminal Justice Act funds are not available for lodging and subsistence of a defendant during the trial. Nor is there any method to reimburse a defendant for expenses incurred in securing lodging during the trial. For more detailed information on CJA procedures, please see the CJA felony manual.
I have a question about a misdemeanor duty day assignment, who should I contact?

If you have a question about your arrival time, court location, or an appointment or voucher payment problem, contact the CJA Technical Assistant, Nicole Bierman at 410-962-4674. If you have a question about a legal issue or a sentencing question, contact Ms. Susan Bauer, the Assistant Federal Public Defender supervising the misdemeanor docket. You may reach Ms. Bauer at 301-344-0600.