Please take notice that the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is implementing a new system in Texas for determining available counsel to serve as CJA-appointed appellate counsel for indigent criminal defendants. The current procedures in Louisiana and Mississippi will remain the same.

Pursuant to Section 5A of the previously-passed “Plan for Representation on Appeal under the Criminal Justice Act” (the “Plan”), the Circuit will primarily utilize attorneys from panels designated or approved by the federal district courts of Texas and who indicate a willingness and demonstrate the necessary ability to handle criminal appeals. Accordingly, if you are interested in serving in such a capacity and you are not already on the list or lists in the particular federal district(s) from which you wish to represent indigent defendants, please follow the proper procedures to request placement on each such district’s list(s).

Please further take notice that this new system:

  1. does not change the expectation that trial counsel appointed under the Criminal Justice Act will continue to represent the defendant through all appeals;
  2. does not supplant or change the requirements for cases in which an Anders brief is appropriate; and
  3. does not affect appointments for representation on appeal that have already been made by the district or circuit court.

Trial counsel who is unable or unwilling to continue to represent an indigent criminal defendant through appeal should request leave to withdraw and for appointment of new counsel promptly in the district court in accordance with the requirements of Section 5B of the Plan.

A copy of the Plan can be found at http://www.ce5.uscourts.gov/cja/. Information about this district’s CJA panel requirements can be found at http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/forms/cja.html.