Chapter VII. Payment
Dallas panel members must submit a completed CJA Form 20 - Appointment of and Authority to Pay Court Appointed Counsel, if they wish to be reimbursed. Appointed counsel should use the Attorney Timekeeping System throughout representation in district court. Vouchers should be submitted no later than 45 days after the final disposition of the case, unless good cause is shown. Expenses for investigators and experts must be claimed on a CJA Form 21. Any questions regarding the payment process should be directed to Chad Cunningham, at 214/753-2209. Completed CJA forms should be submitted to:
U.S. District Clerk's Office
1100 Commerce Street, Rm. 1452
Dallas, TX 75242
ATTN: Financial Services
The following is general information regarding the
payment process. Payment of CJA attorneys is governed by the Criminal
Justice Act and 18 U.S.C. §3006A(d) - (f). See Attachment VII -
3 for a copy of §3006A(d) - (f).
- Attorney Compensation
- Non-Capital Rates
- Non-Capital Case Maximums
- Capital Rates and Case Maximums
- Expenses Not Allowed
Various expenses related to CJA representation are non-reimbursable. Among there are:
- Subpoena Expenses (including service of process, witness fees, travel costs, etc.)
of Justice must pay the witness fees in all federal criminal proceedings (28 U.S.C. § 1825). When the court orders the issuance of a subpoena pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 17(b), the U.S. Marshal Service (USMS) or the marshal's designee will serve the subpoena and pay the related fees.
- The USMS requires 10 working days for service.
- If advance witness travel funds are required, the order must specifically authorize this advance (§ 320.40.10).
- Once you receive the order, request the clerk to provide a certified copy of it and to issue the subpoena you prepare. If you identify the certified copy request as necessary for your CJA representation, you will not be charged.
- Present the subpoena and the certified order to the USMS in the division in which the order was filed. Do not hire a process server.
- General Office Overhead
You may not claim expenses related to your rent, personnel costs, telephone or Internet service, or other general office expenses, since they are intended to be covered by the statutory hourly fee you claim. (For extraordinary expenses, refer to § 320.70.30.)
- Items and Services of a Personal Nature
You may not claim any expense you incur to provide your client with new clothing, meals, snacks, cigarettes, or other personal items. You also may not claim any expenses you incur for having your client’s clothing cleaned, for your client’s haircuts, to assist with the disposition of your client’s personal property, for placement of your client’s minor children, for execution of your client’s conditions of probation or supervised release, or for any other matter unrelated to the litigation of the case, even if incidental to your client’s arrest.
- Filing Fees
You may not claim any expense for a filing fee, since CJA attorneys are not required to pay a filing fee in a CJA case.
- Printing and Copying of Briefs
You may not claim any expense for the printing of briefs, regardless of the method you use.
You may not claim taxes you pay on compensation received under CJA, whether the taxes are based on income, sales, gross receipts, or any other basis.
- Allowable Expenses
Out-of-pocket expenses reasonably incurred may
be claimed on the
CJA Form 20, but must be itemized and reasonably documented.
Expenses for meals and lodging, incurred in the representation
of the defendant, constitute reimbursable out-of-pocket expenses.
In determining whether actual expenses incurred are "reasonable,"
you should be guided by the prevailing limitations placed upon
travel and subsistence expenses of federal judiciary employees
in accordance with existing government travel regulations.
Expenses for investigations or other services
under subsection (e) of the Act shall not be considered out-of-pocket
expenses and thus, such expenses should not be claimed on a
CJA Form 20. A CJA Form 21 should be completed by the investigator
or other expert (See Section VIII of this handbook). Out-of-pocket
expenses include the following:
- Automobile Travel Expenses
Travel using a privately owned automobile should
be claimed at the rate prescribed for federal judiciary employees
who use a private automobile for conducting official business
(current rate), plus parking fees, bridge,
road, and tunnel tolls. Other means of transportation should
be claimed on an actual expense basis. Claims for gasoline
are not allowed (except when a rental car is used).
- Airline Travel and Hotel Expenses
The United States District Court of the Northern
District of Texas has established procedures by which Panel
members and experts (persons providing investigative, expert,
or other services necessary for adequate representation pursuant
to the CJA) may obtain government rates for airline travel
and hotel accommodations in connection with representation
pursuant to the CJA. To receive the government rate, you must
follow the steps listed below:
- Obtain a written Travel Authorization (form authorized by a district judge - form authorized by a magistrate judge) on court letterhead (signed by the presiding Judicial Officer)
from the District Clerk's Office for each trip. You must
carry a copy of the Travel Authorization during
the authorized travel for identification purposes and for
presentation should an airline agent ask to see it. If confidentiality
is a factor, your request may be submitted to the court
"ex parte, in camera," and placed under
seal. Information concerning the purpose of the trip in
cases requiring confidentiality may be nonspecific.
- After obtaining a Travel Authorization,
call National Travel Service at its toll-free number
(1-800-445-0668) to make your travel arrangements. Advise
National Travel that you are a Panel member (or expert) providing CJA
representation. National Travel will require the following "identifiers,"
which are listed on the Travel Authorization:
- District Court information
- Accounting information
Instruct National Travel where to deliver your ticket and you should request an e-ticket whenever possible.
A copy of the Travel Authorization,
as well as a copy of the airline tickets that were provided
by National Travel, must be attached to the CJA Form 20 or 21 for audit
- Other Services and Computer Hardware and Software
In addition to investigators, psychiatrists, psychologists, and reporters, services other than counsel may include but not necessarily be limited to, interpreters, computer systems and automation litigation support personnel and experts; paralegals and legal assistants, including law students; neurologists; and laboratory experts in the areas of ballistics, fingerprinting, and handwriting. Claims for compensation for such services should be submitted on CJA Form 21, "Authorization and Voucher for Expert and Other Services", or, in a death penalty proceeding, CJA Form 31, "Death Penalty Proceeding: Ex Parte Request for Authorization and Voucher for Expert and Other Services".
- Computer Assisted Legal Research
The cost of use of computer assisted legal
research may be allowed as a reimbursable out-of-pocket
expense, provided the total amount approved does not exceed
the total amount of compensation that reasonably would have
been approved if you had performed the research manually.
Whenever you incur charges for computer assisted legal research,
attach the following to the CJA Form 20 or 21:
- a brief statement on the issue or issues
that were the subject matter of the research;
- an estimate of the number of hours of attorney-time
that would have been required to do the research manually;
- a copy of the bill and receipt for the
use of equipment or an explanation of the precise basis
of the charge (e.g., indicating the extent to which it
was derived by proration of monthly charges, or by charges
identifiable to the specific research).
- Miscellaneous Expenses
Miscellaneous expenses include items such
as telephone toll calls, faxes, telegrams, copying (except
printing), postage, and photographs. Miscellaneous expenses
in excess of $50.00 must be substantiated by proof of payment
(e.g., receipts, canceled checks, invoices). A miscellaneous
charge must be described specifically in order to
be claimed. Claims for telephone expenses must be itemized
by date, person called, and charge. Claims for in-house
copying expenses may be claimed at the rate of 15¢ a copy
and must be itemized by date, number of copies multiplied
by 15¢, and total. For copies otherwise obtained, the cost
may not exceed 25¢ a copy, and the claim must also be itemized.
If the cost exceeds 15¢ a copy, a receipt must be provided.
Requests for copies in the District Clerk's Office are
free to Panel members.
- In-Court and Out-of-Court Hourly Worksheets
The In-Court and Out-of-Court Hourly Worksheets
were devised to standardize the itemization and documentation
of hourly totals of services performed by court appointed counsel.
See Attachments VII
- 5 and VII
- 6 for samples of the In-Court and Out-of-Court Hourly
Worksheets. Completed worksheets should be attached to the CJA
Form 20. The following information should be provided on the
- The case number pertaining
to the claim.
- For each in-court and out-of-court service
rendered, provide the following:
- the date the service was performed;
- a brief description of the service performed;
- the time spent performing the service.
NOTE: The time spent performing the service
should be reported in tenths of an hour. For example:
|.10 = 6 minutes
||.40 = 24 minutes
||.70 = 42 minutes
|.20 = 12 minutes
||.50 = 30 minutes
||.80 = 48 minutes
|.30 = 18 minutes
||.60 = 36 minutes
||.90 = 54 minutes
Once all in-court and out-of-court services
have been documented, enter the total number of hours pertaining
to each service category in the appropriate column. If more
than one page is required, a page total should be provided
on each page. A grand total of all page totals should be provided
on the final page. Use the grand total for each service category
to complete Item 15 for in-court time, and Item 16 for out-of-court
time on the CJA Form 20. In-court and out-of- court compensation
should then be calculated multiplying the applicable rate
per hour by the total number of hours.
- Each page of the worksheet should be numbered
(page 1 of 2, page 2 of 2, etc.) and must be attached to
the CJA Form 20.
- Other Expenses Worksheet
The Other Expenses Worksheet was devised to standardize
the itemization of reimbursable expenses (See Section VII. B. of this handbook for an explanation
of allowable expenses). See Attachment
VII - 7 for a sample of the Other Expenses Worksheet. The
following information should be provided on the worksheet:
- The case number pertaining
to the claim.
- For each item of "other expense
incurred" provide the following:
- the date the expense was incurred;
- a brief explanation of the expense; and
- the amount of expense incurred.
Attach supporting documentation (e.g., receipts,
canceled checks, and invoices) for all non-travel expenses in excess
of $50.00, and for all travel expenses in excess of $25. Receipts for lodging must be attached regardless of the amount. Expense items such as mileage and copying should
show the total miles and pages, respectively, multiplied
by the applicable rate, to arrive at the expense incurred.
The expenses incurred should then be listed under the appropriate
"other expense" category (e.g., Mileage, Parking,
Meals). If copies are submitted rather than original receipts,
the copies must be legible for audit purposes.
Once the expenses have been itemized, total
each column and enter the grand total. Use this information
to complete Items 17 and 18 of the CJA Form 20. The worksheet,
along with any supporting documentation, must be attached
to the CJA Form 20.
- Interim Payments
Where it is considered necessary and appropriate in a specific case, the presiding trial judge may arrange for periodic or interim payments to counsel. The payment options provided in the order are designed to strike a balance between the interest in relieving court-appointed attorneys of financial hardships in extended and complex cases, and the practical application of the statutorily imposed responsibility of the chief judge of the circuit to provide a meaningful review of claims for excess compensation.
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