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Northern District of Texas

David C. Godbey, Chief Judge
Karen Mitchell, Clerk of Court

Chapter XII. Death Penalty Voucher Instructions

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  1. Forms

    The following forms (“vouchers”) must be used to request payment for services/expenses in death penalty proceedings:

    CJA-30 Court Appointed Counsel
    CJA-31 Expert and Other Services
    CJA-24 Transcripts and Transcript Copies

  2. Process

    The CJA 30 (or CJA 31) voucher must be used to report only one stage of the proceeding. Separate interim vouchers must be filed at each stage of the proceedings. After filing the first CJA 30 (or CJA 31) voucher, the pre-printed numbers should be stricken on subsequent vouchers and the number of the first CJA 30 (or CJA 31) should be inserted. On the CJA 30 and CJA 31 forms, services are to be reported according to the following stages of proceedings:

    1. Capital Prosecution
      • Pre-Trial
      • Trial
      • Sentencing
      • Other Post Trial
      • Appeal
      • Petition for Supreme Court Writ of Certiorari
    2. Death Penalty Habeas Corpus
      • Habeas Petition
      •  Evidentiary Hearing
      • Dispositive Motions
      • Appeal
      • Petition for Supreme Court Writ of Certiorari
    3. Other Proceedings
      • State Clemency
      • Stay of Execution
      • Appeal of Denial of Stay
      • Petition for Writ of Certiorari to Supreme Court Regarding Denial of Stay
      • Other
  3. Payment of Attorney Fees

    Hours of services should be reported during the stage in which they were performed, even if the work product will be used at a later stage.

    Case Budgeting: Capital cases, whether federal capital prosecution or habeas proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 or § 2255, should be budgeted. 

    Payment in Budgeted Cases: In capital cases where there is a circuit approved budget in place, the district court may approve payment of interim vouchers as long as the vouchers are within budget. Final vouchers shall be forwarded to the chief judge of the circuit or his or her designee for payment. 

    Payment in Non-Budgeted Cases: In capital cases, whether federal capital prosecution or habeas proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 or § 2255, where there is no circuit approved budget, once attorney fees for the case exceed 500 hours, all interim vouchers for the case shall be forwarded to the chief judge of the circuit, or his or her designee, for approval and payment. For vouchers subject to circuit review, the attorney must submit the voucher to the district judge with a memorandum in support.  See Fifth Circuit CJA Plan, § 7(B)(2)(b).

    Compensation is paid to attorneys per hour for in-court and out-of-court time. Please click here to view the current compensation rates. Requests for compensation in excess of the current rates are considered presumptively excessive. Hourly rates apply to work performed on or after the effective date, regardless of the date of counsel’s appointment.

  4. Payment of Expenses

    All services and expenses claimed on the CJA 30 (or CJA 31) voucher must be listed on the attached worksheets. Enter actual time spent in hours and tenths of hours. Preparation of worksheets is not an allowable expense.

    1. Allowable Expenses
      • Photocopies
      • Faxes
      • Computer Aided Legal Research
      • Certified Mail
      • Travel/Meals
      • Telephone Calls
    2. Non-Allowable Expenses
      • General Office Overhead
      • Secretarial Services
      • Printing of Briefs
      • Fact Witness Fees
      • Subscriptions to Publications
      • Personal Expenses of Petitioner/Defendant
    3. Copy Charges
      • The reimbursement per page for “in-house” copies is $.15. You must specify the date, number of pages, and total (e.g., 3 pages @ $.15 = $.45) on the worksheet and the voucher.
      • For copies otherwise obtained, the cost may not exceed $.25 per page. The claim must also be itemized as described above. A receipt must be provided if the cost per page exceeds $.15.
    4. Mileage Rate
      • Please click here to view the current mileage rate.
    5. Documentation Required
      • For any item over $50.00, supporting documentation (a receipt, copy of a canceled check, etc.) must be provided. If computer aided legal research was conducted, please provide a copy of the actual bill and a brief statement of subject matter of the research.
  5. Investigative or Expert Services

    Upon finding that investigative, expert, or other services are reasonably necessary for the representation of the defendant, the court may authorize the defendant’s attorneys to obtain such services. Fees and expenses paid for investigative, expert, or other reasonably necessary services must not exceed $7,500 in any case, unless payment in excess of that limit is certified as necessary by the court.


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