The Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”) requires each United States District Court to have a plan for furnishing representation to any person financially unable to obtain adequate representation. 18 U.S.C. § 3006A. The District of Nevada’s CJA Plan (“CJA Plan”) provides for representational services by the Office of the Federal Public Defender (“FPDO”) and for the appointment and compensation of private attorneys from an approved CJA Panel. The District Court has established such a plan that seeks, inter alia, to incorporate policies and recommendations of the 2017 Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act of the Judicial Conference.
Nevada’s CJA Plan provides that the FPDO is responsible for the administration of the CJA Panel. With oversight from the CJA Standing Committee, the FPDO assists the District Court in the selection, oversight, and management of panel attorneys. Additionally, with General Order 2021-01, the District Court delegates to the FPDO the authority to review, approve, adjust, or deny CJA vouchers and requests for case funding within certain limits. To comply with the District’s CJA Plan, the FPDO adopts the following policies and procedures.
The Federal Public Defender (“FPD”) establishes a CJA Unit within the FPDO to administer the CJA Plan on behalf of the District Court. The CJA Unit consists of CJA Resource Counsel and a CJA Panel Administrator. CJA Resource Counsel are attorneys who have been designated by the FPD to administer the CJA Panel. The CJA Panel Administrator assists Resource Counsel in the performance of their duties.
CJA Resource Counsel Kim_Driggers@fd.org
CJA Resource Counsel
|Stephanie Young CJA Panel Administrator Stephanie_S_Young@fd.org||https://fpdnevada.org/ NV_CJAResource@fd.org 702.388.6577|
The CJA Unit’s principal functions are as follows:
The eVoucher program is the electronic voucher payment system used to prepare, submit, review, and certify CJA vouchers for payment and requests for case funding. The CJA Unit manages the District Court’s eVoucher program and is responsible for training and troubleshooting for the Court, CJA panel attorneys, and service providers.
The CJA Unit follows policies of the FPDO, in addition to the following:
When a judicial officer orders the appointment of counsel, such appointment is managed by the CJA Unit. To appoint counsel, the CJA Unit performs the following duties:
Detailed instructions for submitting claims for compensation and reimbursement of expenses are available on the FPDO’s website.
CJA attorneys are expected to use their own office resources, including secretarial help, for work on CJA cases. However, if itemized and reasonably documented, CJA attorneys may claim reimbursement for the following expenses:
Receipts are required for every expense greater than $50.00. Prior authorization must be obtained for any individual expense exceeding $500 by emailing NV_CJAResource@fd.org.
Expenses considered part of office overhead, i.e., pens, paper, paper clips, and loose-leaf binders, are non-reimbursable because they are required on an everyday basis for lawyers to perform their job. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the following expenses associated with CJA representation are not reimbursable:
Claims for reimbursement of expenses must be itemized on the expenses tab of an eVoucher payment voucher with receipts attached to the documents tab.
Consistent with General Order 2021-01, the CJA Unit is authorized to approve requests for routine travel. The CJA Unit requires advance authorization for travel expenses over $150 or when traveling overnight or by air. Travel authorizations must comply with Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol. 7A, Ch. 2 § 230.64.40. Detailed instructions for submitting travel authorizations are available on the FPDO’s website.
When traveling under a CJA authorization, attorneys and service providers will be reimbursed for their actual travel expenses subject to the same limitations and regulations as federal judiciary employees and up to the allowable General Services Administration (GSA) per diem rate.
Itemized, line-item receipts must accompany all claims for travel expenses, including meals, transportation, parking, lodging, etc., regardless of amount.
A travel authorization is valid for 90 days from the date of its approval. During that 90-day period, the traveler may contact NTS to reschedule departure/arrival dates provided (a) the cost remains substantially the same and (b) notice is provided to the CJA Unit. The CJA Unit maintains a spreadsheet of approved travel authorizations—including travel dates—to ensure compliance with this policy.
Appointed counsel is entitled to funding for fees and expenses associated with hiring an expert, investigator, or other professional (e.g., paralegals, interpreters) to assist defense counsel in tasks necessary to an adequate representation. See 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(e). Consistent with General Order 2021-01, the CJA Unit determines requests for service providers on behalf of the District Court. Instructions for submitting requests are available on the FPDO’s website.
The CJA Unit follows rate and billing standards as approved by the CJA Standing Committee. See Appendix A. With a showing of good cause and prior approval by the CJA Standing Committee (or designee), rates above the District Court’s standards may be authorized in an individual case.
The CJA Guidelines authorize CJA counsel to retain investigative, expert, and other services without prior judicial authorization up to $900. The combined fees of all services on a case count toward the $900 limit, but reimbursable expenses do not. This limit is adjusted periodically. See Guide to Judiciary Policy, Ch. 3§ 310.20.30(A).
Consistent with 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, the District Court’s CJA Plan, and the CJA Guidelines, defendants with retained counsel may seek CJA funding for services that are “necessary to an adequate defense,” provided the Court determines the defendant is financially eligible. Counsel must follow the steps below before fees are incurred to obtain CJA funding for service providers:
Counsel is expected to submit vouchers through the eVoucher program. Claims for compensation will be reviewed for compliance with CJA Guidelines and the District’s rates and standards that appear in Appendix A.
Consistent with General Order 2021-01, funding requests up to $10,000 per service provider are reviewed and determined on behalf of the District Court by CJA Resource Counsel, with those in excess of the statutory maximum (as reflected in Appendix C) directed to the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (or designee) for secondary approval. Requests that exceed $10,000 per provider are reviewed by CJA Resource Counsel and the CJA Standing Committee (or designee) before they are directed to the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (or designee) for secondary approval.
Except in cases involving mathematical or technical corrections, no request for service provider funding may be reduced or denied without affording counsel the opportunity to be heard. The CJA Unit will notify counsel of any reduction or denial and offer counsel the opportunity to justify the request. If the reduction or denial is not contested, or if no response is received within ten (10) business days, the CJA Unit will reduce or reject the AUTH.
When an AUTH has been reduced or rejected (in whole or in part), counsel may seek an independent review by the Peer Review Committee (“PRC”) following procedures set forth in Section VII(B). The District Court, through its CJA Standing Committee, retains ultimate review and approval authority.
Approval by the CJA Standing Committee (or designee) and the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (or designee) is required to exceed the statutory maximum attorney compensation limit. Counsel must complete the Request for Excess Compensation form available on the FPDO’s website, which requires the attorney to provide detail sufficient to find the following:
The CJA Unit encourages panel attorneys to request advance authorization to exceed the statutory maximum when necessary for an adequate representation and to ensure that counsel will be compensated for tasks completed. Nunc pro tunc authorizations to cover fees already incurred are strongly disfavored by the Ninth Circuit.
The CJA Unit utilizes eVoucher’s gatekeeper function to prevent vouchers exceeding the statutory maximum from being submitted without prior approval. Because a CJA-20 voucher exceeding the statutory maximum will not be accepted by eVoucher, the panel attorney must first submit a CJA-26 to justify the excess compensation. The CJA-26 must be approved by the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (or designee) before the attorney can submit an excess voucher. Instructions for completing a CJA-26 form are available on the FPDO’s website.
Once the CJA-26 is approved, the CJA Unit manually updates the representation limit to allow for the excess compensation claim. The eVoucher program notifies the panel attorney that the compensation limit has been increased.
Repeated failures to secure advance authorization before exceeding the statutory maximum are reported to the CJA Panel Committee and may result in discipline or removal from the CJA Panel.
Consistent with General Order 2021-01, requests to exceed the statutory maximum by up to $25,000 will be reviewed and determined by CJA Resource Counsel and directed to the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (or designee) for secondary approval. Prior to making this approval request, CJA Resource Counsel must make the required certification that the representation is extended or complex as defined in Section V. Requests to exceed the statutory maximum by more than $25,000 are reviewed by CJA Resource Counsel and the CJA Standing Committee (or designee) before they are directed to the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (or designee) for secondary approval.
Following the requirements of General Order 2021-01, vouchers are directed to the appropriate approving authority according to their workflows:
|AUTHs||Less than $2,701||PA, RC|
|AUTHs||$2,701 < $10,000||PA, RC, 9CCA|
|AUTHs||$10,001 +||PA, RC, CSC, 9CCA|
|CJA-26||Less than $25,001 $25,001 +||RC, 9CCA RC, CSC, 9CCA|
|TRAVEL||Routine Non-routine||PA, RC PA, RC, CSC|
|TRANSCRIPTS||Non-Daily Daily||PA, RC PA, RC, CSC|
|CJA-20, 21, 30, 31, CJA-24||Within statutory limits or amounts approved with prior authorization||PA, RC|
|FINAL VOUCHERS||If exceeding statutory maximum||PA, RC, CSC, 9CCA|
*PA = Panel Administrator; RC = Resource Counsel; CSC = CJA Standing Committee (or designee); 9CCA = Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (or designee)
Vouchers are submitted to the CJA Unit for review and processing. Technical review refers to ensuring the voucher’s arithmetic computations are accurate, only authorized services and expenses are included, and all charges are at the authorized rates. Any discrepancies are noted on the voucher, and appropriate audits are available for review by CJA Resource Counsel and the CJA Standing Committee.
CJA Resource Counsel determines whether the billed services are reasonable or if additional documentation is needed before a payment is approved. Voucher reductions are limited to mathematical errors, instances in which work billed was not compensable or undertaken, and instances in which the hours billed clearly exceed what was reasonably required to complete the task. Instructions for challenging a reduced voucher appear in Section VI(D).
Vouchers that have been approved for payment are reviewed and certified by the Administrative Officer for the FPDO (or designee).
Except in cases involving mathematical or technical corrections, no claim for compensation may be reduced by more than $500 without affording counsel the opportunity to be heard. The CJA Unit will notify CJA counsel of any proposed reduction and offer counsel the opportunity to justify the submission. If counsel indicates that the reduction is not contested, or if no response is received within ten (10) business days, the CJA Unit will approve the reduced voucher.
If counsel responds and provides justification that complies with CJA Guidelines, the voucher will be approved as submitted. If, after reviewing counsel’s response, the CJA Unit notifies counsel that the voucher will be reduced by at least $500 in spite of the justification, counsel may seek an independent review by the Peer Review Committee following the procedures set forth in Section VII(B).
The FPD, as Chair of the CJA Panel Committee, has established PRCs in the unofficial northern and southern divisions of the District Court to review matters concerning the administration of the CJA Panel, including the performance and compensation of panel attorneys and their service providers. See Appendix B.
The PRC reviews voucher reduction(s) and/or request(s) for case funding and issues recommendations following these procedures:
In an active case, complaints regarding the panel attorney’s performance will be reviewed by the presiding judge.
General complaints regarding panel attorney performance must be directed to the FPD CJA Unit at NV_CJAResource@fd.org. CJA Resource Counsel will provide the complaint to the FPD, as Chair of PRC, who will follow these procedures:
Recognizing that transparency, feedback, and consistency in the application of performance measures is paramount to a fair evaluation system, and to ensure that all panel attorneys provide exceptional representation consistent with the CJA Plan, the CJA Unit establishes the following standards and procedures for panel attorney training, performance, and review.
To promote effective representation, the FPDO requires panel attorneys to achieve the performance standards available on the FPDO’s website. These standards offer panel attorneys a clear understanding of the District Court’s expectations and must be followed to maintain membership on the CJA Panel.
As part of their service to the District Court’s CJA Panel Committee, CJA Resource Counsel organize performance evaluations for attorneys seeking reappointment to the CJA panel. Before the panel attorney’s appointment term expires, CJA Resource Counsel solicit feedback from the District Court, the United States Pretrial and Probation Offices, the FPD, and the CJA Panel Representative. The respective reviewers utilize the following performance indicators for their evaluation:
CJA Resource Counsel provide a summary of the evaluation to the panel attorney under review, with notice that any response to the evaluation must be submitted to CJA Resource Counsel within ten (10) days of receipt.
CJA Resource Counsel provide the summary of the evaluation and the panel attorney’s response (if any) to the CJA Panel Committee and the CJA Standing Committee. If, as a result of the panel attorney’s performance evaluation, there is a concern about a panel attorney’s performance, CJA Resource Counsel will refer the evaluation and the panel attorney’s response to the FPD, as Chair of the PRC, who will follow procedures outlined in Section VII(C). The PRC may recommend to the CJA Panel Committee a one-year probationary term to allow for further assessment of the panel attorney seeking reappointment.
To assist in monitoring attorney performance and compliance with the CJA Guidelines, on a monthly basis the CJA Unit prepares, reviews, and saves the following eVoucher reports, which are available upon request:
The FPDO provides panel attorneys with training necessary to meet the performance standards identified in Section VIII(A) and to satisfy the following CLE requirements:
Panel attorneys must record their training hours in eVoucher within seven days of completing the training.
CLE requirements must be satisfied before the appointment term expires. Unless good cause is shown, those seeking reappointment to the CJA Panel must ensure their CLE requirements are met before applying for reappointment. Failure to complete the required training will be considered by the CJA Panel Committee in determining whether the attorney should be reappointed.
The District Court has delegated to the CJA Panel Committee the authority to oversee the panel selection and renewal process for attorneys on the CJA Panel. The CJA Panel Committee must make recommendations to the CJA Standing Committee, which will accept or reject such recommendations after giving them due weight.
As part of their service to the CJA Panel Committee, CJA Resource Counsel manage the recruitment and selection of panel attorneys. The CJA Unit publishes on the FPDO website the application for CJA Panel membership and directs applicants to submit their applications via email to NV_CJAResource@fd.org.
By September 1 of each year, CJA Resource Counsel present the applications to the CJA Panel Committee and the CJA Standing Committee for review and approval.
Attorneys appointed to the CJA Panel will be contacted by CJA Resource Counsel and provided with the CJA Plan, this Procedures Manual, the FPD’s CJA Performance Standards, and instructions for using eVoucher.
|SERVICE PROVIDER TYPE||RATE||NOTES|
|Attorney Expert – Capital||CJA Hourly Rate||E.g., immigration law expert|
|Audio, Video, Photo Analyst||$100-$200/hr|
|Crime Scene / Police Practices||$150-$250/hr|
|Document Translation||$40/page double $50/page single||Subject to change on budgeted cases|
|Document Transcription (without translation)||$3.65/page||Contract court reporter rate|
|Audio Transcription/Translation||Varies||Contact CJA Resource Counsel|
|Interpreter||Half Day $111-$226 Full Day $202-418||Contract rate accommodates both certified and non-certified providers.|
|Legal Analyst/Consultant||$75-$100/hr||E.g., Sentencing Guidelines consultant|
|Mitigation Specialist – Capital||$125/hr|
|Mitigation Specialist – Non-Capital||$75-$125/hr|
|Other Medical (M.D. or D.O.)||$275-$400/hr|
|Paralegal and Litigation Support||$65/hr|
|Felony||$12,100||Any request for additional funds over the listed statutory maximum must be approved by the District Court’s CJA Standing Committee and the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|Misdemeanor||$3,400||Any request for additional funds over the listed statutory maximum must be approved by the District Court’s CJA Standing Committee and the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|Other Types (e.g. Supervised Release Violation, Material Witness, Grand Jury Witness)||$2,600||Any request for additional funds over the listed statutory maximum must be approved by the District Court’s CJA Standing Committee and the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
28:2241, 2254, 2255
|Capital||$30,000||There is no statutory maximum for capital cases. Our district allows “seed” money to begin the case.|
Waivable Case Maximums For Service Providers
|$900||No preauthorization required for service provider fees that, when combined, do not exceed $900|
|$900||Any individual fee (or a combination of fees) exceeding $900 must be approved in advance with AUTH|
|$2,701 +||Any individual fee (or a combination of fees) exceeding $2700 requires prior approval from the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (or delegate).|
|$7,501 +||Any individual fee (or a combination of fees) exceeding $7500 requires prior approval from the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (or delegate).|
Hourly Rates For Counsel
|All non-capital representations||$155|
|Associates||CJA Panel Attorney: $155|
Other: $90-$120 depending on experience