Criminal Justice Act (CJA)

Plan for Implementing the Criminal Justice Act

Pursuant to the Report of the Committee to Evaluate the Performance of the Criminal Justice Act Plan for the District of Massachusetts, presented on April 27, 1993; the April 2009 Report of the Criminal Justice Act Board on Revisions to the Criminal Justice Act Plan; the Guide to Judiciary Policy, Volume 7(A), Appendix 2(A); the Model Plan for Implementation and Administration of the Criminal Justice Act; and the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act of 1964, as amended, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A (“CJA”), the judges of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts have adopted the following plan (the “Plan”) for the adequate representation of any person otherwise financially unable to obtain adequate representation.

View the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts' Plan for Implementing the Criminal Justice Act of 1964  
CJA Reimbursement Guidelines

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts has a long and proud tradition of providing high-quality representation to indigent defendants. It is an honor and a privilege to be appointed as counsel by the Court. With that honor, however, comes certain responsibilities, including the responsibility to exercise prudence and restraint in the expenditure of public resources. The Court expects counsel to exercise reasonable professional judgment, both in deciding what work should be performed and whether the cost of that work should be properly borne by the taxpayers. The Court recognizes that the nature of the legal services performed by defense counsel depends in large part on actions taken by the prosecution and the Court itself, and that therefore counsel’s ability to control costs is at least somewhat limited. The Court also recognizes that no two cases are exactly alike, and that it is not possible to predict with certainty what legal services will prove to be necessary as a case develops. Nonetheless, CJA attorneys have an obligation to limit expenses to the extent reasonably possible while still providing effective representation of their clients.

It is likewise the responsibility of the Court to ensure that all services and expenses funded under the CJA are necessary and reasonable for effective representation. The Court has the authority and the obligation to disapprove claims for compensation that are unreasonable or otherwise excessive. However, that authority—which is exercised after a voucher has been submitted—is often difficult to administer effectively and may involve substantial adjustments by the reviewing judge that could have been avoided with the exercise of due care by counsel. There is no substitute for the exercise of careful and responsible professional judgment by the attorney.

View the Guidelines for Claims Submitted for Reimbursement under the Criminal Justice Act  

Rates for CJA Work on CJA Cases  


Criminal Justice Act (CJA)

The open application period for the 2022 CJA Panel has now closed. The 2023 Panel application process will open in late Summer, 2022.


CJA Orders

Defender Services Program

The mission of the Defender Services program is to ensure that the right to counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, the Criminal Justice Act (18 U.S.C. § 3006A) (CJA), and other congressional mandates is enforced on behalf of those who cannot afford to retain counsel and other necessary defense services. By fulfilling its mission, the Defender Services program helps to:

  • maintain public confidence in the nation’s commitment to equal justice under law; and
  • ensure the successful operation of the constitutionally based adversary system of justice by which both federal criminal laws and federally guaranteed rights are enforced.

Read more about the Defender Services Program in the Judiciary Policy, Vol 7  

Scales of Justice

CJA Panel

The list of attorneys on the CJA Panel for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (as of June 2022) can be found below.

View the CJA Panel  
CJA Forms

Important forms relevant to CJA attorneys can be found using the link below.

View CJA Forms