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CJA FAQ: Case Compensation Maximums

  • Are court-appointed co-counsel entitled to a separate case compensation maximum?

    Yes.  When more than one attorney is appointed in a non-capital case, * each separate attorney is eligible to receive the maximum case compensation amount allowable for that particular type of proceeding under the Criminal Justice Act.  Case compensation maximums apply only to attorney fees in non-capital cases and not to the expenses of counsel.  The “cap” is waivable – payments above the limits may be made to provide fair compensation in extended or complex representations, when so certified by the presiding judicial officer and approved by the chief judge of the circuit (or judge delegate.)

    The Guide, Vol. 7, Section 230.23.40 sets out criteria for deciding whether the case is extended or complex and for determining fair compensation.  When appointed counsel is claiming compensation for services provided by a partner, associate, or someone else who is not appointed in the case, see the Guide, Vol. 7, Section 230.53.10.

    *There are no attorney case compensation maximums for capital representations.

  • When a new attorney replaces an attorney originally appointed for a defendant in the same case, does the new attorney get a new case compensation maximum?

    There are many variables that affect the answer to this question.  Call the AO’s Office of Defender Services Legal and Policy Branch Duty Day Attorney at (202) 502-3030.

  • Does one case compensation maximum for an appointed attorney apply throughout the entirety of a case, or does appointed counsel get a new case compensation maximum for each stage?

    Attorney case compensation maximums apply to each stage (level) of the proceedings of a case.  For example, appointed counsel has a case compensation maximum set for a case at the trial stage.  If the case is appealed after a plea or trial, a new case compensation maximum is set and if the case continues into habeas proceedings, another case compensation maximum applies.  Case compensation maximum amounts can be found in CJA Guidelines 230.23.20.  All case compensation limits apply to each appointed attorney in a case.  See CJA Guidelines 230.23.10(a) and (f).  Appointed counsel case compensation maximums do not apply to capital cases.  See CJA Guidelines 230.23.10(b).