|How do I become a CJA Panel Attorney?
Application forms for CJA Panel membership are available upon request from the Federal Public Defender’s Office and the Clerk’s Office. Completed applications are reviewed by the Panel Selection Committee for recommendation to the District Court.
What is the criteria for a CJA Panel Attorney ?
Applicants must be members in good standing of the district court trial bar and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals; and must have demonstrated experience with, and knowledge of, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence and the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
What is the Panel Selection Committee ?
The Committee consists of one U.S. District judge, one Magistrate Judge, the Federal Public Defender and four attorneys in private practice (two from Dade County, one from Broward County, one from West Palm Beach). The Clerk of the Court is an ex officio member. The Federal Public Defender is the Chairperson of the Committee but serves in a non-voting capacity. The Committee meets at least once quarterly to review qualifications of applicants and recommend candidates to the district court.
What is the term of a CJA Panel Attorney ?
The term is 24 months.
Who administers the CJA Panel ?
The Federal Public Defender’s office maintains an up-to-date master list of all attorneys included on the Panel with current addresses and telephone numbers and promulgates weekly duty rosters.
What is the duration of a CJA appointment ?
A defendant shall be represented at every stage of the proceedings from initial appearance before the magistrate or the District Court through appeal, including ancillary matters.
How is a CJA Panel Attorney assigned to a duty week ?
Assignments to duty weeks are done by a random selection. It is solely the luck of the draw! Each attorney is notified at least two weeks in advance that they have been assigned to a duty week. Names are selected for three counties: Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. Thus, it is possible to be on more than one duty roster in any given month. For example, a Panel attorney may have duty the first week of the month in Dade County and then have duty the third week of the month for Broward. However, a lawyer will never be on duty the same week for two different counties.
Five attorneys per week are designated for Dade County. Three attorneys are designated per week for Broward and Palm Beach Counties. (Dade’s list of attorneys is 2-3 times larger than the lists for Broward or Palm Beach) Appointments in Monroe County and Fort Pierce will be made by the Magistrate Judges in those divisions from a separate list of attorneys who have agreed to accept appointments in those counties. Magistrate Judges generally make appointments from the duty roster lists. This procedure results in a balanced distribution of the appointments. Attorneys on duty are not required to be in court every day but are required to be available for appointments and to appear in court that week when contacted by the Magistrate Judge.
Are there mandatory seminars that a CJA attorney must attend ?
Each panel member shall annually attend, at his/her own expense, five hours of continuing legal education, specifically concerning federal criminal practice and shall so certify by December 1st of each year to the Federal Public Defender’s Office.
Is there a mandatory removal process ?
Yes, any member whose right to practice law in the district or state has been suspended or revoked shall be removed from the panel. Any member who refuses to accept an appointment on three occasions in one year shall be removed from the panel. Inability to accept an appointment because of an ethical conflict is not a refusal.