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Chapter 1: Overview (Part A)

Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol 7 Defender Services, Part A Guidelines for Administering the CJA and Related Statutes

§ 110 Defender Services Program
§ 120 Purpose
§ 130 Applicability
§ 140 Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Forms
§ 150 Contact Information

§ 110 Defender Services Program

§ 110.10 Mission

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.

§ 110.20 Goals

The Defender Services program has four goals:

  • Goal 1: Provide timely assigned counsel services to all eligible persons.
  • Goal 2: Provide appointed counsel services that are consistent with the best practices of the legal profession.
  • Goal 3: Provide cost-effective services.
  • Goal 4: Protect the independence of the defense function performed by assigned counsel so that the rights of individual defendants are safeguarded and enforced.

§ 110.30 Authority

(a) The Defender Services program operates under the statutory authority of the CJA and related statutes.

(b) Under 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(h), the Judicial Conference of the United States is authorized to issue rules and regulations governing the operation of district plans created to furnish representational services (including counsel and investigative, expert, and other services necessary for adequate representation) to financially eligible persons. Volume 7A of the Guide is a compendium of Judicial Conference policy adopted pursuant to that authority.

§ 120 Purpose

This volume sets forth Judicial Conference policy on:

  • appointment of counsel under the CJA and related statutes;
  • payment of private "panel" attorneys;
  • authorization and payment for services other than counsel in federal criminal representations; and
  • policies specific to federal defender organizations.

§ 130 Applicability

The guidance contained in this volume applies to the providers of services under the CJA, federal courts, judiciary personnel, and all others responsible for the operation of any aspect of the Defender Services program.

§ 140 Criminal Justice Act (CJA) forms

The CJA forms are posted on the public judiciary website.

§ 150 Contact Information

For inquiries about the policies contained in Volume 7A of the Guide, contact the AO Defender Services Office, Legal and Policy Division Duty Day Attorney at 202-502-3030 or via email at

Last substantive revision (Transmittal GR-17) January 20, 2010
Last revised (minor technical changes) December 18, 2014