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Chapter 4, § 410: Overview

Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol 7 Defender Services, Part A Guidelines for Administering the CJA and Related Statutes, Chapter 4: Defender Organizations

§ 410.10 Statutory Authority
§ 410.20 Judicial Conference Policy

§ 410 Overview

§ 410.10 Statutory Authority

(a) Subsection (g) of the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) (18 U.S.C. § 3006A(g)), as amended, is intended to provide an option for the establishment of a public defender organization or community defender organization. A district, or part of a district in which at least 200 persons annually require the appointment of counsel, may establish a defender organization. Two adjacent districts or parts of districts may aggregate the number of persons required to be represented to establish eligibility.

(b) If an eligible court desires to provide for representation by a public defender organization or a community defender organization as provided under 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(g), then 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a) of the CJA applies. The CJA directs each district court to place in operation its own plan for furnishing representation under the terms of the CJA, after the approval of the plan by the judicial council of the circuit court of appeals and under rules and regulations established by the Judicial Conference of the United States.

(c) It is intended that all provisions of the CJA be administered efficiently and economically. 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(g) is intended to provide an option in the plan for the establishment of a public defender organization or community defender organization. Only one such organization should be approved for any district or part of a district in the absence of a clearly demonstrated showing of the need and feasibility of more than one such organization. It is the sense of the Judicial Conference that competitive organizations in the area should be avoided. The statute prohibits the authorization of more than one federal public defender organization within a single judicial district.

§ 410.20 Judicial Conference Policy

The Judicial Conference has recommended that the CJA be amended to:

(a) Eliminate the requirement that a district receive at least 200 CJA appointments annually in order to qualify for the establishment of a federal public defender organization or a community defender organization; and

(b) Require that a federal public defender organization or community defender organization be established in all judicial districts, or combination of districts, where:

  • such an organization would be cost effective;
  • more than a specified number of appointments is made each year; or
  • the interests of effective representation otherwise require establishment of such an office.

See: JCUS-MAR 93, p. 23; JCUS-SEP 95, p. 25.

Chapter Appendices

Appendix 4A: Community Defender Organization: Grant and Conditions (pdf)(word)(wp)
Appendix 4B: Model Code of Conduct for Federal Community Defender Employees (pdf)(word)(wp)

Last substantive revision (Transmittal 07-002) January 21, 2011
Last revised (minor technical changes) December 18, 2014