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Chapter 6, § 630: Compensation of Appointed Counsel in Capital Cases

Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol 7 Defender Services, Part A Guidelines for Administering the CJA and Related Statutes, Chapter 6: Federal Death Penalty and Capital Habeas Corpus Representations

§ 630.10 Hourly Rates and Inapplicability of Compensation Maximums
§ 630.20 Adequate Compensation of Counsel
§ 630.30 Death Eligible Cases Where Death Penalty Is Not Sought
§ 630.40 Interim Payments to Counsel
§ 630.50 Timely Review of Vouchers
§ 630.60 Forms

§ 630 Compensation of Appointed Counsel in Capital Cases

§ 630.10 Hourly Rates and Inapplicability of Compensation Maximums

§ 630.10.10 Hourly Rates

Under 21 U.S.C. § 848(q)(10)(A), recodified in 18 U.S.C. § 3599(g)(1), the presiding judicial officer will set the hourly compensation at a rate not to exceed the following amounts, for appointed counsel in federal death penalty cases and federal capital habeas corpus proceedings commenced, and appellate proceedings in which an appeal was perfected, on or after April 24,1996:

§ 630.10.10(a) Capital Hourly Rates
If services were performed between...

The hourly rate maximum is...

05/05/2017 to present $185
01/01/2016 through 05/04/2017 $183
01/01/2015 through 12/31/2015 $181
03/01/2014 through 12/31/2014 $180
09/01/2013 through 02/28/2014 $163
01/01/2010 through 08/31/2013 $178
03/11/2009 through 12/31/2009 $175
01/01/2008 through 03/10/2009 $170
05/20/2007 through 12/31/2007 $166
01/01/2006 through 05/19/2007 $163
02/01/2005 through 12/31/2005 $160


(b) Annual Increase in Hourly Rate Maximum

(1) Under 18 U.S.C. § 3599(g)(1), the Judicial Conference is authorized to increase annually the hourly rate maximum by an amount not to exceed the federal pay comparability raises given to federal employees.

(2) The Judicial Conference has determined that the hourly rate maximum will be adjusted automatically each year according to any federal pay comparability adjustment, contingent upon the availability of sufficient funds. See: JCUS-MAR 02, pp. 13-14.

(3) Newly established rates will apply with respect to services performed on or after their effective dates.

§ 630.10.20 Inapplicability of Compensation Maximums

There is neither a statutory case compensation maximum for appointed counsel nor provision for review and approval by the chief judge of the circuit of the case compensation amount in capital cases.

§ 630.20 Adequate Compensation of Counsel

In the interest of justice and judicial and fiscal economy, and in furtherance of relevant statutory provisions regarding qualifications of counsel in capital cases (see: Guide, Vol 7A, § 620.60), presiding judicial officers are urged to compensate counsel at a rate and in an amount sufficient to cover appointed counsel's general office overhead and to ensure adequate compensation for representation provided.

§ 630.30 Death Eligible Cases Where Death Penalty Is Not Sought

§ 630.30.10 General Considerations

If, following the appointment of counsel in a case in which a defendant was charged with an offense that may be punishable by death, it is determined that the death penalty will not be sought, the court should consider the questions of the number of counsel and the rate of compensation needed for the duration of the proceeding.

§ 630.30.20 Number of Counsel

(a) The court should, absent extenuating circumstances, make an appropriate reduction in the number of counsel.

(b) In deciding whether there are extenuating circumstances, the court should consider the following factors:

(1) the need to avoid disruption of the proceedings;

(2) whether the decision not to seek the death penalty occurred late in the litigation;

(3) whether the case is unusually complex; and

(4) any other factors that would interfere with the need to ensure effective representation of the defendant.

§ 630.30.30 Compensation Rate

(a) The court should, absent extenuating circumstances, reduce the compensation rate.

(b) In determining whether there are extenuating circumstances, the court should consider the following factors:

(1) the extent to which this representation precludes counsel from taking other work;

(2) the commitment of time and resources counsel has made and will continue to make in the case; and

(3) the need to compensate appointed counsel fairly.

(c) Any reduction in the compensation rate will apply prospectively only.

§ 630.40 Interim Payments to Counsel

It is urged that the court permit interim payment of compensation in capital cases. For information on interim payments to counsel in death penalty cases, see: § 230.73.20 and Appx 2D (Procedures for Interim Payments to Counsel in Death Penalty Cases).

§ 630.50 Timely Review of Vouchers

Absent extraordinary circumstances, judges should act upon panel attorney compensation claims within 30 days of submission.

§ 630.60 Forms

Claims for compensation and reimbursement of expenses for attorneys furnishing services in death penalty proceedings should be submitted on Form CJA 30 (Death Penalty Proceedings: Appointment of and Authority to Pay Court Appointed Counsel).

Chapter Appendices

Appx 6A: Recommendations Concerning the Cost and Quality of Defense Representation (Updated Spencer Report, September 2010) (pdf)

Last substantive revision (Transmittal 07-008) February 28, 2014
Last revised (updated hourly rates) May 17, 2017