Chapter 1, § 110: Defender Services Program
Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol 7 Defender Services, Part A Guidelines for Administering the CJA and Related Statutes, Chapter 1: Overview
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.
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.
(a) The Defender Services program operates under the statutory authority of the CJA and related statutes.
- Adequate Representation of Defendants (18 U.S.C. § 3006A)
- Counsel and Witnesses in Capital Cases (18 U.S.C. § 3005)
- Counsel for Financially Unable Defendants (18 U.S.C. § 3599)
- General Rules for Civil Forfeiture Proceedings (18 U.S.C. § 983(b))
(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. Guide, Volume 7A is a compendium of Conference policy adopted under that authority.
Last revised (Transmittal 07-014) January 5, 2022