Divisional CJA Panel Committee
Membership Qualifications and Categories
Based on the recommendation of the San Antonio Divisional CJA Panel Committee, attorneys are placed in one or more of the panel categories listed below:
General felony category
Attorneys appointed to this panel category will handle felony matters, prisoner transfer treaty cases, and extradition cases. The qualifications for members of the general felony panel category are listed below. In the discretion of the Divisional CJA Panel Committee, significant non-trial or state-court trial experience may be substituted.
Five years or more experience in state or federal criminal practice, or three years experience as an Assistant United States Attorney or an Assistant Federal Public Defender.
Five felony trials as lead or co-counsel, at least three of which were federal felony jury trials. For purposes of this requirement, an applicant is considered to have had a jury trial in any case in which a jury was empaneled and sworn, or jeopardy otherwise attached. An applicant who has tried fewer than three federal criminal jury trials may substitute substantial participation in the mentoring program or an equivalent program approved by the Divisional CJA Panel Committee.
The complex-case panel category is comprised of attorneys qualified for the general felony category who additionally have experience or expertise in complex or multi-defendant criminal cases. Counsel may be appointed from this category in Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) and Continuing Criminal Enterprise (“CCE”) cases, and in cases determined by the Court to be unusual or complex. Appointment of an attorney from the complex-case panel category does not constitute a finding under the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(8)(B)(ii).
Attorneys assigned to the appellate panel category will handle appeals to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. An attorney classified in this panel category must have appellate practice experience comparable to the trial experience required for the general felony panel category.
Non-capital habeas category
Attorneys assigned to the non-capital habeas panel category will handle noncapital habeas corpus cases under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241, 2254, and 2255. An attorney classified in this panel category must have habeas practice experience comparable to the trial experience required for the general felony panel category.
Attorneys assigned to the auxiliary panel category will provide representation in misdemeanor or petty-offense cases, and other non-complex cases.
Material witness category
Attorneys assigned to the material witness panel category will handle representation of material witnesses detained under 18 U.S.C. § 3144. Fluency in Spanish is required.
The Divisional CJA Panel Committee may from time to time recommend attorneys for reclassification if appropriate. Reclassification may be initiated at the request of an attorney. The Committee may also from time to time make recommendations to the Court as to the desired size of each panel category, with the goal of matching resources to demand so that each member of a panel category may be appointed in sufficient cases per year to remain proficient in federal criminal practice.
Applying for Panel Membership and Term Renewals
Initial Application for San Antonio Division Only
Please complete the San Antonio CJA Panel Application and return it the address below if you are interested in criminal appointments in San Antonio.
Attn: CJA Panel Committee
c/o Wendy Branham, Judicial Assistant
655 E. César E. Chávez Boulevard
San Antonio, TX 78206-1100
Phone: (210) 472-6363
Term Renewal Questionnaire
Membership on the San Antonio Division CJA Panel is typically for a three-year term, renewable upon request. The San Antonio CJA Panel Term Renewal Questionnaire is available below:
Serving as a Mentor
As the request of the Divisional CJA Panel Committee, a panel member may serve as a mentor to an applicant for the panel who does not meet the experience requirements. Mentors are expected to agree to reasonable mentoring requests, unless a compelling reason excuses participation in a particular case. Hours spent serving as a mentor may qualify towards annual CJA panel CLE requirements.
- Mentor Responsibilities
Mentors will allow their mentees to participate in as many aspects of a federal criminal case as possible, such as client conferences, strategy determination, motion practice, trial preparation, and court appearances.
Once representation in the mentoring case has concluded, the mentor will email a report to the Divisional CJA Panel Committee regarding their mentee’s performance. This report will be used by the committee for their evaluation of the mentee for panel placement.
- Mentee Responsibilities
It is the mentee’s responsibility to contact the mentor to arrange for participation in the case, and to monitor, and be present for, all court settings with the mentor, unless otherwise agreed to by the mentor.
- Mentee Reimbursement
If a mentor wishes to seek CJA reimbursement for the mentee’s work on the case, the mentor must submit a CJA Form 21. Services claimed by the mentee cannot duplicate services that the mentor provided. The maximum amount a mentee can claim is $1600, at a rate of no more than $75 per hour. More information is available in the Amended Order Regarding the Reimbursement of Attorneys in the CJA Panel Mentoring Program.
- Mentor Responsibilities