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Voucher Justification: The Devil is in the Details…. and the Magic Words! Thomas P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender/EDNC Donna A. Stiles, Panel Administrator/EDNC.

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Presentation on theme: "Voucher Justification: The Devil is in the Details…. and the Magic Words! Thomas P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender/EDNC Donna A. Stiles, Panel Administrator/EDNC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Voucher Justification: The Devil is in the Details…. and the Magic Words! Thomas P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender/EDNC Donna A. Stiles, Panel Administrator/EDNC

2 Voucher Process Overview: UNDER Statutory Maximum Case assigned, voucher produced and sent to Clerk’s Office for signature, voucher sent to attorney of record. Voucher sits in the attorney’s file until the end of the attorney’s involvement in the case. Voucher is completed and sent to the FPD Office with the necessary time sheets and supporting documentation. Voucher is reviewed for technical and mathematical accuracy. Voucher is reviewed for reasonableness. Voucher is sent to the presiding Judge for review and approval. Approved voucher is sent to the Clerk’s Office where it is processed and marked for payment. A check is cut and sent to the attorney!

3 Voucher Process Overview: OVER Statutory Maximum Case assigned, voucher produced and sent to Clerk’s Office for signature, voucher sent to attorney of record. Voucher sits in the attorney’s file until the end of the attorney’s involvement in the case. Voucher is completed and sent to the FPD Office with the necessary time sheets and supporting documentation – including a detailed justification letter and, in most cases,a CJA 26 Form. Voucher is reviewed for technical and mathematical accuracy. Voucher is reviewed for reasonableness and a memo is included to give additional support for recommendation of payment in excess of the statutory maximum. Voucher is sent to the presiding Judge for review and approval. An additional letter is included from the District Court Judge giving additional support for recommendation of payment in excess of the statutory maximum. Voucher is sent to the Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit for approval. Approved voucher is sent to the Clerk’s Office where it is processed and marked for payment. A check is cut and sent to the attorney!

4 Is Your Fee Under or Over the Statutory Maximum? In-Court Fee + Out-of-Court Fee = Fee Total + Reasonable Expenses = Voucher Total

5 CJA 20 Vouchers Representation TypeStatutory Fee MaximumWhat You Need to Submit Target letter, Witness, Rule 35, Supervised Release Revocation, etc. Fee Amounts Up to $1,800 for In-Court and Out-of-Court Fee total, exclusive of reasonable expenses. - Original GREEN CJA 20 voucher, signed by the Clerk of Court in Box 13; - In-Court, Out-of-Court, and Expense Worksheets; - Rate Change Worksheet (if necessary); and - Supporting Documentation as necessary (i.e. Receipts) Fee Amounts Over $1,800, exclusive of reasonable expenses. - All of the above; plus - CJA 26 Form and - - Justification Letter [ addressed to the Judge, but sent with your voucher package to the FPD Office ].

6 CJA 20 Vouchers (continued) Representation TypeStatutory Fee MaximumWhat You Need to Submit Plea, Trial, Re-Trial, Motions Attacking Sentence (Evidentiary Hearing), etc. Fee Amounts Up to $8,600 for In-Court and Out-of-Court Fee total, exclusive of reasonable expenses. - Original GREEN CJA 20 voucher, signed by the Clerk of Court in Box 13; - In-Court, Out-of-Court, and Expense Worksheets; - Rate Change Worksheet (if necessary); and - Supporting Documentation as necessary (i.e. Receipts) Fee Amounts Over $8,600, exclusive of reasonable expenses. - All of the above; plus - CJA 26 Form and - - Justification Letter [ addressed to the Judge, but sent with your voucher package to the FPD Office ].

7 Did you know? Judges really don’t like surprises. If you find during that course of your representation that your voucher is likely to exceed the statutory maximum prior to the completion of the case, you should write a letter to the judge giving them a “heads up.” Include a copy of this letter in your voucher package when you submit it to the FPD Office at the end of the case.

8 Keep Up With The Rates Be mindful of the current hourly rates and mileage rates – they have changed several times in the last year. We send an , along with updated worksheets, every time the rates change. If your staff prepares your vouchers, please forward this information, and the forms, to them.

9 Recent Changes to Hourly Fee and Mileage Rates DatesRates per Hour 1/1/06 to 5/19/07 $92 5/20/07 to 12/31/07 $94 1/1/08 to 3/10/09 $100 3/11/09 to date $110 DatesRates per Mile 2/1/07 to 3/18/08 $.485 3/19/08 to 7/31/08 $.505 8/1/08 to 1/31/09 $.585 2/1/09 to date $.55

10 Recent Changes to Statutory Maximums By Case Type DatesFelonyMisdemeanorOther On or Before 10/12/08 $7,000$2,000$1,200 10/13/08 to 3/10/09 $7,800$2,200$1,7.00 3/11/09 to date$8.600$2,400$1,800

11 A Word (or 12) About Multi- Attorney Representations… FACT: When more than one panel attorney is involved in the representation of a defendant, there will be more than one voucher submitted. FACT: We cannot submit any voucher in the case to the Judge until we have received all the vouchers for the case…generally. FACT: Being the first or second (or third) attorney involved in one of these cases is a major inconvenience. FACT: Multiple attorney cases are a major headache for us, too!

12 Tips for Multiple Attorney Cases Submit your voucher as soon as your work in the case is completed, whether you’re the first, the second or the last panel attorney. Assume ( I know…I don’t like that word either ) the combined total of all vouchers submitted in the case will exceed the statutory maximum. Even if your voucher does not exceed the limit, you should consider including a letter explaining your work in the case. This will save you the hassle of having to submit a letter long after you’ve closed your file. Patience is a virtue, but enough is enough. If each attorney involved in multiple attorney cases would submit their voucher, a letter, the worksheets, any supporting documentation, use the correct hourly and mileage rates for the dates of service and make sure their math is correct, the process would move more quickly.

13 Justification Letters The Magic Words: The case was extended; and/or The case was complex; and Excess payment is necessary to provide fair compensation.

14 B. (3) Waiving Case Compensation Maximums. Payments in excess of CJA compensation maximums may be made to provide fair compensation in cases involving extended or complex representation when so certified by the court or United States magistrate judge and approved by the chief judge of the circuit…. In determining if an excess payment is warranted, the court or United States magistrate judge and the chief judge of the circuit … should make a threshold determination as to whether the case is either extended or complex. If the legal or factual issues in a case are unusual, thus requiring the expenditure of more time, skill and effort by the lawyer than would normally be required in an average case, the case is "complex." If more time is reasonably required for total processing than the average case, including pre-trial and post-trial hearings, the case is "extended." After establishing that a case is extended or complex, the approving judicial officer should determine if excess payment is necessary to provide fair compensation. The following criteria, among others, may be useful in this regard: responsibilities involved measured by the magnitude and importance of the case; manner in which duties were performed; knowledge, skill, efficiency, professionalism, and judgment required of and used by counsel; nature of counsel's practice and injury thereto; any extraordinary pressure of time or other factors under which services were rendered; and any other circumstances relevant and material to a determination of a fair and reasonable fee. According to the Guide to Judiciary Policies and Procedures, Volume VII, Chapter 2, Section 2.22(B)3 (emphasis added):

15 According to the Guide to Judiciary Policies and Procedures, Volume VII, Chapter 2, Section 2.22(C)2 (emphasis added): C. (2) Claim for More than the Case Compensation Maximum. In any case in which the total compensation claimed is in excess of the statutory case compensation maximum, counsel shall submit with the voucher a detailed memorandum supporting and justifying counsel's claim that the representation given was in an extended or complex case, and that the excess payment is necessary to provide fair compensation. Upon preliminary approval of such claim by the presiding judicial officer, the court should furnish to the chief judge of the circuit a memorandum containing its recommendation and a detailed statement of reasons.

16 Finally, Remember… In Real Estate it’s… LOCATION

17 In Voucher Justification it’s… DETAILS Details Details Details Details

18 Questions:  Web:  Thomas P. McNamara:  Donna A. Stiles: , or


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