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Northern District of Texas

Barbara M.G. Lynn, Chief Judge
Karen Mitchell, Clerk of Court

Chapter XII. Death Penalty Voucher Instructions

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  1. Forms

    The following forms (“vouchers”) must be used to request payment for services/expenses in death penalty proceedings:

    CJA-30 Court Appointed Counsel
    CJA-31 Expert and Other Services
    CJA-24 Transcripts and Transcript Copies

  2. Process

    The CJA 30 (or CJA 31) voucher must be used to report only one stage of the proceeding. Separate interim vouchers must be filed at each stage of the proceedings. After filing the first CJA 30 (or CJA 31) voucher, the pre-printed numbers should be stricken on subsequent vouchers and the number of the first CJA 30 (or CJA 31) should be inserted. On the CJA 30 and CJA 31 forms, services are to be reported according to the following stages of proceedings:

    1. Capital Prosecution
      • Pre-Trial
      • Trial
      • Sentencing
      • Other Post Trial
      • Appeal
      • Petition for Supreme Court Writ of Certiorari
    2. Death Penalty Habeas Corpus
      • Habeas Petition
      •  Evidentiary Hearing
      • Dispositive Motions
      • Appeal
      • Petition for Supreme Court Writ of Certiorari
    3. Other Proceedings
      • State Clemency
      • Stay of Execution
      • Appeal of Denial of Stay
      • Petition for Writ of Certiorari to Supreme Court Regarding Denial of Stay
      • Other
  3. Payment of Attorney Fees

    Hours of services should be reported during the stage in which they were performed, even if the work product will be used at a later stage. A new voucher number should be obtained when a new appointment is made upon appeal, remand, or other change in jurisdiction.

    In federal capital prosecutions under Title 18 or Title 21 of the United States Code, any request for attorney fees in excess of $100,000* at the district court level is presumptively excessive. In death penalty habeas corpus cases brought into federal court under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 or 28 U.S.C. § 2255, any request for attorney fees in excess of $35,000* at the district court level is presumptively excessive. *Fees submitted by all attorneys appointed in the case are considered in calculating this amount.

    Compensation is paid to attorneys per hour for in-court and out-of-court time. Please click here to view the current compensation rates. Requests for compensation in excess of the current rates are considered presumptively excessive.

    IMPORTANT: Any attorney’s fee request that is presumptively excessive, either because of the hourly rate or the total amount requested as defined above, must be justified by the requesting attorney in a written submission filed with the presiding judicial officer in district court. The judge receiving the request for excess payment will forward the request to the chief judge of the circuit, or designee, with a brief statement recommending approval or denial of the request. The amount of fees to be awarded to the attorney shall be determined by the chief judge of the circuit or his/her designee.

  4. Payment of Expenses

    All services and expenses claimed on the CJA 30 (or CJA 31) voucher must be listed on the attached worksheets. Enter actual time spent in hours and tenths of hours. Preparation of worksheets is not an allowable expense.

    1. Allowable Expenses
      • Photocopies
      • Faxes
      • Computer Aided Legal Research
      • Certified Mail
      • Travel/Meals
      • Telephone Calls
    2. Non-Allowable Expenses
      • General Office Overhead
      • Secretarial Services
      • Printing of Briefs
      • Fact Witness Fees
      • Subscriptions to Publications
      • Personal Expenses of Petitioner/Defendant
    3. Copy Charges
      • The reimbursement per page for “in-house” copies is $.15. You must specify the date, number of pages, and total (e.g., 3 pages @ $.15 = $.45) on the worksheet and the voucher.
      • For copies otherwise obtained, the cost may not exceed $.25 per page. The claim must also be itemized as described above. A receipt must be provided if the cost per page exceeds $.15.
    4. Mileage Rate
      • Please click here to view the current mileage rate.
    5. Documentation Required
      • For any item over $50.00, supporting documentation (a receipt, copy of a canceled check, etc.) must be provided. If computer aided legal research was conducted, please provide a copy of the actual bill and a brief statement of subject matter of the research.
  5. Investigative or Expert Services

    Upon finding that investigative, expert, or other services are reasonably necessary for the representation of the defendant, the court may authorize the defendant’s attorneys to obtain such services. Fees and expenses paid for investigative, expert, or other reasonably necessary services must not exceed $7,500 in any case, unless payment in excess of that limit is certified as necessary by the court.


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