In 1964, the Criminal Justice Act was enacted to establish a comprehensive system for appointing and compensating lawyers to represent defendants financially unable to retain counsel in federal criminal proceedings. The CJA authorized reimbursement of reasonable out-of-pocket expenses and payment of expert and investigative services necessary for an adequate defense. Federal defender organizations, together with the more than 10,000 private “panel attorneys” who accept CJA assignments annually, represent the vast majority of individuals who are prosecuted in our nation’s federal courts.
In the District of Maryland, the U.S. District Court’s CJA Coordinating Attorney, Maureen Essex, assigns cases to the panel. Information on becoming a member of the panel is available at the Court’s website. Applications to join the panel are available at the Court’s website or through contacting Ms. Essex.
The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland holds a half-day bi-annual training session in May and November of each year. The Office also organizes periodic training for the panel throughout the year. Upcoming trainings and materials from past and future trainings are available to panel members in the Training section of this website. Materials from trainings are password protected and only available to current members of our CJA panel.