CJA Service Provider Policies & Rates

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Requesting Funding for a Service Provider

Funding for service providers and experts must be requested before the service provider or expert begins working on the case. Requests for funding must be made online by submitting an “AUTH” in the eVoucher system and uploading the required supporting documentation. To request funding for an investigator, a paralegal, an expert, or associate counsel, the attached supporting documentation must include the appropriate CACD AUTH Form (CJA-01, CJA-02, CJA-03, or CJA-04) and an explanation of why the requested services are necessary for adequate representation and why compensation in the amount requested is necessary to provide fair compensation for those services under the CJA as required by 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a) and (e)(1) and (3) and the Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol.7, §§ 310.10.10 & 310.20.20. If authorization is not requested in advance, express approval from the presiding judge must be obtained before any nunc pro tunc payments will be processed. Nunc pro tunc funding requests should be emailed to the CJA Supervising Attorney at Lauren_Eskenazi-Ihrig@cacd.uscourts.gov, who will forward the request to the presiding judge for consideration.

Funding requests made per each category of service provider or expert that exceed the statutory maximum, currently $2,700 in non-capital cases, must be approved by the Ninth Circuit. Please keep in mind that this additional review can take two weeks or more depending on the nature of the request. Therefore, it is especially important that funding requests requiring Ninth Circuit review are made well before the services are needed.

Engagement Letter

CJA lawyers are encouraged to send each approved service provider and expert an engagement letter after funding has been approved. This letter should: (1) confirm the amount and rate approved by the Court; (2) advise that contemporary time records must be maintained and are subject to audit upon the Court’s request; and (3) advise that funding approval does not guarantee payment, as the Court may reduce payment for mathematical errors, non-compliance with the Guide to Judiciary Policy, unreasonable work performed, or excessive billing. A sample engagement letter for CJA cases is available below on this webpage.

Paying Service Providers and Experts

Once funding is authorized, the attorney must create a CJA-21 or CJA-31 in eVoucher to allow the service provider, expert, or interpreter to bill. Each time the service provider, expert, or interpreter submits a voucher for payment (CJA-21/31) in eVoucher, the attorney must review the "Defendant Detail Budget Report" to determine the amount of remaining funds available. If additional work is required, the attorney must create another CJA-21/31 to allow the service provider, expert, or interpreter to submit a supplemental voucher. If funds are low, submit a supplemental AUTH for additional funding to avoid nunc pro tunc funding issues. When submitting supplemental funding requests, make sure to link the supplemental AUTH to the initial AUTH by selecting “Request Additional Funds” under “Authorization Type Selection.” Do not select “Create New Authorization” when seeking supplemental funding.

Guide to Creating an AUTH in eVoucher

Timeliness Rules

Effective February 1, 2022, the following timeliness rules will apply to service providers and experts who work on CJA cases in the Central District of California:

INTERIM BILLING. Monthly billing is preferred, but service providers and experts must submit their interim billing in eVoucher no more than six months from the date of the first service date on their voucher. If a voucher is submitted after this six-month period, the service provider or expert must concurrently submit a letter to the CJA Supervising Attorney explaining good cause for the delay. The letter may be forwarded to the Chair of the CJA Committee for consideration.

FINAL BILLING. Service providers and experts must submit their final voucher in a case within 90 days from the earlier of the following dates: (1) final disposition of the case, frequently the date of the Judgment and Commitment; or (2) the date a service provider or expert's work has concluded. If a final voucher is submitted after this 90-day period, the service provider or expert must concurrently submit a letter to the Chair of the CJA Committee explaining good cause for the delay.

The press of business is not a valid reason for the delayed submission of interim or final vouchers.

In-Court Assistance from Service Providers

All in-court assistance from service providers require approval from the presiding judge. This can be sought during a hearing before the presiding judge or by emailing the CJA Supervising Attorney at Lauren_Eskenazi-Ihrig@cacd.uscourts.gov


(effective July 1, 2020)

Service Provider/Expert Hourly Rate Type of Tasks
Paralegal $65 All Tasks Performed & Travel Time
$75 Tasks Requiring Use of the Paralegal’s Foreign Language Skill
Paralegal Lawyer $75 All Tasks Performed & Travel Time
$85 Tasks Requiring Use of the Paralegal Lawyer’s Foreign Language Skill (effective 10/21/2022)
Investigator $55

Tasks Involving Record Collection & Related Travel Time

$75 Routine Tasks & Travel Time

Tasks Requiring Specialized Skills (a high level of investigative expertise relevant to the type of crime alleged or other special skills the case requires)


Tasks Requiring Use of the Investigator’s Foreign Language Skill

Capital Mitigation Specialist $125 All Tasks Performed & Travel Time
Capital Mitigation Specialist Proficient in a Foreign Language $150 Only for tasks requiring foreign language skills
Associate Counsel $90-$125 Counsel may request CJA funding for associate counsel by submitting an AUTH in eVoucher; however, these requests will be forwarded to the presiding judge for approval. Per the Court's Associate Counsel Policy, counsel must provide in the AUTH: (1) a list of discrete tasks to be performed by associate counsel that will not be duplicated by lead counsel; (2) a recent writing sample from associate counsel; (3) associate counsel’s resume; and (4) the appropriate hourly rate, as determined by the Associate Counsel Policy . Associate counsel must be a member in good standing of the California State Bar, and any application for funding must include associate counsel’s bar number. If the requested associate counsel does not meet the criteria set forth in the Court's Associate Counsel Policy, counsel may seek special approval from the CJA Committee Chair in exceptional circumstances.
Experts Rates Set Individually in Each Case within Ranges Approved by the Ninth Circuit (see below) All Tasks Performed Except for Travel Time (which must be negotiated within the terms set forth by the Travel Time Policy summarized on the CACD CJA-02 Expert AUTH Form)


Interpreter and translation rates

No form is required for interpreter funding requests. Please submit a brief statement addressing why interpretation is needed in your case and upload it to an AUTH in eVoucher.

(effective January 31, 2022)

Other Service Provider Categories
Accident Reconstruction $150 – $200  
Accountant $125 – $275  
Accounting Staff (non-CPA) $65 e.g., reviewing/summarizing/preparing financial records
Attorney Expert – Capital CJA Hourly Rate  
Attorney Expert – Non-Capital CJA Hourly Rate e.g., immigration law expert
Audio, Video, Photo Forensic Analyst $125 – $200  
Audio, Video, Photo Technician $25 – $100

e.g., creating video exhibits, taking or enlarging photos, enhancing audio or video recordings, etc.

Ballistics/Firearms Expert $150 – $300  

Canine Expert

$125 – $200  

Chemist/Toxicologist (B.S. or Ph.D.)

$150 – $275  

Chemist/Toxicologist (M.D.)

$275 – $400  

Computer/Cellphone/Cellular Tower Forensic Analyst

$150 – $250  

Crime Scene/Police Practices/Use-of-Force Expert

$150 – $250  

DNA Expert (B.S. or Ph.D.)

$150 – $250  

Fingerprint Analyst

$150 – $250  

Gang Expert

$150 – $200  

Handwriting Analyst

$100 – $250  

Interpreter/Translator for in- person meetings

$30 – $80

Range accommodates both certified and non-certified providers. Half-day rate is $226 for certified and $111 for non-certified.

Jury Consultant

$150 – $225  

Law Student

$20 – $35  

Legal Analyst/Consultant (Non-Attorney)

$75 – $100

e.g., Sentencing Guidelines consultant.

Medical – Other (M.D. or D.O.)

$275 – $400  

Mitigation Specialist – Non-capital Cases

$75 – $100

Special skills rate ($95-$120) is for case-needed foreign language fluency or specialized mental health expertise.

Neurologist or Neuropsychiatrist (M.D.)

$275 – $400  

Neuropsychologist (Ph.D.)

$225 – $375  

Nurse (L.P.N. or R.N.)

$100 – $125  

Nurse (M.S.N. or D.N.P.)

$150 – $300

Including S.A.N.E. certified.

Pathologist/Medical Examiner

$275 – $400  

Ph.D – Other

$150 – $300  


$100 – $250

Polygraph testing typically billed at a flat rate between $350 and $1,000.

Psychiatrist (M.D.)

$275 – $400  

Psychologist (Ph.D.)

$150 – $300