CJA Resources

This page is meant to provide useful information for attorneys who are members (or who are interested in becoming members) of the Criminal Justice Act panel (“CJA panel”).

Basic Information

The CJA panel consists of attorneys who are authorized to be appointed to represent indigent defendants in federal criminal cases in which the Federal Defender office has a conflict. The Eastern and Southern Districts of New York have separate panels with different procedures for becoming members. The districts also have separate lists of attorneys for the two courthouses in each district (Brooklyn and Cental Islip in the EDNY, and Manhattan and White Plains in the SDNY).

The “CJA Plan” for each district spells out the various rules relating to service on the CJA panel. Those rules cover, among others, the process for selection of panel attorneys, the appointment of CJA counsel in individual cases, compensation of CJA counsel, and the use of experts and other services in CJA cases.

The CJA plans and additional information about applying to the panels can be found at the websites of the two districts.

For the EDNY, go to: https://www.nyed.uscourts.gov/criminal-justice-act-info.

For the SDNY, go to: http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/cja.php

Federal Defender Sponsored Training Programs

Click here to obtain fillable CLE attendance verification and evaluation forms.

Compassionate Release: Litigation and Strategy Updates
November 16, 2020

For session presentation, click here.

Additional Materials:
US v. Avery - Opinion and Order
US v. Brooker - 2nd Circuit Decision
US v. Brooker - Government Petition for Rehearing
US v. Haynes
US v. Marks

Recent Developments in Brady
October 26, 2020

Training Materials:

Challenging and Limiting Firearms Pattern Evidence
September 14, 2020

For the session presentation, click here.

Additional Training Materials:
Mis(use) of scientific measurements in forensic science
Bronx Firearms Decision

Bonus: MCC Calls Using Skedda

Litigating DNA Evidence
August 24, 2020

For the session presentation, click here.

Defund the Police: An Examination of the Movement
July 20, 2020

For the session presentation, click here.

Training Materials:

Communities United for Police Reform
"How Do the Police Actually Spend Their Time?" New York Times, June 19, 2020
The Path Forward: How to Defund the NYPD, Invest in Communities & Make New York Safer

Confession Contamination with Professor Brandon L. Garrett
July 6, 2020

For the session presentation, click here.

Training Materials:
Contaminated Confessions Revisited
Police-Induced Confessions: Risk Factors and Recommendations

Ethics of Non-Disclosure Agreements and Protective Orders
June 22, 2020

For the session presentation, click here.

A Conversation on Racial Injustice: What Are You Seeing & What Can You Do?
June 15, 2020

Training Materials:

  1. Anti-Racist Reading Lists
    Books On Anti-Racism You Can Read Right Now
    An Anti-Racist Syllabus
    The Anti-Racist Reading List
  2. Know Your Rights Resources
    What are your rights? How can you exercise them? What can you do when they are violated?
    Know Your Rights While Demanding Justice for George Floyd
    How Do You Protect Your Privacy At A Protest?
  3. Examples of Lawsuits Challenging Police Action Against Protesters
    Black Lives Matter, et al. v. Trump, et al
    Goyette v. City of Minneapolis, et al.
    Black Lives Matter v. City of Seattle

Client-Centered Lawyering in the Time of Corona: Taking Care of Yourself While Supporting Your Clients
June 1, 2020

Training Materials
Public Defense during COVID: Redefining productivity & sustainable practices
Restorative Practices in Action
Mindfulness and Managing Our Own Stress
Motivational Interviewing: Techniques for Supporting our Clients through COVID-19
Reentry Resources

COVID-19 and the Speedy Trial Act
May 18, 2020

For the session presentation, click here.

Training Materials:
Preliminary Hearing Litigation - Ebanks, EDNY
Preliminary Hearing Litigation - Elms, D. Nev.
CARES Act and Remote Proceedings - Briefing for and against remote proceedings
Right to Counsel Compels Release - Chandler briefing and Order

Compassionate Release and COVID-19
May 11, 202

For the session presentation, click here.

Training Materials:

Breyer Funez Osorto Order
BOP Grivance Form
CR and Mental Health
CR Examples Beyond COVID
Getting Medical Records

You Got Your Client Out! Now, How Do You Actually Get Your Client Out?
May 4, 2020

For the session presentation, click here.

Training Materials:
Letter requesting order for BOP records
Order granting release of medical records
MCC Touhy Letter
MDC Touhy Letter
COVID-19 SDNY Probation intake procedures (in Spanish)
Instructions for individuals being released directly from jail (in Spanish)
DOJ Certification of Identity
HIPPA form

For all training materials in a single pdf, click here.

PATTERN in Practice: Risk Assessment Tools Following the First Step Act
November 22, 2019

For detailed agenda, click here.

Training materials

Everything You Need to Know About the Sentencing Guidelines, 2019 Edition
June 14, 2019

For detailed agenda, click here.

Training materials:
State and Federal Custody Slides
State and Federal Custody Problems
Categorical Approach Problems

Strategies for Litigating Fraud Cases
May 3, 2019

For detailed agenda, click here.

Training materials:
White Collar Fraud: The Life Cycle of an Investigation
Social Media and Online Fraud Investigations
Trains, Planes and Automobiles: Forfeiture Fundamentals, Settlement Issues and Recent Developments

Representing Gang-Involved Individuals: Improving Client Relationships and Strengthening Legal Challenges (with bonus coverage of the First Step Act)
January 11, 2019

For a detailed agenda, click here.

Training materials:
The Social is Complex: Gang Stereotypes and Gang Realities
Legal Challenges to the Use of Prior Convictions as Predicates and Sentencing Enhancements
Defending Fairly and Effectively: Addressing Racial Anxiety and Stereotype Threat [Additional Materials]
First Impressions of the First Step Act
Preventing and Challenging an Enhanced Sentence Under Section 851
Compassionate Release Basics for Federal Defenders

Defending Your Case: A Multi-Pronged Approach
October 12, 2018

Sometimes the best defense is a multi-pronged offense. In this program we will focus on two different defense strategies: Identifying and reducing racial bias in mental health evaluations and suppressing or limiting evidence seized from electronic devices.

For training materials on Race, Cultural Bias, and Psychiatric Diagnosis, click here
For training materials on Challenging Electronic Device Searches, click here

To Know Them Is to Love Them: Up Close with the Sentencing Guidelines
June 12, 2018

For a detailed agenda and training materials, click here

Understanding Forensic DNA Evidence in Criminal Cases
March 15, 2018

For a detailed agenda and training materials, click here

Fighting Juvenile Transfers: From Legal Challenges to Mitigation Presentation
September 27, 2017

For a detailed agenda and training materials, click here
For additional materials, click here

Alternatives to Incarceration: POP, SOS and STAR Courts
July 26, 2017

For a detailed agenda and training materials, click here

Sentencing Guidelines
June 15, 2017

Followed by an update on Johnson and crimes of violence.

For a detailed agenda and training materials, click here

Recognizing and Confronting Bias: A Defender's Guide
May 12, 2017

Roughly three-quarters of federal defendants in our districts are people of color. Regardless of our own race, we all carry biases that may affect our representation. In addition, we need to be familiar with the biases that many of our clients face from others in the criminal justice system and consider ways to combat them. We have two outstanding speakers who are widely considered national experts on the topic: Song Richardson, law professor at UC Irvine, and Jeffery Robinson, Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU.

For a detailed agenda and training materials, click here

Defending a Capital Case: Strategies and Lessons for All Cases
March 27, 2017

Is the de facto moratorium on federal capital cases in this area over? What will it mean to defend a potential capital case in the age of Trump and Sessions? How can lessons from potential capital cases help you in your non-capital casework? As our districts see an increasein big gang cases that include potential capital charges, even attorneys who are not on the Capital Case Panel may find themselves handling potential capital charges. This program will focus on what to do when you are assigned a potential capital case and will contain insights that will be useful in your non-capital practice as well.

We will review how to assemble a diverse, effective team and how to develop your budget when you are assigned a potential capital case. We will examine current DOJ capital case protocol, including pre-indictment “fast track” review of whether DOJ will seek the death penalty, as well as new challenges to the federal death penalty such as the litigation in United States v. Donald Fell in the District of Vermont. We will discuss how to proceed ex parte on expert and investigative appointments. Finally, we will highlight the role of the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project and local and national training opportunities.

For detailed agenda and training materials: click here

The Write Stuff: A Training Program on Effective Writing and Storytelling Techniques

February 23, 2017

Do your sentencing submissions all begin “I write on behalf of my client”? Does the factual background portion of the submission begin with your client’s birthday? Do you feel like judges have a hard time understanding who your client really is? Do you wish your sentencing submissions read more like a New Yorker article and less like a Presentence Report? Then this CLE program is for you.

For detailed agenda and training materials: click here

How Do I Tell If All Is Not Well?: Indentifying, Evaluating & Representing Defendants with Mental Health Issues

October 24, 2016

A panel of experienced mental health and legal professionals will be presenting and taking questions at the Eastern District of New York courthouse to help attorneys identify and work with clients with intellectual difficulties and mental health issues. Attorneys will receive two credit hours (see below), but social workers, interns, and paralegals are also welcome to attend.

For detailed agenda and training materials: click here
For additional bibliography: click here

Unraveling DNA Evidence

October 7, 2016

The attorneys of the DNA unit of the Legal Aid Society are the city’s foremost experts in litigating the limits and admissibility of DNA evidence prepared by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In this CLE, they will provide a simple, practical guide to unraveling DNA evidence. The program will focus on the basic issues raised by DNA evidence, such as the presence of multiple contributors of DNA and transference of DNA, as well as the limits of DNA evidence. The program will cover the procedures followed by the New York Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in analyzing DNA samples and the documents created during the process that attorneys should obtain in discovery.

For detailed agenda and training materials: click here

Criminal Practice in the Information
June 6, 2016

The CJA Committee for the Eastern District of New York, together with Federal Defenders of New York, Inc. present a program on the challenges of criminal practice in the information age. Our panel presentation will cover issues such as seizure and forensic search of smartphones and other mass storage devices; continuing quandaries of location tracking; the application of Fourth Amendment doctrine, warrant rules and statutes to new technology; and “cybercrimes” as traditional fraud and theft charges in new contexts.

For detailed agenda and training materials: click here

Fighting Sentencing Enhancements in a Post-Johnson World
April 14, 2016

Since last fall’s CLE program on Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015) and Descamps v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2276 (2013), courts around the country have weighed in on the effect of Johnson when it comes to categorizing offenses as crimes of violence for the purpose of the Armed Career Criminal Act; 18 U.S.C. 924(c); and United States Sentencing Guidelines provisions covering Career Offenders, gun possession, and illegal reentry. In this CLE, four attorneys from the Federal Defenders of New York will walk us through the current legal landscape on these issues, including the proposed amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines. They will present strategic arguments that counsel can make in challenging whether prior offenses, such as various degrees of robbery in New York State, and current offenses, such as brandishing a gun in connection with a conspiracy to commit a Hobbs Act Robbery, constitute crimes of violence.

For detailed agenda and training materials: click here

Challenging "Crimes of Violence/Violent Felonies" after United States v. Johnson
November 6, 2015

A Training program on The Law and Practice of applying the Supreme Court’s Decisions in United States v. Johnson and Descamps v. United States.

For detailed agenda: click here

"Bail me out:" A CLE Program on the Law and Practice of Release from Custody in Federal Criminal Cases
January 16, 2014

For detailed agenda and training materials: click here

Pre-Trial Advocacy: Programs, Benefits, & Improved
Co-sponsored by the Second Circuit Judicial Council
June 7, 2013

For detailed agenda and training materials: click here

Demystifying the BOP: Time Computation & Designation Procedures, Primary Jurisdiction, and Undischarged Time Under 5G3.1

December 7, 2012

For detailed agenda and training materials: click here

Non-Capital Sentencing Mitigation

Co-sponsored by the Second Circuit Judicial Council
June 18, 2012

This half-day program focused on effective sentencing advocacy and featured three parts: 1) a view from the bench with Second Circuit Judge Denny Chin, District Judge Deborah Batts (SDNY), and District Judge John Gleeson (EDNY); 2) Developing Mitigating Information with the Federal Defender’s Director of Social Work, Heidi van Es and Private Investigator Ed Webster; and 3) Presenting Mitigation with
Paula Xinis, Esq.

For detailed agenda: click here
For program materials: click here

Adobe Acrobat Pro Training

Co-sponsored by the Second Circuit Judicial Council

March 15 and 16, 2012.

These two all-day trainings were organized by Jerry Tritz, the Second Circuit CJA Case Budgeting Attorney. Each day was dedicated to a different version of Adobe Acrobat Pro, an invaluable tool for attorneys needing to organize e-discovery.

Capital Case Training
Co-sponsored by The Training Branch of the Office of Defender Services and The Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project
December 2, 2011

This all-day training covered the basics of representing clients accused of federal capital crimes. Because counsel in non-capital cases are increasingly facing the possibility of superseding capital charges, all CJA counsel are encouraged to be familiar with the basics of capital case work.

For detailed agenda: click here

Useful Links

Second Circuit Blog: http://blog.federaldefendersny.org/

This blog is maintained by Federal Defender attorneys and provides summaries of recent Second Circuit cases relating to federal criminal law.

Federal Defender website: http://www.fd.org/

The website of the Office of Defender Services Training Branch covers a wide variety of topics useful to federal criminal practitioners.

Sentencing Law and Policy blog, a.k.a. “Berman’s Blog”: http://sentencing.typepad.com/

This blog run by Professor Doug Berman is a great resource for all things related to sentencing.

The Sentencing Resource Counsel Project: http://www.src-project.org/

The SRC Project's website makes available a large number of documents and materials from the public record of the USSC that are not currently available on its website and are otherwise difficult to obtain.

Immigrant Defense Project: http://immigrantdefenseproject.org/

The IDP is a non-profit organization dedicated to immigrants’ rights. One of its core missions is to assist criminal defense attorneys representing non-citizen clients. They have a hotline that anyone can call for assistance: 212-725-6422.

United States Sentencing Commission website: http://www.ussc.gov/

The USSC site is particularly helpful in gathering statistics and keeping up to date about changes in the Guidelines and proposals for future changes.

Bureau of Prisons website: http://www.ussc.gov/

You may use this site to find federal inmates and to learn about specific facilities.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums: http://www.famm.org/

If you are interested in policy and advocacy related to mandatory minimum sentences, this is one of the leading organizations. The site also provides useful statistics.