Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Question: What is the CJA Study?

    The CJA Study is a comprehensive review of the operation and administration of the Criminal Justice Act program.  The study is being undertaken by the Judicial Conference of the United States through the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act Program.

  2. Question: When was the last study of the CJA program?

    The last comprehensive review of the CJA program took place more than 20 years ago pursuant to the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-650.  The Committee was led by Judge Edward C. Prado.  A copy of the Prado Committee’s report can be found under the Previous CJA Studies tab.

  3. Question: Who are the members of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act Program?

    The members of the Committee include federal judges, a federal courts representative, federal defenders, a CJA panel attorney, a law professor, and a private law firm lawyer.  Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. appointed the members of the Committee in his capacity as Presiding Officer of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

    The members include:

    • Hon. Kathleen Cardone, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (Chair)
    • Hon. Dale S. Fischer, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
    • Hon. John M. Gerrard, U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska
    • Hon. Mitchell S. Goldberg, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    • Hon. Reggie B. Walton, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
    • Dr. Robert E. Rucker, Assistant Circuit Executive for Court Policy and Research for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
    • Reuben Cahn, Executive Director, Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.
    • Katherian Roe, Federal Public Defender for the District of Minnesota
    • Jeffrey A. “Chip” Frensley, National CJA Panel Attorney District Representative
    • Professor Orin S. Kerr, The George Washington University Law School
    • Neil H. MacBride, Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLP

    Judge Edward C. Prado of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, who chaired the prior CJA study, has been appointed Chair Emeritus.  Professor Jon Gould, American University, has been appointed as Reporter.

  4. Question: What is the scope of the CJA Study?

    The study will evaluate the effectiveness of current policies and governance structures and their impact on the appointment and compensation of counsel, quality of legal representation, program administration, and adequacy of funding.

    A list of topics being considered by the Committee can be found here.

    The Committee members welcome input on any topics that might assist them in their study of the CJA program.

  5. Question: What is the timing of the CJA study?

    The CJA study is structured as a two-year study that was authorized to begin in April 2015.  The Committee expects to issue its report by April 2017.

  6. Question: How is the Ad Hoc Committee conducting the CJA Study?

    The Committee is soliciting input from a variety of individuals and groups with experience or knowledge pertinent to the study.  The Committee is accepting public comments and will hold a series of public hearings at locations around the United States to ensure the greatest level of participation possible.

  7. Question: How do I submit comments?

    Please forward your comments to

    Alternatively, you may mail your comments to:

    CJA Study Committee
    Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
    Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, Suite 4-250
    One Columbus Circle, N.E.
    Washington, D.C. 20544

  8. Question: Can I submit comments anonymously?

    Yes.  If you wish for your comments to remain anonymous, please indicate prominently at the beginning of your submission so that staff can remove identifying information before making the submission available to the Committee members.

  9. Question: What is the deadline for submitting comments?

    The Committee would like to receive comments as soon as possible to ensure sufficient time to review and digest the comments.

  10. Question: What is the schedule for public hearings?

    The public hearing schedule is as follows:

    Nov. 16-17, 2015      Santa Fe, NM
    Jan. 11-12, 2016       Miami, FL
    Feb. 3-4, 2016          Portland, OR
    Feb. 18-19, 2016      Birmingham, AL
    March 2-3, 2016       San Francisco, CA
    April 11-12, 2016      Philadelphia, PA
    May 16-17, 2016      Minneapolis, MN

    See the Public Hearings tab for more information about each hearing.

  11. Question: Can I testify before the Committee?

    Testimony is by invitation only.  If you are interested in testifying at one of the public hearings, please contact Arin Melissa Brenner,, (202) 502-1413.

  12. Question: What if I cannot attend a public hearing in person?

    Each public hearing will be live-streamed and available for viewing.  In addition, transcripts will be prepared and made available on this site.

  13. Question: How do I contact the Committee?

    See the Contact Us tab.