Criminal Justice Act (CJA Appointments)

The general procedures for the appointment of counsel in criminal cases in the Western District of Wisconsin are set forth in the Criminal Justice Act, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 3006A. The Act requires each United States District Court to have a plan for furnishing representation "for any person financially unable to obtain adequate representation . . . ." 18 U.S.C. § 3006A. In the Western District of Wisconsin, the plan provides that representation to qualified defendants shall be provided by Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, Inc., pursuant to subsections (g)(1) and (g)(2)(B) of the Criminal Justice Act.

The Criminal Justice Act authorizes the appointment of counsel for various individuals, including those charged with felonies or Class A misdemeanors, those alleged to have violated probation or supervised release and material witnesses in custody. See 18 U.S.C. § 3006A (a)(1). In addition, when the interests of justice so require, the court may appoint counsel for individuals charged with Class B or C misdemeanors or for individuals seeking habeas corpus relief. See 18 U.S.C. § 3006A (a)(2).


How to Join the CJA Panel

Any attorney who is admitted to practice in the Western District of Wisconsin is eligible to be on the panel. To apply, attorneys must complete an application and forward the completed application to Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, Inc.

Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, Inc. will decide whether to admit the attorney to the panel. New attorneys are not eligible for appointments until they have attended at least one training seminar(link is external) relating to federal criminal practice that includes instruction on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


Counsel's Obligations on Appeal

Pursuant to Seventh Circuit Rule 51, trial counsel in a criminal case, whether retained or appointed by the district court, is responsible for the continued representation of the client desiring to appeal unless specifically relieved by the court of appeals upon a motion to withdraw. This means that if the client wishes to appeal, appointed counsel must file a notice of appeal on the client's behalf in the district court. Once the notice of appeal has been filed, the Court of Appeals will appoint trial counsel as appellate counsel without requiring further proof of the client's eligibility for appointed counsel.

If counsel does not wish to represent the client on appeal, after filing the notice of appeal, counsel should file a motion to withdraw in the Court of Appeals. Circuit Rule 51 provides that such relief shall be "freely granted."

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(b), a defendant's notice of appeal must be filed in the district court within 10 days after the later of the entry of either the judgment or the order being appealed OR the filing of the government's notice of appeal. The notice of appeal must be accompanied by a docketing statement as required by Circuit Rule 3(c). Before filing an appeal, counsel should study the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Circuit Rules. Questions regarding appeals may be directed to Lynn Kamke in the Western District of Wisconsin District Court Clerk's Office, 608-261-5731.



Joseph Bugni
Supervisory Associate Federal Defender
Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, Inc.
(608) 260-9900

Nathan Otis
CJA Panel Representative
Western District of Wisconsin
(608) 237-6854


Resources for CJA Panel Attorneys

The Western District of Wisconsin CJA Plan can be found here.

CJA appointments and reimbursements are completed using eVoucher.