The Criminal Justice Act became law in 1964 and was amended in 1970. The mandate of the Act, first championed by Robert F. Kennedy, is to provide a funded, comprehensive system of qualified lawyers, investigators, experts and other services necessary to provide adequate defense for defendants who are accused of federal crimes and who are entitled to, but unable to afford adequate representation. A fundamental predicate of appointment under the Act is the right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment.

The Act establishes a hybrid system of representation consisting of panels of individual, private attorneys and federal public defender offices. Together, panel attorneys and defenders make up the Federal Defender Organization. Each judicial district is required to implement the mandate of the Act through individual Plans.

The Office of the CJA Attorney is established under the District of Colorado Criminal Justice Act Plan, amended and approved by the District Court on May 20, 2016, and made effective July 20, 2016. Read the entire Plan Here.

The CJA Coordinating Attorney is responsible for management of the Criminal Justice Act Panel, and the systematic distribution of cases where counsel is appointed under the Criminal Justice Act. The Coordinating Attorney is responsible for review of claims for reimbursement and requests for services by Panel attorneys, and will assist with continuing legal education programs sponsored by the Office of the Federal Public Defender and the CJA Standing Committee.

The Office of the CJA Coordinating Attorney will be adding an attorney to coordinate and manage all Continuing Legal Education programs and to assist the Coordinating Attorney with panel management and eVoucher administration.

The CJA Coordinating Attorney and Training Director are employees of the Office of the Federal Public Defender.