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9th Circuit Affirms Reduction in CJA Attorney Fees

On November 10, 2009, the 9th Circuit filed its decision approving a district judges ruling reducing the requested compensation to be paid to an attorney appointed to provide legal representation for an indigent felon pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), 18 U.S.C. § 3006A.

Attorney Gerald Smith of Spokane, Washington, was initially compensated more than $31,000, which in itself far exceeds the $8,600 maximum provided by CJA guidelines.
The judge in the case, however, had categorized it as “complex” in nature, thereby allowing for the departure from those guidelines. Even so, His Honor balked when Mr. Smith submitted his second-interim request for additional compensation of nearly $47,000. Exercising the discretion allowed him under the CJA, and after examining pertinent factors in the proceedings, the Judge reduced the additional fees by 42%, consequently resulting in this 9th Circuit appeal.

Unfortunately for Mr. Smith, the Circuit found no abuse of discretion and concurred with the district court’s determination in regard to the appropriateness of the reduced fees. See: In the Matter of Gerald R. Smith, 586 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. 2009).

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Related legal case

In the Matter of Gerald R. Smith