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CJA Panel Application and Information


Whenever a federal judge determines that representation shall be provided for any financially eligible criminal defendant, and an attorney will be appointed either from the Office of the Federal Defender, or from the Court’s CJA Panel, in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act Plan adopted by the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois.    



  • To qualify for the CJA Panel, attorneys must be members in good standing with the Central District of Illinois bar and have demonstrated experience in, and knowledge of, federal criminal law and the Sentencing Guidelines.  Appointment of counsel is generally from the district in which the case arose.


  • Counsel will apply for membership to the CJA Panel using the Application for Panel Membership.  If you are already on the panel in the Central District of Illinois, you are required to recertify annually to remain on the CJA Panel.  Please complete the form and send it to the Federal Defenders Office in the manner specified on their website.  For further information go to  

Committee Review

  • The membership of the panel will be reviewed by the Panel Selection Committee and Divisional sub-Panel Selection Committees annually. The minimum annual requirements for retention on any panel are: (1) subscription to the Federal Public Defender Listserv and (2) attendance at least one CLE program directed at federal criminal defense within 12-months of appointment to the panel. Attorneys on the panel will be required to annually certify satisfaction of these minimum requirements to remain on the panel.

Case Appointments

  • Case appointments are initially assigned to the Federal Defender for the district from which the case arises. If a conflict exists with the Federal Defender, the appointment is offered to a member of the CJA Panel for the district in which the case arises.