United States District Court - Northern District Court of California

Claudia Wilken, Chief Judge

Richard W. Wieking, Clerk of Court

Becoming a CJA Panel Member

The application period for the current CJA Panel is now OPEN until April 18, 2014. Visit the application page.


Important Information For New Panel Members

The Criminal Justice Act Panel is a group of qualified and court-approved attorneys who are eligible for appointment by the Court to represent individuals in criminal cases who are unable for financial reasons to retain counsel. The appointments are made by the Court on a rotating basis among members of the panel.

 All applicants must have their principal place of business within the appropriate venue of the Northern District of California.  For the San Jose venue, this includes the counties of Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz.  For San Francisco/Oakland, this includes the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Sonoma. 

Applicants must have demonstrated experience in, and knowledge of, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and, in the absence of unusual circumstances, shall have the following qualifications:

At least five years criminal practice in state or federal court, or three years of experience as an Assistant United States Attorney or Assistant Federal Public Defender.

In the case of the trial panels, five federal or state felony jury trials or any combination thereof. Any panel member who has not tried two federal criminal jury trials must audit two pre-trial proceedings including motions hearings, two sentencing hearings and two jury trials in federal criminal cases pursuant to the mentor program established under this plan or its equivalent before being appointed to a case.

In the case of the appellate panel, ten federal or state felony appeals or combination thereof. Five of the required appeals may be replaced with equivalent experience such as criminal trials, habeas corpus proceedings, or complex criminal or civil matters settled short of trial.