​We are a community of attorneys and investigators who practice under the District of Columbia Criminal Justice Act (CJA). Our members are committed to providing quality representation to indigent adults and children facing a loss of liberty in the District of Columbia.​


CJA Investigators

Attention Certified CJA/CCAN Investigators practicing in the District of Columbia: if you're having difficulty accessing the password-protected website for investigator resources, please email Michael Rucker at MRucker@pdsdc.org

All Panel Investigators must comply with CJA Investigator Guidelines. For questions about the Guidelines, please contact the court at IAC@dccsystem.gov.

Current Panel Members:

Certified CJA/CCAN Panel Investigators must reapply to the panel every four years and resubmit their FBI fingerprint background check every two years. For more detailed information, please read the CJA Investigator Guidelines. If you have ​questions, please contact us or the court at IAC@dccsystem.gov.

Admission to the Panel:

.Individuals interested in becoming a CJA Panel Investigator should check the D.C. Superior Court website for notifications and information regarding the application process. CJA Investigator Applications must be submitted to the Defender Services Branch, DC Superior Court,​ Budget & Finance Office, Attn: Demitrious Brown700 6th St. N.W. ​ 12th Floor, Washington, DC 20001.

CJA Attorneys

CJA Panel Attorneys must log in to sign up for cases and to access panel resources. If you are a panel member and have not received the instructions for logging in the first time to set up your profile and establish a new password, please email​ Special Counsel Claire Roth at ​CRoth@pdsdc.org. Current CJA Panel Attorneys​ must follow CJA panel practice guidelines and reapply to the panel every four years. 

Individuals seeking information on becoming a CJA Panel Attorney may access the links below and​ visit the D.C. Superior Court website for notices and announcements regarding the application process for new panel attorneys at CJA Panel Information.




What is an arraignment? Arraignment is a court proceeding at which a criminal defendant is formally advised of the charges being brought against them.  A person charged with a misdemeanor is arraigned at the first hearing in court.  A person charged with a felony is usually not arraigned at their first hearing in court.  Regardless of whether a person is arraigned at the first hearing, a Judge or Magistrate Judge will decide at that first hearing if a person will be released before their next court date.  

What is an initial hearing? An initial hearing is the first hearing for juvenile respondents.  At an initial hearing, a Judge or Magistrate Judge will decide if the individual will be released before their next court date. 

What is a citation? A citation is a document compelling an individual to come to court for formal charging in lieu of being arrested and incarcerated. Citations are heard each week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Traffic citations are heard in courtrooms 115, 116, and 120 at 9:30 a.m..  U.S. citations are heard in courtroom C-10 at 9:30 a.m. 

Where and when are the first hearings for adults held? Adults facing criminal charges will make their first appearance in courtroom C-10, on the C (or basement) level of the Moultrie Courthouse. These hearings are held Monday through Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m., and on Federal and D.C.-recognized holidays starting at 11:00 a.m.  There are no hearings on Sundays. 

Where and when are the first hearings for juveniles held? Juveniles facing delinquency charges will make their first appearance in courtroom JM-15, on the JM level of the Moultrie Courthouse. JM-15 is open Monday through Saturday and on all Federal and D.C.-recognized holidays.  Although the courtroom opens at 9:30 a.m., cases are frequently not heard until later in the day.  There are no hearings on Sundays. 

Will I have representation at my first hearing? How much will it cost? Everyone has the right to have an attorney present at their first hearing regardless of their financial status. Before their first hearing, all people are interviewed to determine whether they are eligible for a court-appointed counsel.  People who are detained before their first hearing are interviewed in the holding cell.  This interview consists of basic questions, including employment status, marital status, number of dependents, property owned, and the existence of debts and liquid assets.  If the person is eligible, they will be appointed counsel prior to their first hearing. The financial interview will determine how much court-appointed counsel will cost, if at all.  Frequently, court-appointed counsel will be free of charge to the defendant or respondent.  Occasionally, a person will be required to contribute a portion of their income to compensate for the services of their court-appointed counsel.  

What if I am not eligible for court-appointed counsel? What will happen at my first hearing? Any person who is not eligible for court-appointed counsel is financially responsible for counsel.  For juvenile cases, the respondent's parent or guardian will be financially responsible for counsel. If someone is able to do so prior to their first hearing, they or their family can retain counsel and have that person represent them at the first hearing.  If they are unable to retain counsel prior to their first hearing, the Judge or Magistrate Judge will nevertheless appoint counsel to represent them for the first hearing only, free of charge. 

​Who is my court-appointed lawyer? You should receive your court-appointed lawyer's name on the first day that you appear in court.  If you did not receive or have misplaced this information, you can look up your case online at  http://dccourts.insomnation.com/superior-court/cases-online.  This site should give you the name of your lawyer.  If you do not have access to the Internet or cannot find your lawyer's name, you can call PDS at 202-628-1200 during business hours and ask to speak with the Duty Day attorney.  The Duty Day attorney can look up your lawyer's name for you. 

How can I contact my court-appointed lawyer? To find your lawyer's contact information, go to  https://my.dcbar.org/memberdirectory.  If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call PDS at 202-628-1200 during business hours and ask to speak with the Duty Day attorney.  The Duty Day attorney can look up your lawyer's information for you. 

What if I need a Spanish-speaking attorney to represent me? Within the CJA panel, there is a small group of attorneys who are available to represent Spanish-speaking clients, and at least one Spanish-speaking attorney is available on each day that court is in session.  These individuals are bilingual (Spanish/English).   Additionally, the Defender Service Office (DSO) located in the courthouse interviews individuals for CJA eligibility and has one bilingual staff member and one staff member who is able to provide limited assistance to Spanish-speaking clients in the courthouse. 

If I am on supervision and get a new arrest for a criminal charge, will I be released or detained on the parole warrant?   If the parole warrant has already been issued and the court releases you in the criminal case, the parole warrant will be executed and you will be detained. 

If I am under parole supervision and my case is dismissed by the court, will the Parole Commission still hold the matter against me? The Parole Commission is not bound by any court decision; therefore, it may proceed on a charge regardless of whether the matter has been dismissed (nolle prosequi), or acquitted in D.C. Superior Court. In practice, the Parole Commission does proceed on dismissed and acquitted charges in almost all cases. 

I have an arrest warrant in the District of Columbia what do I do? If you know that you have an outstanding D.C. Superior Court arrest warrant, choosing not to surrender can result in adverse consequences to your case and even additional criminal charges. If you have questions about the status of a possible D.C. arrest warrant, you can call PDS at 202-824-1200 and ask to speak with the Duty Day attorney. 

 I was arrested in D.C., but my case originates in Maryland or Virginia or another jurisdiction,​ how do I get to the other jurisdiction? If you are in custody, it is the Marshal's duty to transfer you to the charging jurisdiction. If you are out on bond, you must travel to the originating jurisdiction yourself.   You should discuss this with your attorney.