Saturday, October 08, 2011

The story of a CJA Voucher

"Frustrated" is not an accurate description for my feelings about the length of time it has taken to have a CJA Voucher processed and paid. Yes, the and paid is a very important step in this process. I filed a CJA Voucher on April 24, 2011. It was near mid-August, and the voucher had still not been audited at the District Court's CJA Clerk's Office. I know they have been overworked and understaffed, but almost 4 months is still a long time to have a voucher waiting to be audited. After some calls indicating that I was ready to commit suicide if the voucher was not audited sometime soon, it finally got audited in a few days and sent to the District Judge, who approved it within two days of receiving it from the CJA Clerk. But, because the voucher requested excess compensation (it exceeded the case compensation maximum) it still had to receive the blessing of the Chief Judge of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or her designee, who is usually the most junior judge on the Court of Appeals. But before reaching the designee at the First Circuit, it goes through another audit at the First Circuit. It finally got audited and approved again in mid-September 2011, and then it makes its way back to San Juan, to the CJA Clerk. So, as of Wednesday, September 28, 2011 the CJA Payment Status page at the District Court's website indicated my voucher had been "processed for payment."

You would think that is tantamount to telling me that the check is in the mail, but it isn't. The "processed for payment" entry means they have taken some step (I think) in getting it moved towards being actually paid, but definitely not all. And as of Friday, October 7, 2011, whatever additional internal steps were required to enter the voucher for payment had yet to be taken! When they finally take all the necessary steps at the District Court here, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts will receive electronic notice and the next day will issue and mail my check. Then the prayers start for the postal service to be efficient, as the Administrative Office does not do any direct deposit of these payments, although I'm told that they have long  had the capability of doing so.

So -with luck- I will actually  receive that payment from the April 24th voucher sometime in mid-October, or perhaps a little later?

P.S. - I stand corrected. The CJA Voucher payment was issued Sept. 29th. But ... it still took from April 24 to Oct. for me to receive payment!!