District of Arizona CJA Resource Counsel
Denise K. Aguilar

Phone: 602-382-2700
Email: denise_aguilar@fd.org

District of Arizona CJA Representatives

Guenevere Nelson-Melby (Tucson)
Phone: 520-288-4688
Email: NelsonMelbyLaw@gmail.com

Carlos Brown (Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Yuma)
Phone: 480-788-3131
Email: info@carlosbrownlaw.com


The Criminal Justice Act provides for the appointment of private lawyers to a panel of attorneys that the court appoints to represent indigent defendants in criminal cases. CJA attorneys are generally appointed when there is a conflict of interest within the Federal Public Defender's Office. CJA attorneys are experienced in criminal law and must be particularly knowledgeable about Federal criminal statutes and procedures. Their representation is free of charge to defendants who qualify for court-appointed counsel.

Each district has a  CJA Panel Attorney District Representative (pdf), selected from among the members of the CJA panel, with the approval of the chief judge.

CJA Panel Attorney District Representatives

  • lead their district CJA panel
  • attend the annual National Conference of CJA Panel Attorney District Representatives
  • serve as liaison between the CJA panel and the federal defender organization, the court and the AO’s Office of Defender Services
  • comment on proposed legislation relating to the CJA
  • work toward improving the quality of representation as well as the conditions under which panel attorneys provide representation.

Guides to Judiciary Policy

Ch.1: Overview,
Ch.2: Appointment & Payment of Counsel,
Ch.3: Authorization & Payment for Investigative, Expert or Other Services,
Ch.5: Disclosure of Information on CJA-Related Activities, and
Ch.6:Federal Death Penalty and Capital Habeas Corpus Representations

Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol 7A, 10/2011 Revisions