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U.S. Marshals Service

Public Defender's Handbook

Travel, Lodging, Meals and Incidental Expenses

Fact witnesses are entitled to reimbursement for necessary transportation by the least expensive method available, and reimbursement for meals and lodging when required to remain away from their residence overnight.

Common Carrier. When commercial transportation is required outside the local commuting area:

1. The CJA/Public Defender must inform the witness to contact the U.S. Marshal’s office on how to make travel arrangements and to obtain government transportation rates.

2. The U.S. Marshal’s office will make prepaid travel arrangements using contracted government rates or other rates that are deemed most advantageous to the government.

3. When the witness arranges their own travel they will be reimbursed using the contracted government coach fare or lower. Reimbursement will be for the common carrier that is the most efficient, expeditious, and advantageous to the government. All reimbursement for common carrier must be supported by receipts.

4. The U.S. Marshal’s office will not reimburse witnesses for first class air fare and/or for fares that are not a result of direct transportation to and from the court city.

To and From Currier Terminals. Receipts are required for all single items costing over $25.00. Expenditures for taxicab and airport limo fares are reimbursed. However, when courtesy transportation is provided by hotels/motels, the witness should be made aware of their requirement to use them.

Rental cars. Rental cars are not reimbursable, except under special/unusual circumstances pre-approved by the presiding officer of the Court or the Clerk of the Court. By law, parking receipts are required to reimburse witnesses for any parking expense.

Lodging. All reimbursement for lodging must be supported by Hotel/Motel receipts. Reimbursement will be for the actual cost of lodging and will not exceed the allowable rates for the city. The witness will be required to provide copies of lost/destroyed receipts from the lodging establishments before receiving reimbursement.

If lodging is required by the witness:

  • The attorney will make the reservations, or have the witness make his own room reservations, not to exceed he maximum allowable lodging rates for that court city.

  • If the lodging receipt shows a charge for double occupancy, one-half of the double occupancy charge will be allowable for each witness. If the person sharing the room is not a witness, the witness will be allowed the single-room rate not to exceed the maximum allowed. 

  • When a witness obtains lodging from friends or relatives with or without charge, no lodging expense will be authorized. Meals and Incidental Expenses. Receipts for food are not required. The maximum per diem rates include a fixed allowance for meals and incidental expenses, when an overnight stay is required. The fixed allowance varies with each court city. Fact Witnesses are entitled to one-half the daily meals and expense allowance for the day of departure, and one-half the allowance for the day of return. Full days at the place of attendance will be at he full meals and incidental expense allowance rate for each court city.

 
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