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What Are The Differences Between Federal And Idaho Crimes?

Idaho state crimes, as defined under Title 18 of the Idaho State Statutes, are different from federal crimes. While federal crimes deal with offenses or violations against federal laws, Idaho state crimes are violations committed against the state criminal statutes. Apart from jurisdiction, another notable difference is the law enforcement agencies tasked with investigating and prosecuting both categories of crime. Generally, federal agencies like SEC, ICE, FBI, IRS, and many others are in charge of handling federal crimes. On the other hand, law enforcement agencies in Idaho, such as Idaho State Police and Idaho Department of Corrections, are tasked with handling state crimes. Federal crimes in the USA require an in-depth approach to investigations since it cuts across several states. Also, resources beyond the capacity of state or local governments are necessary for prosecuting these crimes. Examples of offenses classified as federal crimes are:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Counterfeiting
  • Computer crimes (hacking or mail fraud)
  • Animal cruelty
  • Identity theft
  • Internet sex crimes (child pornography)
  • Bank robbery
  • Weapon charges
  • Bankruptcy

State crimes such as arson, rape, theft, burglary, kidnapping, homicide, murder, manslaughter, simple assaults, and aggravated assault occur within the Idaho orders. Hence, they are resolved in the state court and prosecuted by law enforcement agencies in the state.

How Does Idaho Court System Differ From the Federal Court System?

The Idaho court system is similar to the federal court system in terms of criminal justice procedures. However, the jurisdiction, types of court, and appointment of judges are quite different. The federal court system is divided into three levels: district courts, circuit courts, and appellate courts. Idaho has one federal district court tasked with handling criminal cases and one bankruptcy court. The district court judge is appointed for life by the United States president with the validation of the US Congress. Even then, the judges may be impeached by the congress on account of misconduct. Also, the U.S Attorney General reserves the privilege of appointing assistant attorneys to prosecute federal court cases.

The court system in Idaho is divided into three tiers. The Supreme Court is the highest appellate court; it has constitutional authority over lawsuits brought against the state. The Court of Appeal serves as an intermediate appellate court responsible for reviewing cases assigned to it by the Supreme Court. Note that the appeal court cannot hear matters related to capital murder. Also, the state Supreme Court is authorized to resolve appeals from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission or Idaho Industrial Commission.

The state trial courts are divided into two parts: district and magistrate courts. The district court resolves appeals from the magistrate division or cases beyond the limit of the magistrate division. The magistrate court has jurisdiction over cases like divorce proceedings, probate matters, juvenile proceedings, preliminary proceedings of a felony case. The magistrate court also resolves infractions and criminal misdemeanors. State judges in Idaho are selected through nonpartisan elections. These judges take part in a general election, and they must not be endorsed or nominated by a political party. In Idaho, there are five Supreme Court judges, four Court of Appeals judges, and 40 district court judges. Supreme and appeal court judges serve for six years, while district court judges serve for four years. The magistrate commission selects magistrate judges.

How Many Federal Courts Are There In Idaho?

There is one federal district court, one bankruptcy court, and a federal court of appeals located in the State of Idaho. These include:

  • United States District Court District of Idaho
  • United States Bankruptcy Court District of Idaho
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

1. The district court in Idaho has three locations: Boise, Coeur d’Alene, and Pocatello.

James A. McClure Federal Building and the United States Courthouse

550 W. Fort Street

Suite 400, Boise ID 83724

Phone: (208) 334 1361

Fax: (208) 334 9362

Toll-Free: (866) 496 1250

United States Courthouse in Coeur d’Alene

6450 North Mineral Drive

Coeur d’Alene ID 83815

Phone: (208) 665 6850

Fax: (208) 665 6801

Toll Free: (866) 299 5515

United States Courthouse in Pocatello

801 E. Sherman Street

Room 119, Pocatello ID 83201

Phone: (208) 478 4123

Fax: (208) 478 4106

Toll-free: (866) 444 6086

2. The federal bankruptcy court in Idaho has three locations: the city of Boise, Pocatello, and Coeur d’Alene.

United States Bankruptcy Court

James A. McClure Federal Building

550 W. Fort Street

Suite 400, Boise ID 83724

United States Bankruptcy Court in Coeur d’Alene

6450 North Mineral Drive

Coeur d’Alene ID 83815

United States Bankruptcy Court in Pocatello

801 E. Sherman Street

Room 119, Pocatello ID 83201

3. Appeals from the federal district court in Idaho are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit located in California. The court hears appeals from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington federal district courts.

The James R. Browning Courthouse

95 7TH Street,

San Francisco, CA 94103

Phone: (415) 355 8000

Are Federal Cases Public Records?

According to the FOI (Freedom of Information) Act, federal court records available to citizens for copying and inspecting. However, not all information contained in case files is accessible by the public. Information like docket sheets and transcripts of court proceedings are obtainable by residents via online, mail-in, and in-person requests. Sensitive information that either violates personal privacy or state statutes may be restricted based on a judge’s discretion. Other information restricted by the court are:

  • Trade secrets and financial report of involved agencies or parties
  • Notes written by court personnel or judges
  • Personal details of witnesses, victims, and informants
  • Federal cases which investigation process is still pending
  • Exhibits from the trial that are not part of the evidence

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Find Federal Court Records Online

The United States Federal Courts maintain a centralized online search system known as PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). This database is available to anyone looking for federal court records. PACER is free for users who:

  • View case files only
  • Read court opinions only
  • Obtain a maximum of $30 worth of documents within a quarter
  • Are participants in the case

Apart from these, users are expected to understand how the PACER pricing works before proceeding to make payments for any record. Information that is accessible on the online database are:

  • Some personal information of parties involved in the case
  • The docket listing the case events by date
  • Court opinions
  • Claims registry
  • Images of documents
  • Updated information on new cases
  • Case status for ongoing trials
  • Final sentence for completed trials

The Idaho federal district court keeps and disseminates its records locally. As such, some information on records may not be available online. Use the PACER Case Locator for case files whose locations are unknown. Alternatively, requesters may contact the district court’s clerk to find out what information is accessible before making a request and paying fees. Questions on how to use the federal e-filing are available on the FAQ page of the website.

How To Find Federal Court Records In Idaho?

In Idaho, interested persons can obtain federal court records by visiting or sending a mail to the federal district court’s clerk. Each page of a record ordered in-person costs $0.10, while copies made by the clerk cost $0.50/page. The clerk charges $11 for certification. The same fee schedule applies for both clerk-facilitated in-person requests and mail requests. All mail requests must include a written request containing relevant details such as the case number, case name, and approximate filing date. Requesters are also required to include their locations and phone numbers.

All mail requests should be enclosed along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and appropriate fees to any of the following locations:

U.S. Court in Bosie

550 W. Fort St #400

Boise, ID 83724

U.S. Court in Coeur d’Alene

6450 N. Mineral Dr.

Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815

U.S. Court in Pocatello

801 E. Sherman St. #119

Pocatello, ID 8320

Federal court records that are more than 2 years are archived and maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Those looking for these archived documents should first contact the district court clerk’s office to determine the location of the records of interest.

Can Federal Crimes Be Dismissed In Idaho?

Yes, federal criminal cases may be dismissed in Idaho as stipulated under section 48 of the Federal Criminal Code. This law gives the federal court in Idaho the authority to dismiss eligible federal offenses. Procedures required in dismissing federal cases are complex due to the operations of the national criminal justice system. Note that dismissing a federal case is different from expungement. Expungement mostly occurs when a defendant is acquitted while dismissal takes place when evidence brought at the moment before the court is not sufficient for prosecution. This means that the dismissed case may be reopened at a later date approved by the presiding judge.

How Do I Clear My Federal Criminal Record?

Criminal history records can be cleared in two ways: expungement and sealing. A sealed file is accessible by law enforcement agencies, the file holder, or legal representative of the file holder. Expunged case files are totally destroyed, and it is not accessible to anyone. This means the record holder of an expunged file has a right to deny ever committing the crime. Typically, sealing a record is easier than expungement. A file can be expunged if the conviction was reversed, case dismissed or received a federal pardon. The U.S. Federal First Offender Act also allows the expungement of drug-related criminal history records of persons below the age of 21 years. To be eligible, the offender must not have any prior convictions.

Unconstitutional convictions and convictions following minor government misconduct are generally eligible for expungement. In both instances, the Attorney General has the right to dismiss the case, which will eventually be sealed by the judge.

Ex-convicts convicted by the Federal District Court of Idaho may petition the district court judge to seal or expunge their criminal history record. In this case, the process of sealing or expungement is monitored by the Attorney General. Note that the process may take up to three years before it is approved. On the other hand, sealing a record can only occur based on the judge’s discretion. This means that the defendant’s legal representative is required to prove that the record may be misused in the future, will be irrelevant in future investigations, or may put the community at risk.

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