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Utah Court Records

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What Are The Differences Between Federal And State Crimes?

The primary differences between federal and state crimes are that while federal crimes violate Federal criminal law, Utah state crimes violate Utah State Criminal Law. Federal crimes directly involve the United States’ security, a national property, or more than one state within the country. Such crimes include;

  • Tax evasion
  • Money laundering
  • Immigration offenses
  • Intellectual property crimes
  • Credit card fraud
  • Drug trafficking

Utah state crimes generally involve crimes against an individual or state property such as sex crimes, homicide, burglary, domestic violence, etc. A crime may cross the jurisdiction of the state into federal jurisdiction when it passes the state border. For example, a drug offense that may primarily be the state’s concern becomes a federal concern when it is trafficked from one state to another, thereby crossing state lines and borders.

Depending on the nature of an offense, federal crime may be investigated by federal law enforcement agencies such as The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), The Secret Service, etc. In contrast, Utah State crimes may be investigated by the Utah State Bureau of Investigation,Utah Division of Insurance Fraud, Utah State Tax Commission, local sheriff departments, and many more.

Federal crimes are tried in federal courts according to the federal criminal procedure while Utah state crimes are prosecuted in state courts as provided by Utah criminal procedure.

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

The Utah court system and the federal court system differ vastly with respect to the following:

  • Courts in the system: The Utah State Court System comprises the appellate courts and trial courts, including the District, Juvenile, and Justice Courts. Federal courts include district courts (trial courts), circuit courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Jurisdiction: Utah state courts have a broader jurisdiction when compared to federal courts in the state. Most criminal cases that concern individual citizens violating state laws are heard in the state courts and these cover a significant percentage of the cases heard in the state. The only cases state courts in Utah are not allowed to handle are cases relating directly to the United States’ federal laws such as patents, bankruptcies, and copyright infringements.

In addition, federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction that are empowered to hear only cases within the United States’ judicial power. These cases involve violating federal laws or the U.S constitution, cases of legal disputes between citizens of different states or foreign countries, bankruptcy and copyright cases, crimes committed on federal property, and criminal activities listed on the U.S. code.

  • Penalties and Sentencing: Criminals convicted of federal crime are more likely to face harsher and stiffer sentences than a criminal convicted of violating Utah’s penal code. Most federal judges follow the federal sentencing guidelines when meting out penalties to a defendant, and they are usually more severe than state penalties.

Also, an offender convicted of a federal crime will be sent to federal prison, and offenders convicted of state or local crime will be sent to a state prison or county jail.

How Many Federal Courts Are There In Utah?

In Utah, there is one federal district court. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, the United States District Court for the District of Utah has 6 locations across the state. Below are the addresses and contact details of these courts:

Salt Lake City

150 Frank E. Moss

United States Courthouse

350 South Main Street

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Phone: (801) 524–6100

St. George

Fifth District Courthouse

206 Tabernacle St

St. George, UT 84770

USA

Vernal

Uintah County District Court

920 US–40, Vernal,

Vernal, UT 84078, USA

Moab

The Grand County Utah District Court

125 E. Center St.,

Moab, UT 84532

Big Water

The Big Water Town Hall

60 Aaron Burr,

UT 84741, USA

Aneth

The Navajo Nation District Court facility

Aneth Judicial District Courthouse

Adjacent to UT–162 between the Aneth Chapter Administrative Building and the Head Start Building in Aneth, P. O. Box 320,

Montezuma Creek,

UT 84534, USA

United States Bankruptcy court

District of Utah

Salt Lake City

US Bankruptcy Court

District of Utah

Frank E. Moss U.S. Courthouse

350 South Main Street, 3rd Floor

Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Mailing Address:

US Bankruptcy Court

District of Utah

350 South Main Street, #301

Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

St. George

US Bankruptcy Court

District of Utah

5th District Court, State of Utah

206 West Tabernacle Courtroom 2B

St. George, UT 84770

Are Federal Cases Public Records?

Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc.435 U.S. 589 (1978), provides that any person has the right to view and request access to records created and managed by federal agencies, including courts in the country. However, the right to access is not absolute as some records are sealed by court order or exempted by law to protect the privacy of the parties involved.

Federal courts are under a mandate to obey public solicitation of information and also ease access to court records. Inquirers are advised to be reasonably specific when requesting access to public court records to avoid denial. Those denied access to confidential or sealed federal records may challenge the court with a petition requesting that the sealed records be made open.

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

Federal courts in Utah file and maintain their case files of dockets, court opinions, transcripts, etc. online via the court website. The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), an internet-based public access service provided by the federal judiciary, allows free-way access to several federal documents. Using PACER, registered persons can view and copy federal criminal court records generated in Utah District Court. Inquirers who don’t have PACER accounts or know how to get one may call (800) 676–6856 for assistance with the registration.

How To Find Federal Court Records In Utah?

All court records in the district court are maintained by the clerk at the Salt City location. However, records of court proceedings in St. George are held at the;

State of Utah 5th District Court

Courtroom 2B

206 West Tabernacle

The clerk’s office maintains different types of court documents or case files, including dockets and transcripts. The dockets for all criminal cases opened during or after November 1992 are maintained in electronic format. Inquirers may view these records on PACER using the computers provided in the lobby of the clerk’s office. Sealed documents and records filed before November 1992 are maintained and available paper format only.

A clerk’s office staff could also help make copies of court documents for $.50 a page. If the requests for copies are larger than expected, inquirers are advised to place copy orders ahead because they usually take 3–5 days to process.

All record requests must possess a reasonable degree of specificity to be processed quickly and avoid delays. For requests to be fully processed, payment must be made in advance. Inquirers can make payments in cash (in-person), via check or money orders and with major credit cards.

If the chosen mode of payment is with credit cards, the inquirer may send the credit card information to the Clerk’s office by Mail, because, if it is sent via fax, e-mail, or voicemail, it will not be processed or attended to. If the individual chooses to use checks or money orders, they must be made payable to Clerk, U.S. District Court

Also, all requests should include a Federal Express ID number if the inquirer wishes to have the requested copies sent via that means.

Inquirers may download and complete the CopyWork request form in PDF Format or Word Format and send it to the Clerks’ office via email or traditional mail.

Mailing Address:

Intake

U.S. District Court

351 S. West Temple, Room 1100

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

E-mail: utdecf_clerk@utd.uscourts.gov

Archived Records;

Archived records are maintained by the Federal records center and may be obtained by contacting the Clerk’s office for assistance by calling; (801) 524–6100. The inquirer will be required to pay a record retrieval fee of $64 for initial records and $39 for additional boxes. If the requested records are available, they will be sent from the center to the clerk’s office after payment is confirmed.

If the requested records are in electronic format and less than 100 pages, a record retrieval fee of $19.90 may apply instead. After the copy request has been completed, all records will be returned to the Federal Records Center.

Transcripts.

Transcripts of a matter or case held before a district judge may be obtained from the Judge’s Court Reporter. The reporter will require the following information to process the request;

  • Date of the court hearing or proceeding
  • Name of the Presiding District judge
  • Case number

If the case was held before a magistrate judge, the following information would be required;

  • Case number
  • Room number
  • Date of hearing
  • Time Start and stop
Court Opinions or Memorandum of Decision

Court opinions are written statements that explain the decision in a case and reasoning of how the court made its decision. They may be downloaded on PACER for free or obtained at the Clerk’s office at $.50 per page. The case number, court record number, and case name will be required. To process this request.

Can Federal Crimes Be Dismissed In Utah?

Dismissing a federal criminal disposition means that a defendant is found “not guilty” of a criminal charge. According to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 48, dismissals can only be initiated by the federal court or the government with the Court’s permission.

The court will initiate a dismissal when unnecessary delays occur in charging the defendant with a crime or bringing the defendant to trial. This could be a situation where it is established that there is insufficient evidence by the prosecution to prove a defendant is guilty of a charge. The defendant’s attorney may ask for a motion to dismiss the charges by arguing that the government has failed to prove its case. If there are further delays after the motion is made, the court may grant the motion.

Also, if the defendant’s right to a speedy and fair trial is jeopardized in any way, including a partial or biased jury or errors in criminal complaints, the court may dismiss the case. If a defendant is found “not guilty” of a criminal charge and the criminal case is dismissed, the charges still reflect on the individual’s criminal record.

How Do I Clear My Federal Criminal Record?

Clearing a federal criminal record can only be achieved legally with an expungement order or an order to seal a conviction otherwise known as a non-disclosure order. Both legal processes restrict public access to records; however, a sealed record still exists physically and legally, while an expunged record is deleted or destroyed permanently.

It is a common misconception that getting a pardon or a case dismissal are ways to clear federal criminal records. However, this is not the case, a dismissal or pardon may free a suspected offender of any charges or penalty, but the charges still reflect on the individual’s criminal history.

Expungements are rare in Federal courts, mostly because there are no specific set of laws guiding the process or its application, just a patchwork of rules for “special” circumstances.

For example, Under 18 U.S. C. 3607(c), only an individual who is found guilty of a minor drug offense under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C 844) may have their record expunged, provided the offender is under 21 years old at the time of the offense.

Other than these special circumstances, federal courts only have the authority to expunge criminal records when a conviction is found to be unjust or invalid due to government misconduct or clerical error.

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