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How do I search for Federal criminal records?

federal district criminal courthouse

Criminal offenses that fall into the federal level, can only be found at US District Courts (USDC).

Larger populated states may have 4 federal jurisdictions while smaller states may have just one federal jurisdiction. You may search files physically at the court or electronically through the federal government’s PACER system.

When screening employees or government bid sub-contractors, a federal criminal search is always strongly recommended. Often, and based on our experience – we have found potential employees that have no records at the state or county level criminal searches, yet past criminal activity has been found at the federal US District Court level. For obvious reasons, no local crimes were committed as they were busy serving a sentence at a federal correctional institute.

Tip: Most government contracts require a federal criminal search included in the contractor’s background check. Additionally, you may want to consider ordering a federal search for employees with clearance access to company financial information and/or proprietary trade secrets.

  • Turnaround time is normally within 24 hours
  • Common name (i.e, John Smith, Carlos Perez, etc.) combinations may take longer
  • Providing a middle name helps a lot
  • Price $17 per Federal Jurisdiction

Federal criminal records search is an art, not a science

Unlike nationwide criminal database searches, the vast majority of federal criminal cases do not provide a DOB or Social Security number. Thus, it is a very time-consuming search when searching for a common first and last name combination. While we make every effort to seek federal cases at a national level, we must limit searches for a common name combination to the jurisdictional level federal district court.

For instance, if searching for John Smith, we must download every official court document on the case docket. California Central District may contain over 100 “John Smith” just at that location! to then manually review each document for a date of birth, birth year, or an address that we can relate to the search subject. In most cases, those identifiers have been redacted. Federal criminal searching is a very time-consuming and tedious process for all court researchers, not to mention the cost of each document downloaded. Beware of background screening companies that only search the Federal Inmate locator using the pretext that if a subject was convicted, it would be found there. Otherwise, it should not be reported as they most likely were not convicted. That could not be any further from the truth. There are plenty of federal criminal offenders that have been convicted and sentenced to probation with no prison time. In addition, if a person is currently awaiting sentencing — you won’t find it yet at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

As of today, in about 98% of federal cases — all identifiers (DOB, SSN, Address) in the PACER Federal USDC database have been redacted (wiped out, not just truncated). Read more

Did you know?

Federal criminal offenses are violations of federal law as opposed to state or local municipal laws and are not found at local county criminal courts.

What is an indictment?

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

What type of cases are found at Federal Criminal Courts?

Record of these crimes can only be found in the US District Federal Courts (USDC). Crimes listed below fall into the federal jurisdiction:

  • Drug Trafficking
  • Computer Fraud & Hacking
  • Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO Act)
  • Fraud by Wire
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Internet related
  • Kidnapping
  • Mail Fraud
  • Espionage
  • Money Laundering
  • Health Care & Medicare Fraud
  • Tax Evasion
  • Stocks and Securities Related Crimes
  • Bank Fraud and Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Counterfeiting
  • Bank Robbery
  • Racketeering

Federal Criminal Search Report

Average completion time is 24-48 hours.

U.S. District Court
Southern District of Georgia (Savannah)

Case title: USA v. Jones
Date Filed: 10/12/2012
Date Terminated: 10/26/2014

Assigned to: Judge Ian T. Fleming
Referred to: Magistrate Judge F. Lee Smith
Defendant (1)
Ebenezer Jones DOB: 04/20/1974
TERMINATED: 10/26/2014

Represented by Jerry Brown
Brown & Shapiro, PC
150 Freedom Tower Suite PH3 Savannah, GA 31401
912-555-1210 Fax: 912-555-1211

Designation: CJA Appointment
Pending Counts: None
Disposition: Highest Offense Level (Opening): None
Terminated Counts: None
Disposition: Highest Offense Level (Terminated): None Disposition:

21:846, 841(a)(1) & (b)(1)(D) Conspiracy. Possessed with intent to distribute and distribute marijuana
Final Disposition: Defendant is hereby committed to the custody of the USBOP for a term of 9 months as to each count,
to be served concurrently with each other.

USA represented by Bill McCarron
U.S. Attorney’s Office – Savannah
P.O. Box 35123
Savannah, GA 31412

Date Filed
# Docket Text
8/6/2012 1 TRANSFER OF JURISDICTION for Supervision of Releasee Ebenezer Jones Received certified copies of indictment, judgment and docket sheet from Middle District of North Carolina (jgb) (Entered: 08/14/2012)
8/14/2012 TERMINATE CASE (jgb) (Entered: 08/14/2012)
5/20/2013 2 MOTION to Modify Conditions of Release by USA as to Ebenezer Jones Responses due by
6/8/2013 (jgb) (Entered: 05/21/2013)
5/20/2013 3 ORDER granting 2 Motion to Modify Conditions of Release as to Ebenezer Jones. (1). Signed by Chief Judge Ian T. Fleming on 5/20/09. (jgb) (Entered: 05/21/2013)
5/26/2014 4 MOTION to Modify Conditions or Term of Supervision as to Ebenezer Jones (fbh) (Entered: 05/26/2014)
5/26/2014 5 ORDER granting 4 Motion to Modify Conditions or Term of Supervision as to Ebenezer Jones. (1). Signed by Judge Ian T. Fleming on 5/25/2014 (fbh) (Entered: 05/26/2014)
9/6/2014 7 DEFENDANT INFORMATION SHEET as to Ebenezer Jones (mah) (Entered: 09/06/2014)
9/15/2014 Attorney update in case as to Ebenezer Jones Attorney Jerry Brown for Ebenezer Jones added. (sff) (Entered: 09/15/2014)
9/15/2014 9 NOTICE OF HEARING as to Ebenezer Jones Initial Appearance on Revocation Proceedings set for 10/4/2014 09:00 AM in Savannah – Mag Jud Courtroom before Magistrate Judge F. Lee Smith. Preliminary
Revocation Hearing set for 10/4/2014 09:00 AM in Savannah – Mag Jud Courtroom before Magistrate Judge F. Lee Smith. (sff) (Entered: 09/15/2014)
9/21/2014 10 NOTICE OF ATTORNEY APPEARANCE: Jerry Brown appearing for Ebenezer Jones
Probation revocation (Brown, Jerry) (Entered: 09/21/2014)
9/28/2014 11 CJA 20 as to Ebenezer Jones: Appointment of Attorney Jerry Brown. Signed by Magistrate
Judge F. Lee Smith on 9/15/2014. (mah) Modified on 10/6/2014 (mah). (Entered: 09/28/2014)
10/3/2014 12 WAIVER of Preliminary Hearing by Ebenezer Jones (Brown, Jerry) (Entered: 10/03/2014)
10/3/2014 13 *****NOTICE OF HEARING CANCELLATION as to Ebenezer Jones Initial Appearance on Revocation Proceedings set for 10/4/2014 09:00 AM in Savannah – Mag Jud Courtroom before Magistrate Judge F. Lee Smith. Preliminary Revocation Hearing set for 10/4/2014 09:00 AM in Savannah – Mag Jud Courtroom before Magistrate Judge F. Lee Smith. HEARINGS CANCELLED – WAIVER SIGNED(sff) (Entered: 10/03/2014)
10/17/2014 14 NOTICE OF HEARING as to Ebenezer Jones Final Hearing re Revocation of Supervised Release
set for 10/24/2014 @ 10:00 AM in Savannah – 3rd Floor before Judge Ian T. Fleming Jr.. (IAT) (Entered: 10/17/2014)
10/24/2014 15 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Ian T. Fleming: Final Hearing re Revocation of Supervised Release as to Ebenezer Jones held on 10/24/2014 (Court Reporter Maria Gouzieta.) (jgb) (Entered: 10/24/2014)
10/26/2014 16 Judgment on Revocation as to Ebenezer Jones re 6 MOTION on Revocation of Supervised Release on
Complaint filed by USA. Defendant is hereby committed to the custody of the USBOP for a term of 9 months as to each count, to be served concurrently with each other. Signed by Judge Ian T. Fleming on 10/26/2014. (mah) (Entered:
12/7/2014 17 CJA 20 as to Ebenezer Jones: Authorization to Pay Jerry Brown. Amount: $ 987.12,. Signed by Judge Ian T. Fleming on 12/7/2014. (mah) (Entered: 12/07/2014)