Federal Court Jurisdictions
When if comes to figuring out the federal court system in the United States and where your case will go, it really has to do with where the alleged crime took place and then that jurisdiction will be the one that the case goes to. So, it will be closes federal court to the jurisdiction where the crime took place.
Now, this can get confusing sometimes because sometimes a crime can take place in multiple jurisdictions and that just, I think, really has to do with what law enforcement agency — the FBI or whoever the federal investigators are — gets involved with it and then that’s probably going to dictate where the case ends up.
Another thing that is confusing to people is, how come my case is going to federal court instead of state court. The feds pick and choose their cases. There’s a lot of cases that could be prosecuted federally or criminally, but the feds have certain policies which dictate which cases they’re going to deal with and which cases they’re not going to deal with.
So, trying to get into the inner workings of that is not going to be very easy, especially for somebody who’s never been involved in the court system. But suffice to say, if you’ve got a federal criminal case it’s going to be prosecuted in whatever jurisdiction that you are.
Roybal Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles
For example, the central district’s here in Los Angeles. If you’ve got a case, it’s going to start out at the Roybal building. You’ll be sent to the courtroom there, that pretty much does all the post-indictment arraignments. You’ll be given your charges, the indictment. You’ll eventually be assigned to court. You’ll be entitled to argue whether you get released or detained by the federal system and then you’ll end up being assigned to a judge. Then the case will either stay at the Roybal building or be moved to the new federal courthouse that was built on First Street near Broadway not too long ago.
Ronald Regan Federal Court in Santa Ana
There’s also other courts close to this jurisdiction. Orange County has a court, Santa Ana federal court. It’s a Ronald Reagan court. So, cases in that jurisdiction near Santa Ana are obviously going to be prosecuted there. There’s federal courts all over the place — all over the nation for that matter. So, when it comes to fifing out our court, you’re going to want to sit down with your attorney.
Your attorney will be able to contact the agents, the prosecutor and also either court system and then be able to tell you exactly where your case is being prosecuted, what the tendencies are with that particular courthouse — the judges and the prosecutors — and then you should be able to get a pretty good feel for what you’re up against.
Of course, a lot of it is going to be dictated not just by the courthouse, but also by your criminal record, what you did in this particular case and the extent of the damage that you allegedly caused — whether it was a theft and there’s a bunch of money lost, the amount of drugs that were involved if it’s a drug case.
There’s a whole bunch of different scenarios that can crop up in federal criminal cases. But establishing your courthouse, figuring out where it is, who’s in charge of your case is important because then you’re going to know whether you’re dealing with a conservative entity or whether it’s more liberal and forgiving and reasonable because that’s going to dictate how you litigate your federal criminal case — whether you’re going to need to take a hard line and fight everything or whether it makes more sense to try to be cooperative and work with the prosecutors based on your circumstances.
Consult with Our Law Firm to Develop a Strategy
Obviously, no one’s going to be able to make that decision. No one’s going to be able to tell you that unless and until they have all the information related to your case, have talked to the prosecutor, have looked at the discovery related to your case, and then of course, talk to you about it and got your input on the case and then you start to make your decision as to exactly how you’re going to handle the case, what moves are going to be made, what evidence is going to be brought forward, what motions might be filed, whether you’re going to negotiate with the prosecutors are not, whether you’re going to go to jury trial.
So, pick up the phone if you’ve got a federal case and you’re trying to figure out what court it’s in and exactly how the case is going to play out. Your first move is to meet with a seasoned federal criminal defense attorney and let them begin the process of guiding you through the system and getting you out of it as fast as possible.