Federal Court Records (Free Search)

Federal Court Records – Structure and Responsibility

Federal Court Records

Within the United States federal court system, you can find 12 circuit courts along with 94 district courts that sit below the United States Supreme court system. The district court system is responsible for holding the trial. District courts will hear general questions and general trials of federal law. You can also find federal court records within these courts.

The circuit court are only appellate courts meaning they do not hold trials but only hear the appeals on cases that have been decided by the lower court system. From the circuit court the only higher court in the United States of America would be the Supreme court.

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Compare the two court systems:

Circuit court:

Number of courts: 13
Case Type: Will appeal on trial cases that have already completed. The next step would be the Supreme court.
Number of judges per case: Three-judge panel.

District Court:

Number of courts: 94
Case Type: General trials of federal law.
Number of judges per case: One.

Role of the District courts

The district court has geographic areas that it will hear issues regarding litigation on federal law cases. These cases are not limited to but can include felonies, divorce, criminal cases, DUI cases and more. Within these cases once a judge rules on a decision these cases can be appealed.

The district courts will differ from the circuit court as the district court can sentence and issue penalties within the case as the circuit courts will not. Keep in mind that if a district court is appealed then it can move up the circuit level. The circuit court only hears appeals on federal cases.

From the circuit level the only step up for a case would be to the Supreme Court, and at the highest level the U.S. Supreme court will only hear or except about 1% of these cases.

Federal Courts by Zone


United States Court of Appeals

Find Public Records within the Federal courts

Finding public records can take time by having to visit court houses in your area. If the person your searching is not in your area getting to the court house where the issue or crime took place can be impossible for some. Running a public record check by using a public record search service is a great first step in the process.