Federal Court Records

Federal Court Records

A federal court records search is an important part of an overall background check. The United States is divided into 95 federal districts, with each district maintaining its own courts, judges, clerks, indices and other information specific to that district. These courts handle cases in which the crime occurred on federal property and/or federal laws were violated.

Privacy Protection

The Federal Courts have developed an extensive index of cases and names, but due to privacy concerns and internal policy decisions, access to personal identifying information is limited and presents a significant challenge in determining if a case matches a specific individual. In general, the policy regarding access to court records is to protect private information, while ensuring public access to case information, and requires that personal identifiers be removed or redacted before the records become public. In addition, certain types of documents may be unavailable to the general public.

Our Process: Personal Identifiers and FCRA Compliance

Justifacts’ criminal search at the federal level involves a search of the courts’ nationwide index of federal criminal information for a minimum of the last seven years. Once potential cases are identified, Justifacts will examine available court records for any personal identifiers that can match the case to the specific applicant being searched. These identifiers may consist of name (including middle name/initial), date of birth, address, signature, employers and any other information that can be used to connect a specific case to a specific applicant.

Additionally, if identifiers are not found or are redacted in the available court documentation, Justifacts contacts the court of record and attempts to have court personnel provide or verify personal information. Justifacts will also order file copies from the appropriate Federal Records Center.

Another source for obtaining identifying information is the US Bureau of Prisons, which maintains a database of current and former inmates along with their current age. Any individual whose sentence resulted in incarceration (1982 to present) at a federal prison will be included in this database, which is utilized by Justifacts as part of the federal background check to assist in matching a specific name to a particular case.

However, due to the redaction of personal information and policy decisions made by the courts, even after taking all of the steps described above, making a definitive match can be difficult. Due to concerns surrounding the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which requires the reporting of accurate information as it relates to a consumer/applicant, Justifacts will only report cases in which we are able to obtain at least two pieces of identifying information.

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