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How do Federal Courts Handle Criminal Cases?


A federal criminal indictment has been in the national news recently. But federal criminal law and procedure is not something most of us know much about. So how can you learn more about federal criminal indictments and federal criminal procedure?

First one could look at the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. These are the rules that attorneys and the federal courts follow for federal criminal matters. Rules six through nine govern the indictment process. Other rules cover various aspects of the proceedings before, during, and after trial.

For more analysis and explanation of criminal justice proceedings, one could look at HeinOnline’s Criminal Justice & Criminology collection. This collection includes several law journal articles, books, Department of Justice publications, Congressional hearings, and Congressional Research Service reports, among others. WCCLS library card holders can access HeinOnline remotely.

The Washington County Law Library currently offers a couple eBooks that provide some information. The Ninth Circuit Criminal Handbook, and Criminal Procedure in Practice, 5th ed. While the Ninth Circuit Criminal Handbook is specific to the Ninth Circuit, the same federal rules and laws apply across the country. These can be accessed through our LexisNexis Digital Library.

The Law Library also offers some print books that talk about the federal criminal process:

  • Criminal Procedure, LeFave
  • Defending a Federal Criminal Case, Federal Defenders of San Diego
  • Federal Criminal Procedure Litigation Manual, Satlzburg
  • Federal Grand Jury Practice, Brenner
  • How to Become a Federal Criminal: An Illustrated Book for the Aspiring Offender, Chase

Last, Nolo publishes The Criminal Law Handbook: Know your Rights, Survive the System. Note that this is a broad introduction to U.S. criminal process including state and federal levels. This can be found at your local law library, local public library, or online via the State of Oregon Law Library.







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