The United States Attorneys Mission Statement
The U.S. Attorney’s Office’s mission is to litigate cases on behalf of its client, the United States of America. U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) lawyers and staff use the following principles to guide their mission: (1) do justice; (2) be good citizens of the community and the bar; (3) effectively represent the federal government in the state of Idaho; and (4) be part of an effective, efficient government agency.
The United States Department of Justice has been called "the largest law firm in the world" and "the people's law firm." The U.S. Attorney represents the Department of Justice in Idaho, enforcing federal law to ensure the health and safety of Idaho's citizens.
The Department of Justice is headed by the Attorney General, the nation's top legal officer. Under the Attorney General are 94 federal districts encompassing the 50 states and four territories, each served by a U.S. Attorney. U.S. Attorneys are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate, and serve directly under the Attorney General. The U.S. Attorney is the highest-ranking official of the Department of Justice in Idaho.
Many states have more than one federal district - and therefore more than one U.S. Attorney - and some have as many as four. The entire state of Idaho, however, with its 83,000 square miles and nearly 1.5 million people, is one federal district, with one U.S. Attorney.
The U.S. Attorney should not be confused with the Idaho State Attorney General, whose responsibilities encompass state law. The U.S. Attorney prosecutes federal crimes, enforces federal law on Indian Reservations and federal facilities, enforces civil statutes and defends the United States against lawsuits. The United States Attorney, however, does not generally represent individuals in private litigation.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho has about 56 employees, including 25 lawyers who are called Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs). The U.S. Attorney's main office is located in Boise, with branch offices in Pocatello and Coeur d'Alene.
The North Idaho branch office opened in 1996. There are currently three attorneys and two legal assistant in the office, with additional support provided by the main office in Boise. The North Idaho office covers the ten northern counties of Idaho, which stretch 300 miles from the Salmon River to the Canadian border. Its territory includes the cities of Sandpoint, Coeur d'Alene, Lewiston and Moscow, the Kootenai, Coeur d'Alene and Nez Perce Indian Reservations, and all or part of seven national forests. The Coeur d'Alene office handles cases assigned to the U.S. District Court chambers in Coeur d'Alene and Moscow. Its caseload is varied, consisting of everything from misdemeanor tickets to violence in Indian Country, large-scale drug cases, bank robberies and certain homicides.
The Eastern Idaho Branch office opened in 1999 in the new U.S. District Courthouse. It currently houses three attorneys, two legal assistants and a student employee. The office's territory encompasses 18 counties, from the eastern end of the Magic Valley to the Wyoming and Montana borders. It includes the cities of Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Burley, the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Reservation at Fort Hall, the Idaho National Laboratory, all or part of six national forests and thousands of acres of Bureau of Land Management land. The office handles cases assigned to the U.S. District Court chambers in Pocatello. Its caseload includes serious felonies committed on the reservation, large-scale drug cases, bank robberies and certain homicides, as well as misdemeanor tickets associated with the public lands in its territory.