The United States Attorneys Mission Statement
Our mission is to provide the United States of America and the people of the State of Idaho with high quality and professional legal representation and maintain the highest ethical standards in our pursuit of justice. We are wholly committed to the promotion of the public good and the safety and prosperity of our community through the prosecution of criminal offenses against the United States; the prosecution or defense of the government in civil actions, suits, or proceedings in which the United States is concerned; and, active participation in our communities, including our legal community, to enrich Idaho’s quality of life.
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 83,557 square miles and nearly 1.5 million people, is one federal district, with one Acting U.S. Attorney, Rafael Gonzalez.
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 70 employees, including 30 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 northern Idaho branch office opened in 1996. There are currently three attorneys and two legal assistants in the office, with additional support provided by the main office in Boise. The northern Idaho office covers the ten northern counties of Idaho, which stretch 300 miles from the Salmon River to the Canadian border. The northern division 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. 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 then-new U.S. District Courthouse. It currently houses four attorneys, two legal assistants, and a student employee. The eastern Idaho office covers the 18 eastern counties in Idaho, from the eastern end of the Magic Valley to the Wyoming and Montana borders. The division 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 Fort Hall reservation, large-scale drug cases, bank robberies and certain homicides, as well as misdemeanor tickets associated with the public lands in eastern Idaho.