How to Find Records of Federal Sentencing Trials

By Don Davis
Federal trial records are available for public viewing on PACER.

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Federal judicial records, most reporters would agree, are much easier to access than state and local records. All actions in federal court, including all motions, judgments and sentencings in criminal, civil and bankruptcy cases are uploaded daily to a system called Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). Every federal district and appeals court participates. Court documents are stored in Adobe Acrobat format. There is no charge to download decisions. Other records, including all records pertinent to sentencings, can be downloaded for 8 cents a page.

Go to the PACER registration page and create an account. You must have a valid credit card to access federal court records through PACER. Your user ID and password will be emailed to you.

Log in to your PACER account. Click the "Search for Case Information" tab at the top of the page.

Select the "criminal" tab on the "Case Locator" page. All sentencings are criminal matters.

Enter a case number if you know it. Enter a party name and select a court if you know that information. Click "Search."

Select one of the cases your query returns. Select "Display All Documents."

Search through the list for all documents that contain the word "sentencing."

About the Author

Don Davis has been a professional writer since 1977. He has had numerous writing jobs, including writing news and features for the "Metrowest Daily News" and "Los Angeles Herald-Examiner." Davis has a Bachelor of Arts in English and history from Indiana State University.

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