Series 1629
District Court (Fourth District) Criminal case files

Dates: 1889-1895.

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These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

These case files include the original complaint, summons, information, indictment, or arrest warrant together with all legal papers subsequently filed in connection with the court proceeding through disposition or dismissal. Case files document the legal process and the administration of justice in the newly created Fourth Judicial District as well as its predecessor, the Northern Division of the First Judicial District.

The Fourth District Court was created in 1892 from the Northern Division of the First District Court. The far-flung First District Court was divided into two geographic divisions from 1880-1892. The Northern Division included Box Elder, Cache, Morgan, Rich, and Weber counties. Proceedings from throughout the several counties that made up the northern division typically were heard in Ogden, Weber County. Cases from Weber County are most numerous but include matters from outlying counties. The court was required to hold a specified number of terms within the district each calendar year.

These case files document the legal process and the administration of justice in conjunction with criminal cases. Criminal cases include both felonies and misdemeanors. Recurrent criminal offenses include robbery, burglary, theft, riot, malicious destruction of property, extortion, distribution of unlawful substances, contempt, treason, desertion, assault, murder, etc. A criminal case is initiated with a complaint, information, indictment, or arrest warrant. Individual case files may include petitions to the court (including a petition for a writ of habeas corpus), complaints, transcripts of lower court dockets, injunctions, warrants of execution and confinement, warrants of death, notices of appeal, subpoenas, affidavits, orders to show cause, court orders to the jury or defendant, trial evidence, court judgment, and an enumeration of costs.

According to federal and territorial statutes, the district court has jurisdiction in all matters not prohibited by law. The District Court was restricted to adjudication of actions involving real property located within the Judicial District, those in which the defendant resides within the Judicial District, and those involving incidents occurring within the Judicial District. The court's appellate jurisdiction extends to all cases arising in probate, justice's, or U.S. Commissioners court. Upon receipt of an appeal, the district court conducted a complete retrial of the case. Certified copies of pertinent court documents were provided to the district court while the inferior court retained the original documents in its case file.



Case files are arranged numerically by consecutive case number. Criminal cases are designated 1-513 and were filed May 11, 1889, to September 14, 1895. Case numbers were assigned when the documents initiating the case were filed with the court clerk. Documents added subsequently to individual case files generally are arranged chronologically within the file. As criminal cases are considered an offense against the public, the plaintiff may variously be recorded originally as "People," "United States," or "Territory of Utah."

Related Records

Northern division civil and criminal case files from the District Court (First District), Series 1529, include files of criminal cases from the northern division of the First District Court adjudicated prior to the separation of territorial civil and criminal case files around 1888.

Minute books from the District Court (Fourth District), Series 5062, include minutes recorded during court terms held at Ogden, Weber County.

Criminal case files from the District Court (Second District : Weber County), Series 6954, include files of criminal cases adjudicated in Weber County after statehood. The state district courts for other northern Utah counties should also be checked.

Criminal registers of actions from the District Court (Fourth District), Series 17462, contain a chronological list of the documents filed and fees paid in connection with these criminal cases.

Criminal case indexes from the District Court (Second District : Weber County), Series 17463, record the names of defendants involved in criminal actions and provides assigned case numbers.

Civil and criminal registers of actions from the District Court (Fourth District), Series 17825, contain a chronological list of the documents filed and fees paid in connection with these criminal cases.

Territorial criminal case files from the Department of Administrative Services. Division Archives and Records Service, Series 24052, include a compilation of miscellaneous documents from the earliest surviving territorial criminal cases from each of the three judicial districts.

Custody History

Throughout the territorial period, case files were created and maintained by the clerk appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the judge of the District Court. The Northern Division of the First District Court created the criminal case files until the creation of the Fourth District Court in 1892. Custody of the files was assumed by the Fourth District Court. At statehood, the Weber Clerk was constitutionally designated as ex-officio clerk of Second District Court in and for Weber County. The county/district court clerk maintained custody of the case files until their transfer to the Utah State Archives.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public: UCA 63G-2-301 (1) (f) provides that judicial records are public unless restricted by the rules of criminal or civil procedure..

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

Since 1983, case files have been listed as permanent records in the records retention policy of the Utah Judicial Council. Microfilming of the original records was authorized by the court clerk, whose microfilm department filmed the records between October and December 1966. Archival processing of these records was completed in January 2002 by W. Glen Fairclough, Jr.

Finding Aids

Indexes: Series 17463, Criminal Case Indexes (1879-1947) indexes defendants. Other: A research guide entitled "Judicial/Court Records at the Utah State Archives" is available for patron use.

Indexing Terms

  • Post-conviction remedies—Utah.
  • Criminal justice, Administration of—Utah.
  • Utah—Actions and defenses—Cases.
  • Utah—Criminal courts.

Container List

1 1 1-92 [1889, May 11-1890, June 7; 1st District]
2 1 93-114 [1890, June 11-November 21; 1st District]
2 2 115-158 [1890, November 21-1891, February 6; 1st District]
3 2 159-162 [1891, February 6-April 21; 1st District]
4 2 162 [1892, September 14; 4th District]
3 2 163-200 [1891, April 21-November 13; 1st District]
3 3 201-231 [1891, November 13-1892, May 9; 1st District]
4 3 232-275 [1892, May 9-1893, February 21; 4th District]
4 4 276-293 [1893, February 27-1893, March 6; 4th District]
5 4 294-358 [1893, March 6-December 2; 4th District]
6 4 359-383 [1893, December 5-1893, December 26; 4th District]
6 5 384-434 [1894, February 20-1894, July 30; 4th District]
7 5 435-513 [1894, August 1-1895, September 14; 4th District]

Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.