District Court (First District) Northern division civil and criminal case files
Dates: i 1878-1891.
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
An agency history is available.
Scope and Content
An original complaint, summons, indictment or arrest warrant which initiate a legal action together with all legal papers subsequently filed in connection with the civil or criminal proceeding through disposition or dismissal of the case make up these case files. Case files document the legal process and the administration of justice in the First Judicial District. Civil cases include suits to recover money, petitions for divorce, and writs of habeas corpus. Criminal cases include both felonies and misdemeanors. Recurrent criminal offenses may include robbery, burglary, theft, forgery, malicious destruction of property, assault, murder, etc. Although the far flung First District Court was divided into two geographic divisions (northern and southern), only files from the Northern Division are included in this series. The Northern Division, which typically met at Ogden in Weber County, included Box Elder, Cache, Morgan, and Weber counties. The northern division became the newly created territorial fourth judicial district in 1892. The court was required to hold a specified number of terms within the district each calendar year. Matters from throughout the several counties which made up the Northern Division were heard in Ogden, Weber County. Cases from Weber County are most numerous but matters from outlying counties are included.
Numerical by case number.
The case number assigned by the court is essential to locate the desired case file. Researchers should first consult one of the indices or registers of actions listed in the "Finding Aids" section to find the unique case number corresponding to the appropriate case file. Confusion may arise when documents and case files are inscribed with two or more case numbers. Cases on appeal may include the number first used by the inferior court as well as that later assigned by the district court. Sometimes a number was written in error and, later, corrected. As criminal cases are considered an offense against the public, the plaintiff may variously be recorded originally as "People" or "United States." Warrants from some unlawful cohabitation prosecution cases are included. Although a separate filing arrangement for criminal cases was instituted in 1889, some criminal cases continued to be filed using the old civil and criminal system until 1891.
Criminal case files from the District Court (Fourth District), Series 1629, include criminal case files from the northern division of the First District Court.
Plaintiff's index from the District Court (Fourth District), Series 1666, indexes civil case files.
Minute books from the District Court (Fourth District), Series 5062, detail information noted in the minutes
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, index these criminal cases.
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 civil and criminal cases.
Plaintiff index from the District Court (First District), Series 21018, indexes plaintiffs involved in these case files.
Civil case indexes from the District Court (Second District : Weber County), Series 21933, index the civil cases.
Case files were maintained by the court clerk appointed by district court judges in the 3rd and 1st districts. At statehood, the county clerk was designated ex-officio court clerk. The county/district court clerk maintained custody of the case files until their transfer to the Utah State Archives.
This series is available on microfilm.
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..
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
Gaps in Series
Civil cases filed in the First Judicial District Court from September 1891 until the creation of the Fourth Judicial District Court in March 1892, as well as those filed in the new district, are unaccounted for. Random case files from 1878-1891 are also missing. Criminal matters account for most of the missing files. After the adoption of a new numbering system for criminal case files in 1889, criminal case files intermittently were filed in both the old and new systems. The overlapping methods contribute to the appearance of gaps in both arrangements. The granting of amnesty before statehood accounts for some missing files.
Archival processing of these records was completed in May 2003 by W. Glen Fairclough, Jr. The finding aid was updated by James Kichas in February 2010.