U.S. Pretrial Officers are responsible for investigating defendants charged with a federal crime, recommending in a report to the Court whether to release or detain the defendants, and supervise those defendants who are released to the community while they await their court hearing. Officers deliver services that benefit the Court, the community, and the defendant. Their responsibilities require them to work with federal judges, magistrate judges, U.S. Attorneys, defense attorneys, state and local law enforcement agents, and treatment providers.
The pretrial services investigation, which forms the basis of the officer's report to the Court, requires the officer to interview the defendant, and to confirm the information the defendant conveys through collateral sources. The investigation begins when the officer is first informed a defendant has been arrested. The arresting or case agent calls the U.S. Pretrial Services Office and, ideally, provides information about the defendant (such as the defendant's name, date of birth, Social Security Number, the charges, the circumstances surrounding the arrest, and where the defendant can be interviewed). Information learned from collateral sources (i.e..: from other persons, documents, and on-line research), may verify what the defendant said, contradict it, or provide further information. The officer's investigation, may include contacting the defendant's family and associates to confirm background information, employers to verify employment, law enforcement agencies to obtain a criminal history, financial institutions to obtain bank or credit card statements, and the motor vehicle administration to check the defendant's license and registration. The interview may take place in the U.S. Marshal's holding cell, the arresting law enforcement agency's office, the local jail, or the Pretrial Services Office. During the interview, the officer speaks to the defendant in private if possible, remains objective while interacting with the defendant, and explains that the information will be used to decide whether the defendant will be released or detained. The officer does not discuss the alleged offense or the defendant's guilt or innocence. The officer also does not give legal advice to the defendant or recommend an attorney.