The Federal Defender Services of Idaho has announced that it has hired criminal defense attorney Charles (Chuck) Peterson as its executive director. He succeeds Samuel Richard “Dick” Rubin, who retired after more than 25 years and will now serve as one of the organization’s 13 volunteer board members. He brings to the organization more than three decades of criminal defense experience at the state and federal levels, including the acquittals of the Ruby Ridge defendants and Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a University of Idaho graduate student charged with federal terrorism offenses.
Peterson has a law degree from Gonzaga University and began his practice as a judge advocate general in the United States Army. He has been in private practice in Boise since 1985 and during that time, he has accepted appointments from the federal court to represent indigent defendants as part of the criminal justice act panel. He has trained and mentored lawyers across the state. He is a member of the Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and he has professional honors, including Martindale Pre-Eminent AV from 1992 to present, and Best Lawyers in America (Criminal Defense) from 2008 to present. He will oversee a staff of more than 30 attorneys, investigators, paralegals and support staff. He will also continue to carry a caseload and frequently appear in federal court.
FDSI is a nonprofit, community defender organization for the District of Idaho with offices in Boise and Pocatello. In addition to the trial unit, FDSI has a capital habeas unit in the Boise office. FDSI is organized under 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(g)(2)(B) and represents indigent persons accused of criminal offenses in federal court as well as persons under death sentences, mainly in Idaho but also in other states. FDSI is independent from the local federal judiciary and funded by a sustaining grant awarded by Congress under the Criminal Justice Act. A thirteen-member board of directors oversees the work of the organization. Clients represented by the trial unit can be charged with a variety of federal offenses including those related to immigration, drugs, firearms, financial matters including fraud, bankruptcy and taxes, child pornography, bank robbery, human trafficking, national security matters and cases arising on Indian reservations located in Idaho. Many of the FDSI attorneys and support personnel have been nationally recognized as being outstanding in their respective fields.