Most people who are accused of a crime are treated like criminals. I fight to preserve your rights and keep you out of jail. I am Boise, Idaho criminal defense and DUI attorney Chuck Peterson, and for nearly thirty-five years I have been a trial lawyer. I focus on providing the best defense possible to my clients facing criminal charges, and trying the best possible case for my clients in civil actions. In every case I try to bring a sense of reason to the situation, and search for the real story. Every case is a story. We need to know what really happened? And why? Those are the questions that jurors will ask. I have tried hundreds of civil and criminal cases, and represented people in virtually every level of legal proceeding – from simple misdemeanors to complex felony cases, in state and federal courts throughout the United States. My felony experience includes drug charges, sex offenses, aggravated assault and battery, murder, manslaughter, fraud, robbery, theft, and racketeering.
I started my lawyer life in the Army, as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, assigned to the 4th Infantry Division. I learned early the value of getting the facts right. My cases included murder, espionage and the usual type of criminal charges brought against soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
Over the past year I have represented two men wrongly accused of committing sexual assault, with the dismissal of all charges in one case and acquittal of the all charges in the other. We approach these types of cases – sexual assault, domestic violence, assault by or on children – with this same underlying premise: every client deserves to be treated with dignity and represented with passion. Being accused is not the same as being convicted.
In Boise, Idaho – where I hang my shingle – I teamed up with Gerry Spence to successfully defend Randy Weaver against charges that he murdered a U.S. Marshall. After Randy was acquitted, we won $3.1 million for Randy’s children, who had lost their mother and brother at Ruby Ridge. I was lucky enough to join David Nevin, Scott McKay and Dean Arnold in their defense of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen. Sami was charged with providing material support to terrorists in one of the first such cases brought by the United States after the attack on the Twin Towers. Sami was not a terrorist and the jurors set him free. And more recently I joined with attorney Charles Craft in defense of a 14-year-old kid who was charged with murdering his father. Our client claimed his dad had been sexually abusing him for more than a year. Zachary Neagle ultimately pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is undergoing treatment in Idaho Juvenile Corrections. Keeping Zach out of adult prison may have been my most important challenge.
A couple years ago my partner (and daughter) Courtney Peterson and I represented Fazliddin Kurbanov in a terrorism trial in federal court. The trial kept us running from July to August, and for the two years it took to prepare. A jury said FK was guilty of providing material support to terrorists, but resisted charges that he had intended to build explosives and harm Americans. Sentencing comes up after the first of the year, and then there is the appeal. We don’t quit.
And we are co-counsel to Gerry Spence’s law firm in the case of a rancher, Jack Yantis, who was needlessly killed by Adams County Sheriff’s deputies. More to come on that case too as we investigate the facts and decide whether there is a civil rights or wrongful death case to bring on behalf of Jack’s wife and nephew.
This blog is not just about criminal defense. I also write about civil cases – wrongful death, personal injury, and civil rights. I have tried civil cases involving racketeering and fraud, and argued to protect our first amendment rights to speak and worship freely, or not at all. And it is about lawyering – the business of standing up as a lawyer and being an advocate for your client – no matter how unpopular the client or cause may be.
I am lucky to practice in association with Gerry Spence’s law firm in Jackson, Wyoming. Those lawyers are some of the most committed and brilliant minds in the country, so when I get the chance to spend time and work cases with them, I go to Jackson. Like each of them, I am a graduate of the Trial Lawyers College.
Here is some of the other stuff about me that you may want to know:
- Defense of criminal cases, including racketeering, fraud, murder, drug crimes, sex offenses and other serious felony cases
- Defense of driving under the influence cases (DUI)
- Plaintiff’s injury, wrongful death and civil rights cases
- Plaintiff’s defamation and insurance bad faith
- Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Gonzaga University School of Law; JD (magna cum laude); 1981
- Gonzaga University; BA (Psychology – magna cum laude); 1978
- Idaho State Bar
- Washington State Bar (inactive)
My work in defense of Randy Weaver in the Ruby Ridge case is discussed in “Every Knee Shall Bow,” by Jess Walter (Regan Books/Harper Collins 1995), and in “Ambush at Ruby Ridge,” by Alan W. Bock (Dickens Press 1995). I received the Clarence Darrow Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho for my work on the defense of Sami Al-Hussayen. I am listed in The Best Lawyers In America, 2008 – 2015 Editions, and for the past twenty-eight years I have received the “Preeminent AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the country’s premier lawyer rating service. Less than 5% of the lawyers in the country have this rating. Best Lawyers In America says our firm rates in the top tier of its ratings too.
I am joined in my practice by Attorney Courtney Peterson, my daughter. Courtney adds experience from the dark side – she was a city prosecutor in a former life. Glad to have her aboard. In addition to Courtney’s experience in criminal defense, she has focussed her practice toward children and will be accepting child custody cases and juvenile matters. Flattering picture to follow soon – I really mean it this time. Just as soon as she lets me.
And we have added Will Young to the mix. Will is an attorney with a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong. He is busy trying cases and assisting us in matters great and small.
Finally, we continue to be cared for and directed by Patty Stradley, our paralegal. She is so much more than that! Clients rave about how much she cares for them and their cases. We know that to be true.
Looking for justice? Give us a call!