Prosecutions for February 2013

Referring Agency: Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security

Number Latest Month 8,025
Percent Change from previous month -14.0
Percent Change from 1 year ago 20.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 90.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) 6.4
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during February 2013 the government reported 8025 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 14% over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants charged are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. (See Table 1)

When monthly 2013 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was up (20.6 percent). Prosecutions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are up 90.9 percent from levels reported in 2008.

The substantial growth in these cases is partly related to increases in the matters filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. If magistrate cases are excluded and only Federal District Court cases are counted, the overall increase in prosecutions is 6.4 percent instead of 90.9 percent. The evidence suggests that part of the difference may be the result of improvements in the recording of the magistrate cases by the Justice Department.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in prosecutions

The increase from the levels five years ago in prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of prosecutions of this type recorded on a month-to-month basis. Where a prosecution was initially filed in U.S. Magistrate Court and then transferred to the U.S. District Court, the magistrate filing date was used since this provides an earlier indicator of actual trends. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. The one and five-year rates of change in Table 1 and in the sections that follow are all based upon this six-month moving average.

Cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.

The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in February 2013 was for "Immigration", accounting for 87.5 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (7.3%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In February 2013, 6815 defendants in cases for these matters were filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. These courts handle less serious misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses." In addition, complaints are sometimes filed in the magistrate courts before an indictment or information is entered. In these cases, the matter starts in the magistrate courts and later moves to the district court where subsequent proceedings take place.

In the magistrate courts in February the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 involving the "Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.". This was the lead charge for 54.2 percent of all magistrate filings in February.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (33.5%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In February 2013, 1210 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during February there were an additional 1218 defendants whose cases moved from the magistrate courts to the U.S. district courts after an indictment or information was filed. The sections which follow cover both sets of cases and therefore cover all matters filed in district court during February.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during February 2013referred by the Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,407 1 1 1 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 189 2 2 2 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 187 3 3 3 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 128 4 5 5 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 66 5 4 7 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 46 6 6 6 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 42 7 8 8 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 33 8 9 11 More
08 USC 1325 - Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. 21 9 7 4 More
18 USC 1544 - Misuse of passport 20 10 10 21 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Bringing in and harboring certain aliens" under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324. "Bringing in and harboring certain aliens" under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841. "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 23.9 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 that involves " Firearms; Unlawful acts ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—566.7 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Misuse of passport " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1544 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 58 percent—was Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 77.1 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In February 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 949 prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of prosecutions that are filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of prosecutions per capita for these matters last month are shown in Table 3. Districts must have at least 5 prosecutions to receive a ranking.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Cal, S 13,823 371 1 3 3 More
N Mexico 12,360 207 2 5 5 More
Texas, W 7,340 375 3 2 2 More
Texas, S 6,692 469 4 4 1 More
Arizona 3,784 208 5 1 4 More
N Dakota 1,670 9 6 28 49 More
Nebraska 1,603 24 7 24 38 More
Texas, E 1,494 44 8 30 22 More
Fla, S 1,151 64 9 7 7 More
Nevada 1,090 24 10 39 23 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego)—with 13823 prosecutions as compared with 949 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during February 2013. The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The District of New Mexico ranked 2nd. The District of New Mexico was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • Western District of Texas (San Antonio) is now ranking 3rd. The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Nebraska , now ranked 7th , and North Dakota at 6th In the same order, these districts ranked 24th and 28th one year ago and 38th and 49th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 140 percent—was Nevada . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 137.5 percent—was North Dakota .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 43.6 percent—was Arizona .  But over the past five years, Western District of Texas (San Antonio) showed the largest drop— 9.4 percent.

Top Ranked District Judges

At any one time, there are about 680 federal District Court judges working in the United States. The judges recorded with the largest number of new crime cases of this type during February 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 170 1 2 2 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 82 2 1 - More
Ramos, Nelva Gonzales Texas, S 69 3 27 - More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 54 4 22 11 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 47 5 12 8 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 42 6 11 4 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 41 7 9 6 More
Briones, David Texas, W 38 8 7 10 More
Saldana, Diana Texas, S 35 9 36 525 More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 35 9 8 7 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

All 10 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of filings per capita.

  • Judge Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 170 defendants in cases. Judge Brack appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 2) and five years ago (rank 2).

  • Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 82 defendants in cases. Judge Mosesalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 1).

  • Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 69 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: April 23, 2013
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