Prosecutions for October 2012

Referring Agency: Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security

Number Latest Month 8,143
Percent Change from previous month 0.6
Percent Change from 1 year ago 12.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 118.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) 10.3
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2012 the government reported 8143 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 up 0.6% 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 2012 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was up (12.2 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 118.2 percent from levels reported in 2007.

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 10.3 percent instead of 118.2 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 October 2012 was for "Immigration", accounting for 87.7 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (7.2%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In October 2012, 6606 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 October 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 53.2 percent of all magistrate filings in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (33.7%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2012, 1537 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October there were an additional 1492 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 October.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during October 2012referred by the Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,830 1 1 1 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 240 2 2 2 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 192 3 3 3 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 133 4 5 5 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 96 5 4 7 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 81 6 6 6 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 55 7 27 17 More
18 USC 1544 - Misuse of passport 38 8 12 27 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 34 9 10 10 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 30 10 8 8 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 300 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956 that involves " Laundering of monetary instruments ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—968.4 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 50.2 percent—was Attempt and conspiracy (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 28.2 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Bringing in and harboring certain aliens " (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 1183.9 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  
N Mexico 16,003 268 1 5 5 More
Cal, S 14,792 397 2 2 3 More
Texas, W 10,158 519 3 3 2 More
Texas, S 7,391 518 4 4 1 More
Arizona 6,477 356 5 1 4 More
La, M 2,287 15 6 73 86 More
N Dakota 1,484 8 7 27 54 More
S Dakota 1,477 10 8 41 60 More
Ark, W 1,391 15 9 45 41 More
Nebraska 1,336 20 10 19 42 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico—with 16003 prosecutions as compared with 1183.9 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during October 2012. The District of New Mexico was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego) ranked 2nd. The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 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 3 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 10th , and North Dakota at 7th In the same order, these districts ranked 19th and 27th one year ago and 42nd and 54th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 200 percent—was Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge). This was the same district that had the largest increase— 542.9 percent—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 37.7 percent—was Arizona .  But over the past five years, Southern District of Texas (Houston) showed the largest drop— 0.4 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 October 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 188 1 53 5 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 122 2 1 - More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 72 3 8 9 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 57 4 6 10 More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 57 4 18 29 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 56 6 12 2 More
Cardone, Kathleen Texas, W 56 6 7 7 More
Cerezo, Carmen Consuelo Puer Rico 55 8 87 143 More
Martinez, Philip Ray Texas, W 55 8 9 8 More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 51 10 10 6 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 9 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of filings per capita, while the remaining 1 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 188 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 122 defendants in cases. Judge Mosesalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 1).

  • Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 72 defendants in cases. Judge Hinojosa appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 8) and five years ago (rank 9).

Report Generated: February 6, 2013
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