Prosecutions for August 2017
Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Table 1. Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2017 the government reported 799 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 2.4 percent 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 2017 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was up (17%).
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 3.5 percent from levels reported in 2012.
Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Prosecutions
The leveling out 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. To view trends year-by-year rather than month-by-month, see TRAC's annual report series for a broader picture.
Cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in August 2017 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 64.8 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (14.4%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (11.6%), "Violence-Other" (3.6%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2%).
See Figure 2.
Figure 2. Specific Types of Prosecutions
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In August 2017, 133 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 August the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 involving "Firearms; Unlawful acts". This was the lead charge
for 67.7 percent of all magistrate filings in August.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (14.3%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In August 2017, 666 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during August there
were an additional 90 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 August.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during August 2017 referred by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Table 2. Top Charges Filed
"Firearms; Unlawful acts" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.
"Firearms; Unlawful acts" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "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 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.
Ranked 3rd was "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846.
"Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 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 1200 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 554
that involves " Smuggling goods from the United States ".
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 1800 percent — was registered for
prosecutions under "Other US Code Section " (Title U.S.C Section ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago — down 20 percent — was
" Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ).
This was the same statute that had the largest decrease — 70.4 % — when compared with five years ago.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In August 2017 the Justice Department said the government brought 282.2 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.
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)
The District of Vermont — with 1533 prosecutions as compared with 282.2 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during August 2017.
The Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington) ranked 2nd.
District of Alaska is now ranking 3rd.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville), now ranked
, and Eastern District of Texas (Tyler)
In the same order, these districts ranked 17th and 25th one year ago and 2nd and 11th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago — 450 percent — was
Northern District of Mississippi (Oxford).
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 146.2 percent — was
Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions — 27.6 percent — was
But over the past five years,
Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville)
showed the largest drop — 43.1 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 August 2017 are shown in Table 4.
A total of 4 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 14 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 18 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Gregory Frederick Van Tatenhove in the Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington) ranked 1st with 14 defendants in cases.
Judge Ron Clark in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) ranked 2nd with 13 defendants in cases.
Judge Richard D. Bennett in the District of Maryland ranked 3rd with 12 defendants in cases.
Report Generated: September 19, 2017