Prosecutions for December 2013
Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2013 the government reported 477 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 down 15.7% 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 down (-14.5 percent).
Prosecutions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago.
Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are down 25 percent from levels reported in 2008.
Figure 1: Monthly trends in prosecutions
The decrease 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 December 2013 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 56 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen
" (19.7%), "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (16.8%), "Violence-Other" (3.1%).
See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In December 2013, 50 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 December the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 involving the "Firearms; Unlawful acts". This was the lead charge
for 66 percent of all magistrate filings in December.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (14%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In December 2013, 427 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during December there
were an additional 64 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 December.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during December 2013referred 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 "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.
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 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in prosecutions—up 30.3 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951
that involves " Hobbs Act
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—400 percent—was registered for
prosecutions under " Misprision of Felony
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 4 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 75.6 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— 80 %—when compared with five years ago.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In December 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 187.7 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 Maryland—with 1060 prosecutions as compared with 187.7 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during December 2013.
The Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) ranked 2nd.
District of Rhode Island is now ranking 3rd.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Western District of North Carolina (Asheville), now ranked
, and Eastern District of Texas (Tyler)
In the same order, these districts ranked 13th and 16th one year ago and 30th and 21st five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 132.1 percent—was
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 192.9 percent—was
Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 38.3 percent—was
New Mexico .
But over the past five years,
showed the largest drop— 35 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 December 2013 are shown in Table 4.
A total of 8 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 4 judges were from other districts.
(Because of ties, there were a total of 12 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge George Levi Russell, III in the District of Maryland ranked 1st with 27 defendants in cases.
Judge John D. Love in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) ranked 2nd with 20 defendants in cases.
Judge Deborah K. Chasanow in the District of Maryland ranked 3rd with 16 defendants in cases.
Report Generated: February 11, 2014