Prosecutions for July 2013

Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Number Latest Month 625
Percent Change from previous month -15.3
Percent Change from 1 year ago -2.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -8.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -11.0
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during July 2013 the government reported 625 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 15.3% 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 only slightly down (-2 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 8.9 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

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 July 2013 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 55.5 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" ( 21.8%), "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (16%), "Violence-Other" (2.7%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In July 2013, 81 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 July 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 59.3 percent of all magistrate filings in July.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (13.6%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In July 2013, 544 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during July there were an additional 47 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 July.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during July 2013referred by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 300 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 67 2 3 3 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 36 3 2 2 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 18 4 5 5 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 14 5 4 4 More
26 USC 5861 - Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts 5 6 7 6 More
18 USC 842 - Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc 4 7 11 11 More
18 USC 1513 - Retaliating against a witness, victim or informant 4 7 32 18 More
18 USC 844 - Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives 3 9 10 8 More
18 USC 2342 - Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts 3 9 9 9 More
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 700 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1513 that involves " Retaliating against a witness, victim or informant ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase—100 %—when compared with five years ago.

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 75 percent—was Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts (Title 18 U.S.C Section 2342 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 62.5 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In July 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 231 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  
Ill, S 2,072 22 1 67 66 More
Ala, S 1,454 10 2 41 31 More
Tenn, E 1,385 29 3 2 15 More
N Car, M 1,208 28 4 12 6 More
Nevada 1,044 23 5 46 50 More
Vermont 965 5 6 80 72 More
N Car, W 897 22 7 13 29 More
Kansas 851 20 8 3 26 More
Tenn, W 849 11 9 22 6 More
Mo, E 783 19 10 31 24 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis)—with 2072 prosecutions as compared with 231 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during July 2013.

  • The Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) ranked 2nd.

  • Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) is now ranking 3rd. The Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) was ranked 2 a year ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro), now ranked 4th , and Western District of North Carolina (Asheville) at 7th In the same order, these districts ranked 12th and 13th one year ago and 6th and 29th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 216.7 percent—was Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis). This was the same district that had the largest increase— 147.8 percent—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 43 percent—was Kansas .  But over the past five years, Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) showed the largest drop— 26.2 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 July 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Voorhees, Richard Lesley N Car, W 18 1 More
Blake, Catherine C. Maryland 16 2 More
Navarro, Gloria Maria Nevada 14 3 More
Dever, James C., III N Car, E 13 4 More
Herndon, David R. Ill, S 11 5 More
Collier, Curtis Lynn Tenn, E 10 6 More
Robinson, Julie A. Kansas 9 7 More
Mattice, Harry Sandlin, Jr. Tenn, E 8 8 More
Reagan, Michael Joseph Ill, S 7 9 More
Murphy, Stephen Joseph, III Mich, E 6 10 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 7 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 3 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Richard Lesley Voorhees in the Western District of North Carolina (Asheville) ranked 1st with 18 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Catherine C. Blake in the District of Maryland ranked 2nd with 16 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Gloria Maria Navarro in the District of Nevada ranked 3rd with 14 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: September 23, 2013
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