Prosecutions for June 2013

Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Number Latest Month 749
Percent Change from previous month -2.1
Percent Change from 1 year ago -0.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -9.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -11.3
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during June 2013 the government reported 749 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 2.1% 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 (-0.4 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 9.6 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 June 2013 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 54.1 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" ( 22.8%), "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (11.5%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (7.5%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In June 2013, 59 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 June 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 54.2 percent of all magistrate filings in June.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (16.9%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In June 2013, 690 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during June there were an additional 74 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 June.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

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

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 351 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 102 2 2 2 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 41 3 4 3 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 27 4 3 4 More
26 USC 5861 - Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts 21 5 7 6 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 15 6 5 5 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 8 7 6 8 More
18 USC 842 - Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc 4 8 12 11 More
18 USC 4 - Misprision of Felony 2 9 14 15 More
18 USC 844 - Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives 2 9 10 7 More
18 USC 1001 - Fraud/false statements or entries generally 2 9 36 18 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 "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 4 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 1001 that involves " Fraud/false statements or entries generally ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—52.7 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Attempt and conspiracy " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 66.2 percent—was Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 68.3 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 844 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In June 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 298.6 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  
Ga, S 4,022 49 1 21 29 More
Ken, W 2,404 43 2 39 43 More
Delaware 2,169 16 3 82 60 More
Mo, E 1,691 41 4 23 25 More
Ala, S 1,599 11 5 34 30 More
N Car, M 1,381 32 6 10 9 More
Tenn, W 1,004 13 7 22 8 More
Iowa, S 986 14 8 31 50 More
Ken, E 886 16 9 53 20 More
Ala, N 778 18 10 18 15 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of Georgia (Savannah)—with 4022 prosecutions as compared with 298.6 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during June 2013.

  • The Western District of Kentucky (Louisville) ranked 2nd.

  • District of Delaware is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham), now ranked 10th , and Southern District of Georgia (Savannah) at 1st In the same order, these districts ranked 18th and 21st one year ago and 15th and 29th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 161.5 percent—was Delaware . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 105.1 percent—was Western District of Kentucky (Louisville).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 26 percent—was Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham).  This was the same district that had the largest increase— 31.3 percent—when compared with five years ago.

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 June 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Smith, G. R. Ga, S 43 1 17 47 More
Simpson, Charles Ralph, III Ken, W 23 2 349 - More
McKinley, Joseph H., Jr. Ken, W 19 3 141 93 More
Titus, Roger W. Maryland 13 4 47 257 More
Van Tatenhove, Gregory Frederick Ken, E 11 5 540 257 More
Hollander, Ellen Lipton Maryland 11 5 58 - More
Sippel, Rodney W. Mo, E 11 5 424 113 More
Leinenweber, Harry Daniel Ill, N 10 8 - - More
Perry, Catherine D. Mo, E 9 9 85 169 More
Robinson, Julie A. Kansas 8 10 13 306 More
Mays, Samuel H., Jr. Tenn, W 8 10 349 26 More
Crone, Marcia A. Texas, E 8 10 1 47 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 5 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 12 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge G. R. Smith in the Southern District of Georgia (Savannah) ranked 1st with 43 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Charles Ralph Simpson, III in the Western District of Kentucky (Louisville) ranked 2nd with 23 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr. in the Western District of Kentucky (Louisville) ranked 3rd with 19 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: August 20, 2013
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Copyright 2013, TRAC Reports, Inc.

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