Prosecutions for March 2013

Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Number Latest Month 806
Percent Change from previous month 16.6
Percent Change from 1 year ago -8.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -9.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -12.6
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2013 the government reported 806 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 16.6% 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 2013 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-8 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 March 2013 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 57.9 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (18.1%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (16.5%), "Violence-Other" (3.3%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (2.5%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In March 2013, 89 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 March 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 64 percent of all magistrate filings in March.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (9%), "18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act" (6.7%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In March 2013, 717 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March there were an additional 82 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 March.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

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

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 412 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 98 2 3 3 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 71 3 2 2 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 26 4 4 4 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 26 4 5 5 More
26 USC 5861 - Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts 14 6 6 6 More
18 USC 844 - Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives 3 7 8 7 More
18 USC 842 - Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc 2 8 11 11 More
18 USC 1958 - Interstate commerce facilities - murder for hire 2 8 - 21 More
18 USC 2 - Aiding and Abetting 1 10 22 17 More
18 USC 3 - Accessory after the fact 1 10 - 36 More
18 USC 4 - Misprision of Felony 1 10 14 36 More
18 USC 115 - Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a Federal official 1 10 - - More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 1 10 7 10 More
18 USC 554 - Smuggling goods from the United States 1 10 9 - More
18 USC 659 - Interstate or foreign shipments by carriers 1 10 - - More
18 USC 1001 - Fraud/false statements or entries generally 1 10 22 17 More
18 USC 1922 - False or withheld report - Fed employee's comp 1 10 - - More
18 USC 1952 - Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport 1 10 - 36 More
18 USC 2119 - Carjacking 1 10 11 9 More
18 USC 2342 - Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts 1 10 10 8 More
18 USC 3146 - Penalty for failure to appear 1 10 31 24 More
18 USC 3565 - Revocation of probation 1 10 - 36 More
18 USC 3582 - Imposition of a Sentence of Imprisonment 1 10 - - More
21 USC 860 - Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a 1 10 - - 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 150 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—300 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 80 percent—was Smuggling goods from the United States (Title 18 U.S.C Section 554 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 38.5 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 842 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In March 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 312.3 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  
Ark, E 1,579 21 1 56 70 More
Alaska 1,577 9 2 54 83 More
Mo, W 1,482 38 3 11 9 More
Tenn, W 1,313 17 4 31 3 More
Ala, S 1,163 8 5 24 36 More
Ga, S 1,149 14 6 28 15 More
Wyoming 1,102 5 7 75 56 More
Tenn, E 1,003 21 8 4 28 More
N. Y., S 958 41 9 55 26 More
W Virg, N 937 7 10 79 50 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock)—with 1579 prosecutions as compared with 312.3 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during March 2013.

  • The District of Alaska ranked 2nd.

  • Western District of Missouri (Kansas City) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Western District of Missouri (Kansas City), now ranked 3rd , and Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) at 5th In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 24th one year ago and 9th and 36th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 135.7 percent—was Southern District of New York (Manhattan). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 155.6 percent—was Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 55.1 percent—was Southern District of Alabama (Mobile).  But over the past five years, Wyoming showed the largest drop— 42.9 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 March 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Cedarbaum, Miriam Goldman N. Y., S 38 1 - - More
Garcia-Gregory, Jay A. Puer Rico 33 2 78 356 More
Kays, David Gregory Mo, W 23 3 78 - More
Holmes, J[ames] Leon Ark, E 14 4 364 291 More
Casper, Denise Jefferson Mass 13 5 297 - More
Limbaugh, Stephen Nathaniel, Jr. Mo, E 11 6 65 - More
Flanagan, Louise W. N Car, E 11 6 19 9 More
Davis, Leonard E. Texas, E 11 6 297 5 More
Smith, G. R. Ga, S 10 9 46 77 More
Crone, Marcia A. Texas, E 10 9 8 37 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

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 6 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) ranked 1st with 38 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Jay A. Garcia-Gregory in the District of Puerto Rico ranked 2nd with 33 defendants in cases.

  • Judge David Gregory Kays in the Western District of Missouri (Kansas City) ranked 3rd with 23 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: May 9, 2013
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