Prosecutions for March 2014
Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Table 1. Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2014 the government reported 623 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 21.4 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 2014 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was down (-21.9%).
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 30.3 percent from levels reported in 2009.
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 2014 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 60.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (
19.1%), "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (13.8%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.4%).
See Figure 2.
Figure 2. Specific Types of Prosecutions
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In March 2014, 87 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 "Firearms; Unlawful acts". This was the lead charge
for 54 percent of all magistrate filings in March.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act" (9.2%), "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (8%), "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (8%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In March 2014, 536 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March there
were an additional 53 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 2014 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 700 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 545
that involves " Smuggling goods into the United States
This was the same statute that had the largest increase — 166.7 % — 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 62.5 percent — was
" Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 844 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions — 50.5 percent — was
for filings where the lead charge was " Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts
" (Title 26 U.S.C Section 5861
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In March 2014 the Justice Department said the government brought 225.2 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 Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) — with 2730 prosecutions as compared with 225.2 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during March 2014.
The District of Delaware ranked 2nd.
Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) is now ranking 3rd.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Western District of Tennessee (Memphis), now ranked
, and Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville)
In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 13th one year ago and 2nd and 9th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago — 46.7 percent — was
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 87.5 percent — was
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions — 42.9 percent — was
North Dakota .
But over the past five years,
Southern District of Georgia (Savannah)
showed the largest drop — 48.1 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 March 2014 are shown in Table 4.
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 Samuel H. Mays, Jr. in the Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) ranked 1st with 18 defendants in cases.
Judge J. Ronnie Greer in the Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 2nd with 16 defendants in cases.
Judges Richard Gibson Andrews in the District of Delaware and Michael Francis Urbanski in the Western District of Virginia (Roanoke) ranked 3rd with 14 defendants in cases.
Report Generated: May 13, 2014