Prosecutions for September 2012
Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during September 2012 the government reported 621 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 10.6% 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 2012 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was only slightly down (-0.9 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 15.7 percent from levels reported in 2007.
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 September 2012 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 67 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen
" (12.2%), "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (10.1%), "Violence-Other" (4.2%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (3.9%).
See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In September 2012, 90 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 September 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 56.7 percent of all magistrate filings in September.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (15.6%), "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (8.9%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In September 2012, 531 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during September there
were an additional 69 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 September.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during September 2012referred 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 "Firearms; Penalties" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 924.
"Firearms; Penalties" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 924 was ranked 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in prosecutions—up 280 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 842
that involves " Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—600 percent—was registered for
prosecutions under " Bank robbery and incidental crimes
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 2113 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 60 percent—was
Fraud/false statements or entries generally
(Title 18 U.S.C Section 1001 ).
This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 86.7 %—when compared with five years ago.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In September 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 234.5 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 Vermont—with 2123 prosecutions as compared with 234.5 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during September 2012.
The Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) ranked 2nd.
District of Kansas is now ranking 3rd.
The District of Kansas was ranked 2 a year ago.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
New Mexico , now ranked
, and Rhode Island
In the same order, these districts ranked 27th and 41st one year ago and 42nd and 84th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 33.3 percent—was
Northern District of Mississippi (Oxford).
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 80.5 percent—was
Eastern District of North Carolina (Raleigh).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 58.1 percent—was
Rhode Island .
But over the past five years,
showed the largest drop— 50.9 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 September 2012 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 13 judges were from other districts.
(Because of ties, there were a total of 21 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Carlos Murguia in the District of Kansas ranked 1st with 12 defendants in cases.
Judges Mark Allan Goldsmith in the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) and William M. Skretny in the Western District of New York (Buffalo) ranked 2nd with 9 defendants in cases.
Report Generated: December 11, 2012