Prosecutions for September 2013

Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Number Latest Month 579
Percent Change from previous month -14.7
Percent Change from 1 year ago -1.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -15.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -17.1
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during September 2013 the government reported 579 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 14.7% 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 (-1.3 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 15.1 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 September 2013 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 59.1 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (13.5%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (13.1%), "Violence-Other" (6.4%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.2%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In September 2013, 64 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 60.9 percent of all magistrate filings in September.

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In September 2013, 515 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during September 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 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 2013referred by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 328 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 89 2 2 2 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 46 3 5 5 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 16 4 3 3 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 13 5 4 4 More
26 USC 5861 - Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts 10 6 7 6 More
18 USC 844 - Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives 5 7 11 8 More
Other US Code Section 2 8 - - More
15 USC 377 - Collection of State Cigarette Taxes - Penalties 1 9 - - More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 1 9 6 7 More
18 USC 842 - Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc 1 9 10 10 More
18 USC 911 - False personification - Citizen of the US 1 9 24 33 More
18 USC 1012 - Fraud - HUD transactions 1 9 - - More
18 USC 1512 - Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant 1 9 20 26 More
18 USC 1841 - Protection of unborn children 1 9 - - More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 1 9 20 26 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 1 9 14 15 More
18 USC 2119 - Carjacking 1 9 12 11 More
18 USC 3146 - Penalty for failure to appear 1 9 36 26 More
21 USC 848 - Continuing criminal enterprise 1 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 "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 "Hobbs Act" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951. "Hobbs Act" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951 was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 26.3 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 that involves " Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—100 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " False personification - Citizen of the US " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 911 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 70.1 percent—was Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 58.2 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In September 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 233.4 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  
Wyoming 1,323 6 1 78 47 More
Tenn, E 1,242 26 2 4 11 More
Ala, S 1,163 8 3 49 40 More
La, E 1,124 15 4 69 61 More
Iowa, N 1,012 11 5 84 87 More
Nebraska 1,002 15 6 76 53 More
Vermont 965 5 7 69 75 More
Mo, W 897 23 8 11 7 More
N Car, W 856 21 9 15 28 More
Ala, N 778 18 10 29 17 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of Wyoming—with 1323 prosecutions as compared with 233.4 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during September 2013.

  • The Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 2nd. The Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) was ranked 4 a year ago.

  • Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Western District of Missouri (Kansas City), now ranked 8th , and Western District of North Carolina (Asheville) at 9th In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 15th one year ago and 7th and 28th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 122.2 percent—was Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 50 percent—was Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 20.6 percent—was Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville).  But over the past five years, Wyoming showed the largest drop— 52.8 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 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Feess, Gary Allen Cal, C 31 1 - 559 More
Conrad, Robert James, Jr. N Car, W 12 2 75 114 More
Russell, Thomas B. Ken, W 11 3 5 79 More
Fuste, Jose Antonio Puer Rico 11 3 39 - More
Bennett, Mark W. Iowa, N 8 5 197 214 More
Schell, Richard A. Texas, E 8 5 50 21 More
Biery, Samuel Frederick, Jr. Texas, W 8 5 29 114 More
Fenner, Gary A. Mo, W 7 8 105 62 More
Smith Camp, Laurie Smith Nebraska 7 8 537 142 More
Thalken, Thomas D. Nebraska 7 8 87 114 More
Coughenour, John C. Wash, W 7 8 429 257 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 5 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. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Gary Allen Feess in the Central District of California (Los Angeles) ranked 1st with 31 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Robert James Conrad, Jr. in the Western District of North Carolina (Asheville) ranked 2nd with 12 defendants in cases.

  • Judges Thomas B. Russell in the Western District of Kentucky (Louisville) and Jose Antonio Fuste in the District of Puerto Rico ranked 3rd with 11 defendants in cases. Judge Russellalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 5).

Report Generated: November 25, 2013
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