Prosecutions for April 2013

Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration

Number Latest Month 1,005
Percent Change from previous month -12.7
Percent Change from 1 year ago -9.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -14.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -18.2
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during April 2013 the government reported 1005 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 12.7% 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 down (-9.9 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 14 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 April 2013 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 43.6 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (34.4%), " Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (15.5%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In April 2013, 282 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 April the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 involving the "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A". This was the lead charge for 56 percent of all magistrate filings in April.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (26.6%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In April 2013, 723 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during April there were an additional 159 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 April.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during April 2013referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 285 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 208 2 2 2 More
18 USC 846 - Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary 12 3 8 24 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 6 4 3 4 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 6 4 4 3 More
18 USC 4 - Misprision of Felony 3 6 24 16 More
21 USC 959 - Possession, manufacture, or distribution for purpo 3 6 16 - More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 2 8 - 38 More
18 USC 3146 - Penalty for failure to appear 2 8 18 24 More
18 USC 3583 - Term of supervised release after imprisonment 2 8 14 31 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 2 8 12 8 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841) 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 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 846. "Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 846 was ranked 8 a year ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 125 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 4 that involves " Misprision of Felony ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—375 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary " (Title 18 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 70 percent—was Term of supervised release after imprisonment (Title 18 U.S.C Section 3583 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 34.8 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Laundering of monetary instruments " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In April 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 344.7 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  
Tenn, W 3,166 41 1 23 37 More
Vermont 2,895 15 2 62 80 More
Fla, N 2,862 41 3 31 28 More
Miss, N 1,840 17 4 64 84 More
Texas, W 1,762 90 5 1 1 More
N Mexico 1,732 29 6 8 6 More
Okla, N 1,548 13 7 79 76 More
Ark, E 1,429 19 8 9 33 More
Iowa, N 1,104 12 9 31 36 More
La, E 1,049 14 10 63 27 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Western District of Tennessee (Memphis)—with 3166 prosecutions as compared with 344.7 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during April 2013.

  • The District of Vermont ranked 2nd.

  • Northern District of Florida (Pensacola) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Western District of Tennessee (Memphis), now ranked 1st , and Northern District of Florida (Pensacola) at 3rd In the same order, these districts ranked 23rd and 31st one year ago and 37th and 28th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 115.8 percent—was Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 358.3 percent—was Northern District of Mississippi (Oxford).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 52.4 percent—was Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock).  But over the past five years, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans) showed the largest drop— 63.3 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 April 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Sparks, Sam Texas, W 27 1 104 - More
Hinkle, Robert Lewis Fla, N 23 2 77 157 More
Fowlkes, John Thomas, Jr. Tenn, W 23 2 - - More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 21 4 1 2 More
Sippel, Rodney W. Mo, E 20 5 271 94 More
Briones, David Texas, W 18 6 104 180 More
Mays, Samuel H., Jr. Tenn, W 15 7 501 59 More
Ishii, Anthony W. Cal, E 14 8 35 20 More
Baker, Kristine Gerhard Ark, E 13 9 - - More
Thapar, Amul Roger Ken, E 13 9 368 468 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 3 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Sam Sparks in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 27 defendants in cases.

  • Judges Robert Lewis Hinkle in the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola) and John Thomas Fowlkes, Jr. in the Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) ranked 2nd with 23 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: June 10, 2013
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