Prosecutions for August 2012
Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2012 the government reported 1307 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 up 21.5% 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 down (-14.9 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 14.7 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 August 2012 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 41.7 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (31.1%), "
Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (23.9%).
See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In August 2012, 254 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 August 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 50.4 percent of all magistrate filings in August.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (29.9%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In August 2012, 1053 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during August there
were an additional 202 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 August.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during August 2012referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
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 "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 963.
"Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 963 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 250 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 371
that involves " Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—280 percent—was registered for
prosecutions under " Drug paraphernalia
" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 863 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 54.4 percent—was
Attempt and conspiracy
(Title 21 U.S.C Section 963 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 71.4 percent—was
for filings where the lead charge was " Penalty for simple possession
" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 844
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In August 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 490.5 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 New Mexico—with 2926 prosecutions as compared with 490.5 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during August 2012.
The Western District of Arkansas (Fort Smith) ranked 2nd.
Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis) is now ranking 3rd.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
New Mexico , now ranked
, and Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids)
In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 27th one year ago and 5th and 49th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 58.3 percent—was
Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson).
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 266.7 percent—was
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 36.6 percent—was
But over the past five years,
showed the largest drop— 15.4 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 August 2012 are shown in Table 4.
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 8 judges were from other districts.
(Because of ties, there were a total of 13 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong in the Northern District of California (San Francisco) ranked 1st with 31 defendants in cases.
Judge Frederick James Scullin, Jr. in the Northern District of New York (Syracuse) ranked 2nd with 27 defendants in cases.
Judges Marcia A. Crone in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) and Nelva Gonzales Ramos in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 21 defendants in cases.
Judge Cronealso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 4).
Report Generated: November 19, 2012