Prosecutions for January 2013

Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration

Number Latest Month 953
Percent Change from previous month -3.6
Percent Change from 1 year ago -8.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -16.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -20.2
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during January 2013 the government reported 953 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 3.6% 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 2013 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-8.6 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 16.2 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 January 2013 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 49.8 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (26.3%), " Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (18.9%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In January 2013, 245 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 January 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 60 percent of all magistrate filings in January.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (31.4%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In January 2013, 708 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during January there were an additional 193 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 January.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

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

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 319 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 263 2 2 2 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 9 3 3 5 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 7 4 4 3 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 6 5 7 4 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 5 6 40 - More
46 USC 70503 - Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US 3 7 5 11 More
18 USC 4 - Misprision of Felony 2 8 40 22 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 2 8 17 22 More
18 USC 1542 - False statement in application and use of passport 2 8 - 43 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 2 8 9 18 More
18 USC 1952 - Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport 2 8 23 14 More
21 USC 844 - Penalty for simple possession 2 8 22 8 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 2 8 6 15 More
46 USC 70506 - Penalties 2 8 18 12 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 "Laundering of monetary instruments" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956. "Laundering of monetary instruments" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956 was ranked 3 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 600 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1028 that involves " Fraud and related activity - id documents ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—300 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " False statement in application and use of passport " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1542 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 72.5 percent—was Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US (Title 46 U.S.C Section 70503 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 68.2 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 January 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 352.2 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.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Miss, N 2,706 25 1 79 72 More
Vermont 2,702 14 2 52 73 More
La, M 2,592 17 3 62 90 More
Ga, S 1,970 24 4 61 58 More
Ark, W 1,855 20 5 62 69 More
N. Y., S 1,566 67 6 4 10 More
N Mexico 1,373 23 7 7 5 More
Iowa, N 1,288 14 8 20 33 More
Ken, E 1,273 23 9 16 9 More
Ga, M 1,211 20 10 47 73 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Northern District of Mississippi (Oxford)—with 2706 prosecutions as compared with 352.2 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during January 2013.

  • The District of Vermont ranked 2nd.

  • Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington), now ranked 9th , and Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids) at 8th In the same order, these districts ranked 16th and 20th one year ago and 9th and 33rd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 190.3 percent—was Southern District of Georgia (Savannah). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 660 percent—was Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 42 percent—was Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids).  But over the past five years, Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington) showed the largest drop— 35.8 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 January 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Smith, G. R. Ga, S 23 1 98 22 More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 19 2 1 2 More
Forrest, Katherine Bolan N. Y., S 18 3 608 - More
Sands, W[illie] Louis Ga, M 16 4 35 199 More
Kays, David Gregory Mo, W 16 4 608 607 More
Hendren, Jimm Larry Ark, W 15 6 104 247 More
Rodriguez, Xavier Texas, W 15 6 35 177 More
Wilken, Claudia Ann Cal, N 14 8 281 607 More
Scriven, Mary Stenson Fla, M 14 8 281 - More
Brady, James J. La, M 14 8 134 - More
Whitney, Frank DeArmon N Car, W 14 8 503 137 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 G. R. Smith in the Southern District of Georgia (Savannah) ranked 1st with 23 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 19 defendants in cases. Judge Junell appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 1) and five years ago (rank 2).

  • Judge Katherine Bolan Forrest in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) ranked 3rd with 18 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: March 5, 2013
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