Prosecutions for March 2013
Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2013 the government reported 1154 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 1.3% 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 (-6.9 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 13.1 percent from levels reported in 2008.
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 March 2013 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 49.5 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (23.7%), "
Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (23.4%).
See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In March 2013, 234 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 March 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 52.6 percent of all magistrate filings in March.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (32.9%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In March 2013, 920 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March there
were an additional 243 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 March.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during March 2013referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Table 2: Top charges filed
"Attempt and conspiracy" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.
"Attempt and conspiracy" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 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 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.
Ranked 3rd was "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922.
"Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 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 106.7 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 21 U.S.C Section 963
that involves " Attempt and conspiracy
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—366.7 percent—was registered for
prosecutions under " Importation of controlled substances
" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 81.8 percent—was
(Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 36.6 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 March 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 454.6 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 Wyoming—with 5512 prosecutions as compared with 454.6 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during March 2013.
The Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 2nd.
Eastern District of Washington (Spokane) is now ranking 3rd.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Southern District of California (San Diego), now ranked
, and Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville)
In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 20th one year ago and 22nd and 46th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 440 percent—was
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 374.4 percent—was
Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 48.4 percent—was
But over the past five years,
showed the largest drop— 35.7 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 March 2013 are shown in Table 4.
A total of 4 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.
Judge Jose Antonio Fuste in the District of Puerto Rico ranked 1st with 49 defendants in cases.
Judge Fustealso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 9).
Judge C. Clifford Shirley in the Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 2nd with 42 defendants in cases.
Judge William Fremming Nielsen in the Eastern District of Washington (Spokane) ranked 3rd with 27 defendants in cases.
Report Generated: May 9, 2013