Prosecutions for May 2012
Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during May 2012 the government reported 1123 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 10.9% 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 (-12.3 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 13.5 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 May 2012 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 47.4 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (24.4%), "
Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (22.7%).
See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In May 2012, 292 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 May 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 43.5 percent of all magistrate filings in May.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (32.2%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In May 2012, 831 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during May there
were an additional 236 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 May.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during May 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 "Drug paraphernalia" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 863.
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in prosecutions—up 360 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956
that involves " Laundering of monetary instruments
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—1100 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 72.7 percent—was
Possession, manufacture, or distribution for purpo
(Title 21 U.S.C Section 959 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 46.7 percent—was
for filings where the lead charge was " Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C
" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 843
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In May 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 417.1 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 2568 prosecutions as compared with 417.1 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during May 2012.
The District of New Mexico was ranked 6 a year ago, while it was ranked 7 for most frequent use five years ago.
The District of Maine ranked 2nd.
Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) is now ranking 3rd.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Western District of Tennessee (Memphis), now ranked
, and Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis)
In the same order, these districts ranked 27th and 46th one year ago and 60th and 30th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 235.3 percent—was
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 825 percent—was
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 14.2 percent—was
Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
But over the past five years,
Eastern District of Washington (Spokane)
showed the largest drop— 23.7 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 May 2012 are shown in Table 4.
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 4 judges were from other districts.
(Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 49 defendants in cases.
Judge Junell appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 1) and five years ago (rank 2).
Judge William B. Shubb in the Eastern District of California (Sacramento) ranked 2nd with 46 defendants in cases.
Judge Jon Phipps McCalla in the Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) ranked 3rd with 21 defendants in cases.
Report Generated: July 31, 2012