Prosecutions for May 2013

Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration

Number Latest Month 1,187
Percent Change from previous month 18.9
Percent Change from 1 year ago -8.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -13.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -17.0
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during May 2013 the government reported 1187 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 18.9% 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 2013 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-8.2 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 13.8 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 May 2013 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 44.8 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (35.6%), " 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 May 2013, 264 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 45.1 percent of all magistrate filings in May.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (37.9%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In May 2013, 923 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during May there were an additional 227 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 2013referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 385 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 274 2 2 2 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 13 3 3 3 More
18 USC 1962 - RICO - prohibited activities 9 4 - 29 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 7 5 37 - More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 7 5 8 10 More
21 USC 813 - Treatment of Controlled Substance Analogues 6 7 - - More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 6 7 13 9 More
21 USC 963 - Attempt and conspiracy 6 7 10 6 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 5 10 6 11 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 "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 600 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1344 that involves " Bank Fraud ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—400 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " RICO - prohibited activities " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1962 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 36.8 percent—was Hobbs Act (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 29.4 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In May 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 449.5 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.

Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Ark, E 3,158 42 1 9 29 More
Vermont 2,895 15 2 72 76 More
Idaho 2,872 37 3 57 88 More
Tenn, E 2,531 53 4 19 32 More
W Virg, S 2,338 18 5 74 83 More
Alaska 2,103 12 6 64 61 More
N Mexico 1,911 32 7 8 5 More
N. Y., S 1,285 55 8 7 8 More
Ken, E 1,273 23 9 34 12 More
Texas, W 1,253 64 10 1 1 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock)—with 3158 prosecutions as compared with 449.5 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during May 2013. The Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock) was ranked 9 a year ago.

  • The District of Vermont ranked 2nd.

  • District of Idaho is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville), now ranked 4th , and Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington) at 9th In the same order, these districts ranked 19th and 34th one year ago and 32nd and 12th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 131.3 percent—was Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 716.7 percent—was Idaho .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 43.8 percent—was Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock).  But over the past five years, Alaska showed the largest drop— 24.2 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 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 33 1 1 2 More
Greer, J. Ronnie Tenn, E 29 2 80 341 More
Lodge, Edward J. Idaho 28 3 85 255 More
Wright, Susan Webber Ark, E 23 4 15 79 More
Ross, John Andrew Mo, E 17 5 134 - More
Mordue, Norman A. N. Y., N 17 5 151 177 More
Young, William G. Mass 15 7 377 484 More
Lee, Susan K. Tenn, E 15 7 597 - More
Ramos, Nelva Gonzales Texas, S 14 9 7 - More
Presnell, Gregory A. Fla, M 13 10 289 229 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 5 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 33 defendants in cases. Judge Junell appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 1) and five years ago (rank 2).

  • Judge J. Ronnie Greer in the Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 2nd with 29 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Edward J. Lodge in the District of Idaho ranked 3rd with 28 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: July 22, 2013
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