Prosecutions for October 2012

Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration

Number Latest Month 1,167
Percent Change from previous month -1.9
Percent Change from 1 year ago -14.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -16.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -19.9
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2012 the government reported 1167 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 1.9% 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 (-14.4 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 16.6 percent from levels reported in 2007.

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 October 2012 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 44.9 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (26%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (25.9%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In October 2012, 273 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 October 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 48.7 percent of all magistrate filings in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (24.5%), "21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances" (5.1%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2012, 894 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October there were an additional 180 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 October.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during October 2012referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 443 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 305 2 2 2 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 13 3 5 3 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 11 4 11 12 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 4 5 7 8 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 3 6 18 20 More
18 USC 846 - Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary 3 6 22 21 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 3 6 4 7 More
18 USC 4 - Misprision of Felony 2 9 22 21 More
18 USC 1791 - Providing or possessing contraband in prison 2 9 26 42 More
18 USC 1952 - Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport 2 9 14 26 More
18 USC 2118 - Robberies/burglaries w/controlled substances 2 9 - 19 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 2 9 6 5 More
21 USC 844 - Penalty for simple possession 2 9 22 8 More
21 USC 963 - Attempt and conspiracy 2 9 3 4 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 2 9 - 42 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 5 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 75 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 4 that involves " Misprision of Felony ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—500 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir " (Title 31 U.S.C Section 5324 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 85.7 percent—was Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1952 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 75 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Robberies/burglaries w/controlled substances " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 2118 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 419.8 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  
N Dakota 2,226 12 1 74 52 More
Tenn, E 2,149 45 2 14 12 More
Tenn, W 1,853 24 3 48 55 More
N Mexico 1,672 28 4 8 5 More
Texas, S 1,498 105 5 2 2 More
Fla, N 1,326 19 6 44 38 More
Ill, C 1,294 24 7 73 34 More
Texas, W 1,116 57 8 1 1 More
Miss, S 1,107 17 9 60 46 More
Ga, S 1,067 13 10 66 61 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of North Dakota—with 2226 prosecutions as compared with 419.8 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during October 2012.

  • The Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 2nd.

  • Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville), now ranked 2nd , and Northern District of Florida (Pensacola) at 6th In the same order, these districts ranked 14th and 44th one year ago and 12th and 38th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 113.6 percent—was Central District of Illinois (Springfield). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 51.8 percent—was Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 29 percent—was Western District of Texas (San Antonio).  But over the past five years, North Dakota showed the largest drop— 64.2 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 October 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Lake, Simeon Timothy, III Texas, S 38 1 463 292 More
Greer, J. Ronnie Tenn, E 36 2 18 434 More
Gee, Dolly Maizie Cal, C 35 3 - - More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 29 4 29 28 More
Breen, J. Daniel Tenn, W 24 5 408 74 More
Ishii, Anthony W. Cal, E 21 6 74 16 More
Lindsay, Sam A. Texas, N 20 7 408 - More
O'Neill, Lawrence Joseph Cal, E 18 8 172 175 More
Hinkle, Robert Lewis Fla, N 17 9 63 154 More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 16 10 1 2 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 6 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.

  • Judge Simeon Timothy Lake, III in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 1st with 38 defendants in cases.

  • Judge J. Ronnie Greer in the Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 2nd with 36 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Dolly Maizie Gee in the Central District of California (Los Angeles) ranked 3rd with 35 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: February 6, 2013
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