Prosecutions for October 2013

Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration

Number Latest Month 965
Percent Change from previous month -22.9
Percent Change from 1 year ago -2.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -14.5
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -18.4
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2013 the government reported 965 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 22.9% 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 (-2.2 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 14.5 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 October 2013 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 41.8 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (38.1%), " Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (15.8%). 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 2013, 255 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 49.8 percent of all magistrate filings in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (22.7%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2013, 710 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October there were an additional 174 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 2013referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 286 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 228 2 2 2 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 8 3 6 18 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 7 4 5 6 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 6 5 12 5 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 5 6 7 11 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 4 7 3 4 More
18 USC 1591 - Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion 2 8 - - More
18 USC 1791 - Providing or possessing contraband in prison 2 8 24 - More
21 USC 848 - Continuing criminal enterprise 2 8 20 - 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 "Hobbs Act" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951. "Hobbs Act" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951 was ranked 6 a year ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 100 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 21 U.S.C Section 843 that involves " Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—433.3 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Hobbs Act " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 60 percent—was Continuing criminal enterprise (Title 21 U.S.C Section 848 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 50.9 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 October 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 337.9 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 Mexico 2,877 50 1 5 6 More
Utah 1,387 33 2 27 36 More
Cal, S 1,288 36 3 12 34 More
Ark, W 1,279 14 4 56 66 More
Mo, W 1,236 32 5 49 70 More
Tenn, W 1,213 16 6 27 50 More
Mo, E 1,194 29 7 46 15 More
Ken, E 1,158 21 8 25 10 More
Texas, N 959 55 9 11 13 More
Vermont 958 5 10 75 68 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico—with 2877 prosecutions as compared with 337.9 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during October 2013. The District of New Mexico was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 6 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The District of Utah ranked 2nd.

  • Southern District of California (San Diego) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth), now ranked 9th , and Southern District of California (San Diego) at 3rd In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 12th one year ago and 13th and 34th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 143.5 percent—was Western District of Missouri (Kansas City). This was the same district that had the largest increase— 330.8 percent—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 18.9 percent—was Southern District of California (San Diego).  But over the past five years, Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington) showed the largest drop— 27.5 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 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Wimes, Brian Curtis Mo, W 25 1 573 - More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 25 1 1 1 More
Bucklo, Elaine E. Ill, N 24 3 - 497 More
O'Connor, Reed Charles Texas, N 24 3 28 187 More
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 22 5 12 15 More
Sabraw, Dana Makoto Cal, S 21 6 154 - More
Jackson, Raymond Alvin Virg, E 17 7 145 436 More
Shirley, C. Clifford Tenn, E 14 8 325 289 More
Hurley, Daniel T. K. Fla, S 13 9 114 35 More
Breen, J. Daniel Tenn, W 13 9 32 211 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.

  • Judges Brian Curtis Wimes in the Western District of Missouri (Kansas City) and Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 25 defendants in cases. Judge Junell appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 1) and five years ago (rank 1).

  • Judges Elaine E. Bucklo in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) and Reed Charles O'Connor in the Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth) ranked 3rd with 24 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: January 13, 2014
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