Prosecutions for April 2013

Referring Agency: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Number Latest Month 1,346
Percent Change from previous month 9.5
Percent Change from 1 year ago 0.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -0.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -3.2
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during April 2013 the government reported 1346 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 9.5% 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 only slightly up (0.3 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 0.6 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in prosecutions

The leveling out 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 April 2013 was for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen", accounting for 23.7 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (13.3%), " Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (12.2%), "Project Safe Childhood" (6.6%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (6.2%), "Bank Robbery" (5.9%), "Violence-Other" (3.9%), "Fraud-Mortgage" (2.7%), "Fraud-Other" (2.7%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.2%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In April 2013, 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 April the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 involving the "Attempt and conspiracy". This was the lead charge for 21.6 percent of all magistrate filings in April.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (16.5%), "18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes" (8.4%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In April 2013, 1073 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during April there were an additional 136 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 April.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during April 2013referred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 157 1 2 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 106 2 1 3 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 75 3 3 2 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 52 4 4 10 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 42 5 6 8 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 40 6 10 11 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 40 6 5 4 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 38 8 11 22 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 31 9 7 9 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 28 10 9 5 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 2 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 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Bank robbery and incidental crimes" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 2113. "Bank robbery and incidental crimes" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 2113 was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 15.7 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951 that involves " Hobbs Act ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—240 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1349 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 27.2 percent—was Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1341 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 36.4 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Bank robbery and incidental crimes " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 2113 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In April 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 472.6 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.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
D. C. 2,401 12 1 18 56 More
Ala, S 2,181 15 2 68 41 More
S Dakota 1,920 13 3 24 20 More
N Dakota 1,670 9 4 72 60 More
Ga, S 1,642 20 5 70 37 More
Cal, S 1,639 44 6 3 38 More
N. Y., S 1,519 65 7 1 8 More
Okla, N 1,429 12 8 56 76 More
Tenn, W 1,236 16 9 32 32 More
Kansas 1,235 29 10 36 39 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of Washington, D.C. (Washington)—with 2401 prosecutions as compared with 472.6 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during April 2013.

  • The Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) ranked 2nd.

  • District of South Dakota is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Washington, D.C. (Washington), now ranked 1st , and South Dakota at 3rd In the same order, these districts ranked 18th and 24th one year ago and 56th and 20th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 171.4 percent—was Southern District of Georgia (Savannah). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 285.7 percent—was Washington, D.C. (Washington).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 39.9 percent—was Southern District of California (San Diego).  But over the past five years, Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) showed the largest drop— 36 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 April 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Hollander, Ellen Lipton Maryland 28 1 377 - More
Scheindlin, Shira A. N. Y., S 28 1 - 569 More
Arcara, Richard Joseph N. Y., W 23 3 99 488 More
Vratil, Kathryn Hoefer Kansas 22 4 278 231 More
Martinez, William Joseph Colorado 19 5 83 - More
Brimmer, Philip A. Colorado 18 6 164 - More
Mueller, Kimberly Jo Cal, E 16 7 164 - More
Yeakel, Earl Leroy, III Texas, W 14 8 54 137 More
Edenfield, Berry Avant Ga, S 12 9 726 196 More
Whitney, Frank DeArmon N Car, W 12 9 21 164 More
Hilton, Claude M. Virg, E 12 9 453 395 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 3 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 8 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judges Ellen Lipton Hollander in the District of Maryland and Shira A. Scheindlin in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) ranked 1st with 28 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Richard Joseph Arcara in the Western District of New York (Buffalo) ranked 3rd with 23 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: June 10, 2013
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