Prosecutions for July 2013

Referring Agency: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Number Latest Month 1,084
Percent Change from previous month -0.2
Percent Change from 1 year ago -5.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -5.5
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -7.7
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during July 2013 the government reported 1084 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 down 0.2% 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 (-5.1 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 5.5 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 July 2013 was for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen", accounting for 26.9 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (10.1%), " Project Safe Childhood" (8%), "Bank Robbery" (6.5%), "Violence-Other" (5.7%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (5.6%), "Fraud-Financial Institution" (3.7%), "Fraud-Health Care" (3.5%), "Fraud-Other" (3.1%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (3%), " Fraud-Computer" (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 July 2013, 190 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 July the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 18 U.S.C Section 2113 involving the "Bank robbery and incidental crimes". This was the lead charge for 9.5 percent of all magistrate filings in July.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 1073 - Flight to Avoid Prosecution or Giving Testimony" (7.9%), "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (7.4%), " 18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" (5.8%), "18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act" (5.8%), "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (5.3%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In July 2013, 894 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during July there were an additional 131 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 July.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during July 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 86 1 2 1 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 69 2 3 2 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 54 3 6 8 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 45 4 8 12 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 43 5 5 4 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 42 6 1 3 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 36 7 9 15 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 33 8 4 11 More
18 USC 1347 - Health Care Fraud 30 9 12 13 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 22 10 10 6 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 22 10 7 9 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 22 10 11 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 "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.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Fraud by wire, radio, or television" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343. "Fraud by wire, radio, or television" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343 was ranked 6 a year ago, while it was ranked 8 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 25.4 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343 that involves " Fraud by wire, radio, or television ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—139.1 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 33.8 percent—was Attempt and conspiracy (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 54.8 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Bank Fraud " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1344 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In July 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 400.6 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. 5,803 29 1 19 54 More
S Dakota 2,216 15 2 25 26 More
Ala, M 2,167 20 3 71 83 More
Montana 1,969 16 4 30 18 More
Hawaii 1,668 18 5 67 75 More
Ala, S 1,309 9 6 65 47 More
Miss, S 1,302 20 7 35 44 More
N Mexico 1,194 20 8 26 29 More
S Car 1,079 41 9 15 11 More
Ken, E 1,052 19 10 48 35 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of Washington, D.C. (Washington)—with 5803 prosecutions as compared with 400.6 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during July 2013.

  • The District of South Dakota ranked 2nd.

  • Middle District of Alabama (Montgomery) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were South Carolina , now ranked 9th , and Washington, D.C. (Washington) at 1st In the same order, these districts ranked 15th and 19th one year ago and 11th and 54th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 75.8 percent—was Hawaii . This was the same district that had the largest increase— 262.5 percent—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 32.9 percent—was Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson).  But over the past five years, South Carolina showed the largest drop— 23.4 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 July 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Roberts, Richard W. D. C. 17 1 More
Garcia, Orlando Luis Texas, W 17 1 More
Watkins, William Keith Ala, M 16 3 More
Biery, Samuel Frederick, Jr. Texas, W 16 3 More
Bunning, David L. Ken, E 13 5 More
Christensen, Dana Lewis Montana 12 6 More
Cohill, Maurice Blanchard, Jr. Penn, W 12 6 More
Mollway, Susan Oki Hawaii 11 8 More
Bramlette, David C., III Miss, S 11 8 More
O'Connor, Reed Charles Texas, N 11 8 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.

  • Judges Richard W. Roberts in the District of Washington, D.C. (Washington) and Orlando Luis Garcia in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 17 defendants in cases.

  • Judges William Keith Watkins in the Middle District of Alabama (Montgomery) and Samuel Frederick Biery, Jr. in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 16 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: September 23, 2013
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