Prosecutions for March 2013

Referring Agency: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Number Latest Month 1,245
Percent Change from previous month 29.6
Percent Change from 1 year ago -4.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -2.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -3.7
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2013 the government reported 1245 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 29.6% 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 (-4.8 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 2 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 March 2013 was for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen", accounting for 31.9 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (11%), " Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (8.6%), "Project Safe Childhood" (7%), "Bank Robbery" (6.2%), "Violence-Other" (5.3%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (4.7%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (3.4%), "Fraud-Other" (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 March 2013, 162 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 March 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 11.1 percent of all magistrate filings in March.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes" (10.5%), "18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts" (6.2%), "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (5.6%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In March 2013, 1083 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March there were an additional 190 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 March.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during March 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 142 1 2 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 123 2 1 3 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 80 3 3 2 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 47 4 4 7 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 47 4 5 4 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 44 6 10 9 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 41 7 6 11 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 21 8 7 8 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 21 8 11 19 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 18 10 8 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 6.7 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—178 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 37.8 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— 39.2 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 March 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 497.6 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  
N Dakota 5,194 28 1 69 61 More
Okla, W 4,129 67 2 53 52 More
D. C. 3,402 17 3 22 54 More
Wyoming 2,205 10 4 72 77 More
Nebraska 2,004 30 5 38 39 More
Montana 1,723 14 6 32 15 More
N. Y., S 1,659 71 7 1 11 More
Ind, N 1,647 35 8 34 42 More
Penn, W 1,644 52 9 56 20 More
S Dakota 1,625 11 10 26 20 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of North Dakota—with 5194 prosecutions as compared with 497.6 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during March 2013.

  • The Western District of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City) ranked 2nd.

  • District of Washington, D.C. (Washington) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Washington, D.C. (Washington), now ranked 3rd , and South Dakota at 10th In the same order, these districts ranked 22nd and 26th one year ago and 54th and 20th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 195.6 percent—was Western District of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 277.8 percent—was Washington, D.C. (Washington).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 34.3 percent—was Southern District of New York (Manhattan).  But over the past five years, South Dakota showed the largest drop— 11.8 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 March 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Friot, Stephen P. Okla, W 58 1 626 223 More
Bissoon, Cathy Penn, W 39 2 458 - More
Marra, Kenneth A. Fla, S 38 3 15 24 More
Miller, Charles S., Jr. N Dakota 25 4 143 393 More
Springmann, Theresa Lazar Ind, N 22 5 535 575 More
Stein, Sidney H. N. Y., S 19 6 279 489 More
Thalken, Thomas D. Nebraska 17 7 195 223 More
Dimitrouleas, William P. Fla, S 15 8 143 393 More
Lawrence, William T. Ind, S 15 8 23 - More
Skretny, William M. N. Y., W 15 8 458 489 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 15 8 458 393 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 5 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Stephen P. Friot in the Western District of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City) ranked 1st with 58 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Cathy Bissoon in the Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) ranked 2nd with 39 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Kenneth A. Marra in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 3rd with 38 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: May 9, 2013
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