Prosecutions for March 2014

Referring Agency: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Number Latest Month 1,088
Percent Change from previous month 14.9
Percent Change from 1 year ago -7.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -12.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -14.0
Table 1. Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2014 the government reported 1088 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 14.9 percent 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 2014 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-7.3%). 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 12 percent from levels reported in 2009.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

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 March 2014 was for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen", accounting for 29.7 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (9.4%), " Project Safe Childhood" (9.4%), "Violence-Other" (7.9%), "Bank Robbery" (6.7%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (6.2%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (4.2%), "Fraud-Other" (2.9%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.9%), " Fraud-Financial Institution" (2.5%), "Violence-Indian Country" (2.3%). 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 2014, 224 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 "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A". This was the lead charge for 12.5 percent of all magistrate filings in March.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes" (11.2%), "18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors" (6.7%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In March 2014, 864 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March there were an additional 124 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 2014 referred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 71 1 1 3 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 66 2 3 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 59 3 2 2 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 53 4 7 8 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 50 5 4 4 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 43 6 6 7 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 31 7 5 9 More
18 USC 1591 - Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion 19 8 17 50 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 18 9 10 5 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 14 10 8 10 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 14 10 9 15 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 3 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 1 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "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.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions — up 40.7 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1591 that involves " Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase — 484.6 % — when compared with five years ago.

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago — down 23.5 percent — was " Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions — 43.3 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 2014 the Justice Department said the government brought 377.7 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. 3,416 18 1 11 24 More
S Dakota 3,168 22 2 35 28 More
N Dakota 2,058 12 3 36 72 More
Wyoming 1,665 8 4 76 80 More
Montana 1,194 10 5 23 24 More
Okla, N 1,049 9 6 64 65 More
Alaska 1,004 6 7 70 70 More
Tenn, W 986 13 8 41 34 More
N Mexico 921 16 9 22 32 More
Wisc, E 815 23 10 64 38 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of Washington, D.C. (Washington) — with 3416 prosecutions as compared with 377.7 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during March 2014.

  • The District of South Dakota ranked 2nd.

  • District of North Dakota is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Washington, D.C. (Washington), now ranked 1st , and New Mexico at 9th In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 22nd one year ago and 24th and 32nd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago — 86.2 percent — was Eastern District of Wisconsin (Milwaukee). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 185.7 percent — was North Dakota .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions — 22.6 percent — was Western District of Tennessee (Memphis).  This was the same district that had the largest increase — 30.4 percent — when compared with five years ago.

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 2014 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Guzman, Ronald A. Ill, N 18 1 More
Benson, Dee Vance Utah 16 2 More
Stadtmueller, Joseph Peter Wisc, E 14 3 More
Jensen, Delwen Lowell Cal, N 13 4 More
Hovland, Daniel L. N Dakota 11 5 More
Besosa, Francisco Augusto Puer Rico 11 5 More
Lewis, Mary Geiger S Car 11 5 More
Cercone, David S. Penn, W 10 8 More
Barker, Sarah Evans Ind, S 9 9 More
Skretny, William M. N. Y., W 9 9 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 2 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.

  • Judge Ronald A. Guzman in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) ranked 1st with 18 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Dee Vance Benson in the District of Utah ranked 2nd with 16 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Joseph Peter Stadtmueller in the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) ranked 3rd with 14 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: May 13, 2014
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