Prosecutions for May 2013

Referring Agency: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Number Latest Month 1,207
Percent Change from previous month -10.1
Percent Change from 1 year ago 0.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -0.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -3.3
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during May 2013 the government reported 1207 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 10.1% 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 (0.8 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 0.9 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 May 2013 was for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen", accounting for 24 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (11.2%) , "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (10.1%), "Project Safe Childhood" (7.6%), "Bank Robbery" (6.7%), "Violence-Other" (5.1%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (4.1%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (3.6%), "Fraud-Other" (2.9%), "Violence-Indian Country" (2.7%) , "Fraud-Financial Institution" (2.7%), "Fraud-Health Care" (2.5%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In May 2013, 242 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 May 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 18.6 percent of all magistrate filings in May.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (11.6%), "18 USC 1073 - Flight to Avoid Prosecution or Giving Testimony" (10.3%), " 18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes" (8.7%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In May 2013, 965 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during May there were an additional 150 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 May.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

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

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 138 1 1 3 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 81 2 3 2 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 71 3 2 1 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 47 4 5 4 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 41 5 6 10 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 36 6 4 8 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 34 7 9 6 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 31 8 8 11 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 25 9 7 9 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 24 10 11 19 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Attempt and conspiracy" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Attempt and conspiracy" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846) 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 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841. "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 16.7 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—235.6 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 24.7 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— 37.4 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 May 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 435.8 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 15 56 More
S Dakota 2,363 16 2 22 16 More
Ala, N 2,291 53 3 30 61 More
Montana 1,846 15 4 34 14 More
N Dakota 1,484 8 5 70 64 More
Wyoming 1,323 6 6 73 82 More
Tenn, W 1,158 15 7 30 39 More
Fla, S 1,133 63 8 2 4 More
Hawaii 1,019 11 9 67 80 More
Nebraska 1,002 15 10 33 43 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of Washington, D.C. (Washington)—with 2401 prosecutions as compared with 435.8 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during May 2013.

  • The District of South Dakota ranked 2nd.

  • Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Washington, D.C. (Washington), now ranked 1st , and South Dakota at 2nd In the same order, these districts ranked 15th and 22nd one year ago and 56th and 16th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 120.7 percent—was North Dakota . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 215.4 percent—was Hawaii .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 28.6 percent—was Wyoming .  But over the past five years, South Dakota showed the largest drop— 15.6 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 May 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Proctor, R. David Ala, N 23 1 533 397 More
Barrett, Michael Ryan Ohio, S 18 2 401 330 More
Wigenton, Susan Davis N. J. 17 3 471 197 More
Breen, J. Daniel Tenn, W 14 4 11 46 More
Lenard, Joan A. Fla, S 13 5 50 58 More
Blackburn, Sharon Lovelace Ala, N 12 6 90 492 More
Guzman, Ronald A. Ill, N 12 6 471 397 More
Caldwell, Karen K. Ken, E 12 6 471 197 More
Hopkins, Virginia Emerson Ala, N 11 9 123 276 More
Pauley, William H., III N. Y., S 10 10 471 157 More
Smith, Walter Scott, Jr. Texas, W 10 10 238 124 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 6 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge R. David Proctor in the Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham) ranked 1st with 23 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Michael Ryan Barrett in the Southern District of Ohio (Cincinnati) ranked 2nd with 18 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Susan Davis Wigenton in the District of New Jersey ranked 3rd with 17 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: July 22, 2013
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