Prosecutions for August 2013

Number Latest Month 13,336
Percent Change from previous month 0.6
Percent Change from 1 year ago -1.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 1.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -10.4
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2013 the government reported 13336 new prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 0.6% 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 only slightly down (-1.3 percent). Prosecutions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are up 1.4 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 August 2013 was for "Immigration", accounting for 53.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (10.8%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (8.9%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (4.6%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (4%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.7%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for prosecutions in August 2013 was DHS accounting for 61 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of referrals were: FBI (10% ), DEA (9%), ATF (5%), Interior (2%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3: Prosecutions by investigative agency

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In August 2013, 8214 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 August the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 involving the "Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.". This was the lead charge for 45.2 percent of all magistrate filings in August.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (26.7%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In August 2013, 5122 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during August there were an additional 1960 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 August.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during August 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,582 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 951 2 2 2 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 597 3 3 3 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 491 4 4 4 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 256 5 5 5 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 155 6 6 11 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 120 7 7 8 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 94 8 8 7 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 76 9 9 10 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 75 10 10 9 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "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 2 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 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 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 2252 that involves " Material involving sexual exploitation of minors ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—31.1 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Importation of controlled substances " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 20.2 percent—was Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 48.2 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1546 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In August 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 2768.1 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 Mexico 21,317 357 1 5 5 More
Cal, S 17,177 461 2 4 3 More
Texas, W 11,254 575 3 1 2 More
Wash, E 9,211 113 4 75 51 More
S Dakota 8,567 58 5 30 45 More
N Dakota 8,348 45 6 56 73 More
Texas, S 7,904 554 7 2 1 More
Arizona 7,314 402 8 3 4 More
D. C. 6,204 31 9 63 71 More
Alaska 5,257 30 10 84 87 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico—with 21317 prosecutions as compared with 2768.1 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during August 2013. The District of New Mexico was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego) ranked 2nd. The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • Western District of Texas (San Antonio) is now ranking 3rd. The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were South Dakota , now ranked 5th , and North Dakota at 6th In the same order, these districts ranked 30th and 56th one year ago and 45th and 73rd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 138.3 percent—was Eastern District of Washington (Spokane). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 104 percent—was North Dakota .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 38.2 percent—was Arizona .  But over the past five years, Southern District of Texas (Houston) showed the largest drop— 8.4 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 August 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 161 1 2 1 More
Ramos, Nelva Gonzales Texas, S 98 2 10 - More
Cerezo, Carmen Consuelo Puer Rico 97 3 54 33 More
Garcia-Gregory, Jay A. Puer Rico 93 4 68 186 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 93 4 1 - More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 72 6 4 11 More
Wake, Neil Vincent Arizona 71 7 37 44 More
Cardone, Kathleen Texas, W 69 8 8 8 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 54 9 5 6 More
Besosa, Francisco Augusto Puer Rico 53 10 54 89 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 7 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 3 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 161 defendants in cases. Judge Brack appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 2) and five years ago (rank 1).

  • Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 2nd with 98 defendants in cases. Judge Ramosalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 10).

  • Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo in the District of Puerto Rico ranked 3rd with 97 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: November 12, 2013
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