Prosecutions for February 2014
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during February 2014 the government reported 11335 new prosecutions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 10.6% 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 2014 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was down (-16.2 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 14.3 percent from levels reported in 2009.
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 February 2014 was for "Immigration", accounting for 53.3 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (11.8%), "
Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (7.4%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (4.6%), "Assimilated Crimes" (3.8%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (2.9%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.7%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for prosecutions in February 2014
was DHS accounting for 62 percent of prosecutions referred.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of referrals were:
FBI (8% ), DEA (7%), ATF (5%), Defense (4%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Figure 3: Prosecutions by investigative agency
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In February 2014, 7133 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 February 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 36.6 percent of all magistrate filings in February.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (33.7%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In February 2014, 4202 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during February there
were an additional 1570 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 February.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during February 2014.
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 30.4 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—74.1 percent—was registered for
prosecutions under " Fraud by wire, radio, or television
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 20.9 percent—was
Importation of controlled substances
(Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 39.8 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 February 2014 the Justice Department said the government brought 2206.5 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.
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)
The District of New Mexico—with 19161 prosecutions as compared with 2206.5 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during February 2014.
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 3 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 2 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
, and North Dakota
In the same order, these districts ranked 31st and 45th one year ago and 44th and 64th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 11.8 percent—was
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 76.2 percent—was
Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 23.6 percent—was
South Dakota .
But over the past five years,
Southern District of Alabama (Mobile)
showed the largest drop— 20.9 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 February 2014 are shown in Table 4.
All 10 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of filings per capita.
Judge Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 133 defendants in cases.
Judge Brack appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 1) and five years ago (rank 4).
Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 115 defendants in cases.
Judge Mosesalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 2).
Judge Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 101 defendants in cases.
Judge Junell appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 3) and five years ago (rank 10).
Report Generated: April 24, 2014