Prosecutions for February 2014

Number Latest Month 11,335
Percent Change from previous month 10.6
Percent Change from 1 year ago -16.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -14.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -19.5
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.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

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.

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 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.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,356 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 659 2 2 2 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 516 3 3 3 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 483 4 4 4 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 180 5 5 5 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 104 6 7 10 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 100 7 6 6 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 72 8 9 15 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 66 9 17 16 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 65 10 14 13 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 65 10 12 18 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 65 10 11 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 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.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
N Mexico 19,161 333 1 5 5 More
Cal, S 11,699 327 2 3 3 More
Texas, W 9,923 545 3 2 2 More
N Dakota 8,233 48 4 45 64 More
Arizona 6,556 358 5 4 4 More
Texas, S 6,359 472 6 1 1 More
S Dakota 5,904 41 7 31 44 More
D. C. 5,693 30 8 46 72 More
Ala, S 5,321 37 9 59 57 More
Ill, S 4,866 52 10 50 80 More
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 7th , and North Dakota at 4th 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 Arizona . 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.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 133 1 1 4 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 115 2 2 - More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 101 3 3 10 More
Gonzales, Kenneth John N Mexico 80 4 - - More
Anello, Michael M. Cal, S 71 5 44 46 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 66 6 7 12 More
Briones, David Texas, W 54 7 8 7 More
Ramos, Nelva Gonzales Texas, S 50 8 15 - More
Campbell, David G. Arizona 45 9 48 70 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 44 10 4 6 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

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
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