Prosecutions for January 2013

Number Latest Month 14,335
Percent Change from previous month -6.3
Percent Change from 1 year ago 9.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 44.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -5.8
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during January 2013 the government reported 14335 new prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 6.3% 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 up (9.8 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 44.2 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in prosecutions

The increase 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 January 2013 was for "Immigration", accounting for 58.8 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (10.2%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (7.7%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (3.4%), "Assimilated Crimes" (3.2%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.7%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (2.3%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for prosecutions in January 2013 was DHS accounting for 65 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of referrals were: FBI (8% ), DEA (7%), ATF (4%), Defense (3%). 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 January 2013, 9636 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 January 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 52.3 percent of all magistrate filings in January.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (23.2%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In January 2013, 4699 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during January there were an additional 2012 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 January.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

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

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,560 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 761 2 2 2 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 632 3 3 3 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 408 4 4 4 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 207 5 5 5 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 165 6 6 7 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 106 7 9 12 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 104 8 13 13 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 100 9 8 9 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 71 10 11 6 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 33.3 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 641 that involves " Public money, property or records ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—58.6 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 20.4 percent—was Attempt and conspiracy (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 32.9 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 January 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 2623.1 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 18,331 307 1 5 5 More
Cal, S 16,729 449 2 3 3 More
Texas, W 10,334 528 3 1 2 More
Texas, S 7,976 559 4 4 1 More
Arizona 7,114 391 5 2 4 More
S Dakota 6,795 46 6 43 53 More
Wyoming 6,614 30 7 77 57 More
N. Y., S 6,357 272 8 7 11 More
D. C. 6,003 30 9 64 80 More
Ga, S 5,993 73 10 84 45 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico—with 18331 prosecutions as compared with 2623.1 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during January 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 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 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 6th , and Washington, D.C. (Washington) at 9th In the same order, these districts ranked 43rd and 64th one year ago and 53rd and 80th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 135.9 percent—was Southern District of Georgia (Savannah). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 63.4 percent—was Washington, D.C. (Washington).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 36.4 percent—was Arizona .  But over the past five years, Wyoming showed the largest drop— 37.4 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 January 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 103 1 17 5 More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 88 2 2 11 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 87 3 24 12 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 73 4 1 - More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 60 5 7 3 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 58 6 5 2 More
Smith, G. R. Ga, S 55 7 245 26 More
Houston, John A. Cal, S 53 8 15 18 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 52 9 10 7 More
Rodriguez, Xavier Texas, W 48 10 42 77 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 103 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 88 defendants in cases. Judge Junellalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 2).

  • Judge Andrew S. Hanen in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 87 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: March 5, 2013
TRAC Copyright
Copyright 2013, TRAC Reports, Inc.

TRAC RSS Feed for this page Email Feed for this page Email this page