Prosecutions for March 2010
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2010 the government reported 15830 new prosecutions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 36.9% 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 2010 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was down (-4.1 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 43.5 percent from levels reported in 2005.
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 March 2010 was for "Immigration", accounting for 52.3 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (11.8%), "
Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (7%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (4.5%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (3.6%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (3.4%), "Assimilated Crimes" (3%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for prosecutions in March 2010
was DHS accounting for 59 percent of prosecutions referred.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of referrals were:
DEA (10% ), FBI (8%), ATF (6%), Defense (3%).
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 March 2010, 9703 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 March 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 43.1 percent of all magistrate filings in March.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "8 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (23.4%), "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention + Control-Prohibited acts A" (5.4%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In March 2010, 6127 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March there
were an additional 2638 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 March.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during March 2010.
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 the 2 most frequently invoked 5 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 the 1 most frequently invoked 5 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 the 3 most frequently invoked 5 years ago..
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in prosecutions—up 10.5 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326
that involves " Reentry of deported alien
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—94.9 percent—was registered for
prosecutions under " Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1546 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 37.4 percent—was
Importation of controlled substances
(Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 ).
This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 30.2 %—when compared with five years ago.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In March 2010 the Justice Department said the government brought 3520.6 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 21624 prosecutions as compared with 3520.6 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during March 2010.
The District of New Mexico was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.
The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd.
The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.
Southern District of California (San Diego) is now ranking 3rd.
The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 five years ago.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Eastern District of Texas (Tyler), now ranked
, and South Dakota
In the same order, these districts ranked 29th and 44th one year ago and 23rd and 50th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 47 percent—was
Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 102.8 percent—was
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 22.4 percent—was
South Dakota .
But over the past five years,
Southern District of Alabama (Mobile)
showed the largest drop— 23.3 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 March 2010 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 160 defendants in cases.
Judge Brack appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 3) and five years ago (rank 2).
Judge George P. Kazen in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 2nd with 135 defendants in cases.
Judge Kazen appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 2) and five years ago (rank 1).
Judge Micaela Alvarez in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 129 defendants in cases.
Judge Alvarez appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 1) and five years ago (rank 3).