Prosecutions for March 2014

Number Latest Month 12,174
Percent Change from previous month 7.7
Percent Change from 1 year ago -19.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -13.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -22.6
Table 1. Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2014 the government reported 12174 new prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 7.7 percent 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 (-19.6%). 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 13.8 percent from levels reported in 2009.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

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 March 2014 was for "Immigration", accounting for 53.5 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (11.8%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (8.5%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (4.5%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (3%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.6%), "Assimilated Crimes" (2.4%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for prosecutions in March 2014 was DHS accounting for 61 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of referrals were: FBI (9% ), DEA (8%), 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 March 2014, 7586 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 "Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.". This was the lead charge for 36.6 percent of all magistrate filings in March.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (33.7%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In March 2014, 4588 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March there were an additional 1905 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 2014.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,590 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 873 2 2 2 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 518 3 3 3 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 441 4 4 4 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 200 5 5 5 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 114 6 7 10 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 110 7 6 6 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 77 8 10 9 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 75 9 8 13 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 75 9 13 17 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 10.1 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951 that involves " Hobbs Act ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase — 23.3 % — when compared with five years ago.

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago — down 26 percent — was " Public money, property or records " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 641 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions — 41.3 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 March 2014 the Justice Department said the government brought 2482.1 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 22,095 384 1 5 5 More
Cal, S 12,987 363 2 3 3 More
Wyoming 11,658 56 3 71 55 More
Texas, W 10,378 570 4 2 1 More
S Dakota 9,216 64 5 28 44 More
Arizona 8,002 437 6 4 4 More
D. C. 7,971 42 7 47 64 More
Texas, S 7,235 537 8 1 2 More
W Virg, N 6,480 50 9 79 62 More
W Virg, S 5,422 42 10 67 71 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico — with 22095 prosecutions as compared with 2482.1 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during March 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.

  • District of Wyoming is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were South Dakota , now ranked 5th , and Washington, D.C. (Washington) at 7th In the same order, these districts ranked 28th and 47th 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 — 89 percent — was Northern District of West Virginia (Wheeling). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 29.8 percent — was Arizona .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions — 24.9 percent — was Southern District of California (San Diego).  But over the past five years, Wyoming showed the largest drop — 26.1 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 2014 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 153 1 1 4 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 130 2 3 - More
Gonzales, Kenneth John N Mexico 112 3 - - More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 86 4 2 8 More
Besosa, Francisco Augusto Puer Rico 81 5 108 60 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 71 6 4 11 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 66 7 7 12 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 63 8 5 10 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 57 9 6 2 More
Ramos, Nelva Gonzales Texas, S 48 10 12 - More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 9 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 1 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 153 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 130 defendants in cases. Judge Moses also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago (ranked 3).

  • Judge Kenneth John Gonzales in the District of New Mexico ranked 3rd with 112 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: May 13, 2014
TRAC Copyright
Copyright 2014, TRAC Reports, Inc.

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