National Internal Security/Terrorism Prosecutions for August 2012
Table 1: Criminal National Internal Security/Terrorism Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2012 the government reported 26 new national internal security/terrorism prosecutions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 18.2% over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with national internal security/terrorism-related offenses 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 2012 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was the same.
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 41.8 percent from levels reported in 2007.
Figure 1: Monthly trends in national internal security/terrorism prosecutions
The decrease from the levels five years ago in national internal security/terrorism prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1.
The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of national internal security/terrorism 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.
Within the broad category of national internal security/terrorism, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
Case types within national internal security/terrorism are
Matters Relating to National Internal Security
International Terrorism Incidents Which Impact on U.S.
Terrorism Related Hoaxes
Export Enforcement Terrorism Related
National Security/Critical Infrastructure Protection
The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in August 2012 was for "Terrorism-Domestic", accounting for 34.6 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Terrorism-Related Financing" (23.1%), "
Terrorism-Critical Infrastructure Protec" (15.4%), "Terrorism-Related Hoaxes" (15.4%), "Terrorism-International" (11.5%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for national internal security/terrorism prosecutions in August 2012
was FBI accounting for 62 percent of prosecutions referred.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of national internal security/terrorism referrals were:
Energy (12% ), DEA (4%), IRS (4%), Interior (4%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Figure 3: Prosecutions by investigative agency
National Internal Security/Terrorism Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In August 2012, 2 defendants
in national internal security/terrorism 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 August the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 18 U.S.C Section 115 involving the "Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a Federal official". This was the lead charge
for 50 percent of all magistrate filings in August.
National Internal Security/Terrorism Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In August 2012, 24 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during August there
were an additional 7 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 August.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of national internal security/terrorism matters
filed in U.S. District Court during August 2012.
Table 2: Top charges filed
"Laundering of monetary instruments" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Mailing threatening communications" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 876.
Ranked 3rd were
"Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 844, "Buildings or property within special maritime/territorial jurisdiction" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1363 and "Atomic Energy - Statute of limitations" under Title 42 U.
S.C Section 2278.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In August 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 12.1 national internal security/terrorism prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.
Understandably, there is great variation in the number of national internal security/terrorism prosecutions that are filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
The districts registering the
largest number of prosecutions of this type last month are shown in Table 3.
Table 3: Top 10 districts
The Central District of California (Los Angeles) and Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville)—with 6 prosecutions—were the most active during August 2012.
Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh), Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth) and Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) are now ranking 3rd.
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 national internal security/terrorism crime cases of this type
during August 2012 are shown in Table 4.
All 18 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of national internal security/terrorism filings . (Because of ties, there were a total of 18 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Audrey B. Collins in the Central District of California (Los Angeles) ranked 1st with 6 defendants in national internal security/terrorism cases.
Judges Thomas W. Phillips in the Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) and C. Clifford Shirley in the Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 2nd with 3 defendants in national internal security/terrorism
Report Generated: November 19, 2012