Because of the way publicly available court records are organized, systematic judge-by-judge comparisons of sentencing decisions had not been readily possible until TRAC undertook this decade-long effort.
One key source obtained through TRAC litigation has been internal files of the the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA). EOUSA utilizes a complex series of internal rules for the kinds of information individual federal prosecutors are required to collect. One aspect of these procedures established an extensive list of criminal enforcement categories – drugs, white collar crime, civil rights, official corruption, terrorism, organized crime, weapons, etc. – that allow the Justice Department to track how the federal government is enforcing the law. TRAC used the categorization made by federal prosecutors of cases into these "program" categories for the comparisons in this report.