Putting TRAC to Work
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June 3, 2020

As COVID-19 Spread, the Department of Justice Cracked Down on Immigration and Drugs
By Rory Fleming

One big problem with the justice system is that we don't really know what most prosecutors are doing. The vast majority of local district attorneys collect no aggregate data on charging decisions, sentencing recommendations, and the like. But thanks to TRAC—the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse—we at least have a sense of what federal prosecutors are up to. So let's flash back to March, when schools, churches, and workplaces were being closed by gubernatorial order. According to TRAC, U.S. attorneys filed 19 percent fewer cases in March than in February—an understandable decline, given the circumstances. Indeed, you might wonder why the number didn't come down more. What was the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) focusing on? What was so important that it was worth stressing an already-scrambling federal judiciary?

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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