Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during June 2022 the government reported 1111 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 4.4 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 2022 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was down (-9%).
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 5.7 percent from levels reported in 2017.
Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Prosecutions
The leveling out 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 June 2022 was for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen", accounting for 27.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (17.2%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (8.5%), "Project Safe Childhood" (7.7%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (5.3%), "Violence-Other" (5.2%), "Violence-Indian Country" (4.4%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (3.7%), "Bank Robbery" (3.6%), "Terrorism-Domestic" (3.1%), "Fraud-Other" (2.1%).
See Figure 2.
Figure 2. Specific Types of Prosecutions
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In June 2022, 191 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 June the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 involving "Firearms; Unlawful acts". This was the lead charge
for 7.3 percent of all magistrate filings in June.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (7.3%), "18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes" (6.8%).
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In June 2022, 920 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during June there
were an additional 172 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 June.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during June 2022 referred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A
"Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.
"Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "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 1 five years ago.
Ranked 3rd was "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922.
"Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in prosecutions — up 44.8 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 21 U.S.C Section 846
that involves " Attempt and conspiracy ".
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 131.8 percent — was registered for
prosecutions under " Interstate Communications " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 875 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago — down 36.3 percent — was
" Assaults within maritime and territorial jurisdictions " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 113 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions — 54.6 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 June 2022 the Justice Department's case-by-case records show that the government brought 399.2 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 Washington, D.C. (Washington) — with 6121 prosecutions as compared with 399.2 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during June 2022.
The District of Washington, D.C. (Washington) was ranked 1 a year ago.
The District of New Mexico ranked 2nd.
The District of New Mexico was ranked 10 a year ago.
Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa) is now ranking 3rd.
The Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa) was ranked 5 a year ago.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Middle District of Pennsylvania (Scranton), now ranked
, and Western District of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
In the same order, these districts ranked 15th and 26th one year ago and 34th and 38th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago — 100 percent — was
Middle District of Georgia (Macon).
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 1016.7 percent — was
Eastern District of Oklahoma (Muskogee).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of prosecutions — 72.2 percent — was
Eastern District of Oklahoma (Muskogee).
But over the past five years,
Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston)
showed the largest drop — 20 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 June 2022 are shown in Table 4.
A total of 7 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 4 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Brian Curtis Wimes in the Western District of Missouri (Kansas City) ranked 1st with 27 defendants in cases.
Judge Leslie Joyce Abrams in the Middle District of Georgia (Macon) ranked 2nd with 23 defendants in cases.
Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in the District of Connecticut ranked 3rd with 16 defendants in cases.