Federal Prisoner Petitions to Vacate Sentences Soar in 2016
(16 Aug 2016) The latest available data from the federal courts show that during July 2016 the government reported 1,432 new federal prisoner petitions to vacate sentences were filed. This is the fourth month in a row that civil filings for these matters have been above a thousand, far above the typical number of less than 600 each month. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, July's total was only topped by May and June of this year. In May 2016 there were a total of 2,767 prisoner sentence petitions, while in June there were a whopping 13,254.

The average for the past six months was up 690 percent over the level one-year ago, and up 567 percent over five years ago.

The Southern District of Florida (Miami) had the largest number of prisoner sentence petitions filed so far this past fiscal year with 1,259 in that one district alone. Relative to its population size, its per capita rank was sixth in the nation. On a per capita basis, the highest numbers of filings were for the District of Columbia in first place, the Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids) in second place, and the Eastern District of North Carolina (Raleigh) in third place.

Relative to its population with a rate that was only one-fifth of the national average, the Central District of California (Los Angeles) ranked in last place. The Western District of Washington (Seattle) ranked next to last on its rate of prisoner sentence petitions.

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