Prosecutions for 2012
Referring Agency: Department of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during FY 2012 the government reported 9,027 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.
According to the case-by-case information
analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number
is up 1.9% over the past fiscal year when the number of prosecutions totaled
The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with 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).
Compared to five years ago when there were 10,065, the number of FY 2012 prosecutions of this type is down 10.3 percent. Prosecutions over the past year are still higher than they were
ten years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are up 21
percent from the level of 7,463 reported in 2002 and up 45.9 percent from the level of 6,187 reported in 1992.
The long term trend in prosecutions for these matters going back to
FY 1992 is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of prosecutions of this type recorded each
fiscal year. Each
presidential administration is distinguished by the color of the bars. To view
trends month-by-month rather than year-by-year, see TRAC's monthly report series for the latest data.
Figure 1: Criminal Prosecutions over the last 20 years
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Leading Program Areas
Cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
The single largest number of prosecutions of these matters through September 2012 was for "Weapons", accounting for 65.7 percent of prosecutions.
The second largest number of matters were Prosecutions filed under the program area of "Narcotics/Drugs " (16.6%) .
[The Department of Justice is withholding the program area for 11.1% of the cases. These matters are also included in the "Other" category. TRAC, in ongoing litigation, has challenged the government's withholding of program category information, winning a substantial victory in September 2006 decision. The government, however, has filed a notice of appeal which has stayed the order requiring it to release program information.]
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during FY 2012.
Note: There were an additional 128 other lead charges which were not individually ranked. See latest monthly report if you
want all lead charges included in rankings for the latest month, or use TRACFED
criminal analyzer tool for complete listing for any year.
Table 2: Top charges filed
"Firearms; Unlawful acts" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.
Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 was ranked 1st a year ago, while it was the 1st most frequently invoked five years ago. It was ranked 1st ten years ago and 1st twenty years ago.
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841.
Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 was ranked 2nd a year ago, while it was the 2nd most frequently invoked five years ago. It was ranked 3rd ten years ago and 2nd twenty years ago.
Ranked 3rd was "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846.
Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 was ranked 3rd a year ago, while it was the 3rd most frequently invoked five years ago. It was ranked 4th ten years ago and 4th twenty years ago.
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in prosecutions—up 3500 percent—compared to one year ago was
Title 21 U.S.C Section 860
that involves "Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a ".
This was the same statute that had the largest increase—1700%—when compared with five years ago.
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 35.6 percent—was
"Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 844 ).
This was the same statute that had the largest decrease—39.6%—when compared with five years ago.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
During FY 2011 the Justice Department said the government obtained 28.9
prosecutions for every one million people in the United States. prosecutions for one million people in the United States during FY 2012
were 29.4 . Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita
number of prosecutions in each of the nation's ninety-four
federal judicial districts
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per one million people)
The Southern District of Alabama (Mobile)—with 124.80 prosecutions as compared with 29.4 prosecutions per one million people in the United States—was the most active through September 2012.
The Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) was ranked 1st a year ago, while it was ranked 5th five years ago. The district's position ten years ago was 6th and 4th twenty years ago.
The Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 2nd.
The Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) was ranked 4th a year ago. The district's position ten years ago was 26th and 12th twenty years ago.
The District of Kansas now ranks 3rd.
The District of Kansas was ranked 3rd a year ago. The district's position ten years ago was 47th and 57th twenty years ago.
Recent entries to the top 10 list were Northern District of West Virginia (Wheeling) and Montana, now ranked 5th and 9th. These districts ranked 21st and 24th one year ago and 28th and 4th five years ago.
Compared to 10 years ago, Montana, Southern District of Georgia (Savannah), Northern District of West Virginia (Wheeling), Eastern District of North Carolina (Raleigh), New Mexico, Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville), Alaska and Kansas now ranked in the top 10 did not appear in the top ten.
And compared to 20 years ago, Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville), Alaska, New Mexico, Eastern District of North Carolina (Raleigh), Northern District of West Virginia (Wheeling), Montana, Kansas and Southern District of Georgia (Savannah) were not sufficiently active to then make the top 10.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions
compared to one year ago—90.7 percent—was Northern District of West Virginia (Wheeling).
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth—94.2 percent—was
Eastern District of North Carolina (Raleigh) .
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions—27.5 percent—was Southern District of Georgia (Savannah).
Report Generated: December 17, 2012