Federal Criminal Cases at Record High; Drug Offenses Lead the Way


The number of criminal defendants in federal courts in the year ending last September 30 rose 3 percent to set a new record of 102,931, says the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Drug offenses continued to be the most commonly prosecuted crimes, accounting for 31 percent of all defendant filings. Twenty-eight percent of defendant filings were immigration-related offenses. The number of defendants accused of immigration offenses declined for the first time since 2006, dropping 3 percent to 28,239.

Fraud defendants rose 3 percent to 12,973. The most notable increase was in defendants charged with attempt and conspiracy to defraud, which grew 34 percent to 2,239. In federal appeals courts, criminal cases dropped 5 percent to 12,198, primarily because fewer prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine offenses sought reductions of their sentences.

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