Prosecutions of nearly all federal crimes in Washington, D.C., with one research group estimating a 67 percent decline in the past five years, reports the Washington Post. A depleted band of prosecutors in Washington pursued half as many federal gun and drug crimes in fiscal 2007 as were prosecuted a year earlier, said the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Over the same period, the number of federal corruption cases filed against public officials dropped about 64 percent and federal white-collar fraud cases dropped 25 percent.
Washington’s U.S. attorney, Jeffrey A. Taylor, said the downward trend reflects his decision to marshal scarce resources and target the most serious white-collar criminals and the leaders of homicidal drug gangs. “If it was just about bringing up the numbers, we could flood the federal courthouse with small, stand-alone drug and gun cases,” Taylor said. “But it would not be serving justice, it would not be a wise use of resources and it would not be in the interest of public safety for this community.” In several large and well-respected U.S. attorney’s offices, budgets, staffs, and criminal caseloads have shrunk, but not so sharply as in Washington’s. The D.C. office, the nation’s largest, is unique in that it prosecutes local and federal crimes.