Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

(202) 514-2007
TDD: (202) 514-1888

Justice Department Prosecutions at All-Time High

Counterterrorism and Gun Crime Among Top Priorities, But There’s Much More

“Twenty years ago when I started as a federal prosecutor, we ‘feds’ focused mainly on white-collar fraud cases, local drug conspiracy cases, organized crime, interstate theft cases involving chop shops and bank robberies. Twenty years later, we face new, resource-intensive challenges like international terrorism, illegal immigration; violent gun crimes; street gangs; large scale multi-state and international drug conspiracies; computer crimes, including child exploitation, cyber fraud, intrusions, internet pharmacy and identity theft cases; corporate fraud, healthcare fraud, and complex public corruption cases."

− Acting Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford, 10/16/07

Record Prosecutions: The number of defendants charged in Federal criminal cases has risen nearly 27 percent over the past seven years, increasing from 92,230 in 2000 to 116,028 in 2006.

  • The U.S. Sentencing Commission data shows the number of convicted and sentenced defendants in Federal courts has risen by 22 percent, from 59,846 in 2000 to 72,585 in 2006.

Committed Resources: The Administration has provided increased resources to help all major DOJ litigating divisions enforce the law and direct the Administration’s priorities:

  • Civil Rights Division – up 38 percent
  • Criminal Division – up 31 percent (included areas now in the National Security Division)
  • Civil Division – up 41 percent
  • Environment & Natural Resources Division – up 45 percent
  • Tax Division – up 27 percent

Main Justice vs U.S. Attorneys Offices: The Post misunderstood the focus of the Department’s divisions -- prosecution numbers are largely divorced from division budgets and any comparison between the two is misleading.

  • Bank robbery cases, for example, are rarely handled by the Criminal Division.
  • Similarly, organized crimes cases are predominantly prosecuted by U.S. Attorney’s offices and Organized Crime Strike Forces.
  • A look at the Criminal Division’s prosecution record shows a substantial increase in prosecutions generally when comparing 2000 to 2006. For example, public corruption convictions increased by 110%.

Violent Crime: Violent crime rates vary widely by region and city population, and the 2006 crime rate is the third-lowest rate recorded by the FBI in over 30 years.

  • Violent crime prosecutions are up 33 percent from 2000 to .
  • Gun crime prosecutions are up 87 percent.
  • The Department launched a new violent crime strategy in early 2007 in targeted regions.
  • 2008 DOJ budget requests $200 million to support local violent crime task forces.

White-Collar Crime: The wake of several major corporate scandals in 2001 and 2002 and other national events have shifted the Department’s focus to national cases that would make a significant impact.

  • The President’s Corporate Fraud Task Force has obtained 1,236 convictions since 2002, including prosecutions of WorldCom, Adelphia, and the numerous convictions by the Enron Task Force.
  • Since 2005, the Department’s Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force has charged 768 people with hurricane fraud-related crimes.
  • Created in 2006, the Department’s National Procurement Fraud Task Force has produced more than 200 procurement fraud cases.
  • Through its health-fraud efforts, the Department has transferred $1.5 billion to the Medicare Trust Fund and $177 million to Medicaid funds.

Civil Rights: Recent Civil Rights Division efforts have broken enforcement records, with total civil rights prosecutions up 40 percent from 2000.

  • From 2004 to 2006, human trafficking cases more than doubled, and 2006 was a record-breaking year for convictions.
  • Voting rights lawsuits in 2006 dwarfed those filed in previous decades – more than doubling the average number of lawsuits filed in a year.
  • The Department has launched initiatives to enforce housing discrimination and religious freedom cases.

Environment: This Administration has shifted its focus to environmental results – large, complex cases that obtain more meaningful relief for the environment.

  • Corrective measures implemented by defendants are at an all-time high, from $358 million in 1997 to more than $4 billion in 2006.
  • Recent AEP settlement will bring $4.6 billion in corrective measures for that one case alone.
  • Criminal indictments and convictions have remained steady over the past decade.
  • 2007 promises to be a strong year, with record-setting criminal penalties and supplemental sentencing totaling $203 million.

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