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December 31, 2018

Federal criminal caseload highlights from Chief Justice's "2018 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary"

The Chief Justice of the United States always closes out a calendar year by releasing a year-end report on the federal judiciary. The 2018 version from Chief Justice John G. Roberts is available here, and it includes an Appendix on the Workload of the Courts with some notable federal criminal justice details. Here are those details:

Criminal appeals fell one percent, appeals of administrative agency decisions decreased one percent, and bankruptcy appeals declined 10 percent.

Original proceedings in the courts of appeals, which include prisoner requests to file successive habeas corpus proceedings in the district court, dropped eight percent this year, continuing the decline from last year.  These filings had spiked in 2016 after the Supreme Court’s decision in Welch v. United States, 578 U.S. ___, No. 15-6418 (Apr. 16, 2016), which provided a new basis for certain prisoners convicted under the Armed Career Criminal Act to challenge their sentences....

Filings for criminal defendants (including those transferred from other districts) increased 13 percent to 87,149. Defendants charged with immigration offenses rose 37 percent, largely in response to a 40 percent increase in defendants charged with improper reentry by an alien.  The southwestern border districts received 78 percent of national immigration defendant filings.  Drug crime defendants, who accounted for 28 percent of total filings, grew two percent, although defendants accused of crimes associated with marijuana decreased 19 percent.  Filings for defendants prosecuted for firearms and explosives offenses rose 21 percent, the highest total since 2004.  The district courts saw increased filings involving general offenses, violent offenses, and sex offenses, and reduced filings involving justice system offenses, traffic offenses, and regulatory offenses....

A total of 129,706 persons were under post-conviction supervision on September 30, 2018, a reduction of four percent from one year earlier.  Of that number, 113,189 persons were serving terms of supervised release after leaving correctional institutions, a three percent decrease from the prior year.  Cases activated in the pretrial services system, including pretrial diversion cases, increased 13 percent to 99,931.

December 31, 2018 at 10:48 PM | Permalink


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