U.S. Attorney’s Office Announces 60 Percent Increase In Day-of-Arrest Prosecution Rates
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia today announced an increase of over 60 percent in the percent of cases charged by the Office in D.C. Superior Court at the time of arrest. This increase occurred after the District secured a contract that provided sufficient drug testing capacity in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2023.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also announced a 58 percent increase in federal prosecutions targeting individuals responsible for violence in the community. These cases included charges for kidnapping, carjacking, robberies of commercial establishments, firearms, and murder.
“Our top priority has been to prosecute the drivers of violence in both District Court and Superior Court, to remove the threat posed by those individuals, and to give the neighborhoods they terrorize time to heal,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves.
Currently, approximately 60 percent of arrests for D.C. Code offenses are charged immediately after arrest by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Superior Court, or transferred for prosecution to U.S. District Court or the D.C. Office of the Attorney General. The Office continues to charge 90 percent of the most serious violent crimes (homicide, carjacking, assault with intent to kill, and first-degree sexual abuse) at the time of arrest.
The overall day-of-arrest charging rate for Fiscal Year 2023 prosecutions in Superior Court increased to 44 percent. During the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2023, the District secured additional drug testing capacity to address the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences’ loss of accreditation in April 2021. Thereafter, in the final quarter of Fiscal Year 2023 (July – September 2023), the Office charged 53 percent of arrests in Superior Court at the time of arrest, and transferred 5 percent of arrests for prosecution by the Office in U.S. District Court or by the District’s Office of the Attorney General.
Of the remaining approximately 40 percent of D.C. arrests, roughly half were arrests where the victim did not want to participate or proceed and the Office respected their wishes. Nearly all of these cases involved misdemeanor charges. In approximately 13 percent of arrests, the Office lacked sufficient evidence to charge the case at the time of arrest, and in about three percent of arrests, the Office determined that the arrested individual had a valid affirmative defense, such as self-defense. In the remaining seven percent of cases, the Office exercised its prosecutorial discretion not to charge an arrest, typically in low-level misdemeanors committed by individuals with no or limited criminal history.
“We will continue to use every available tool in combatting the violent crime crisis we are experiencing in our city,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “This includes prosecuting - as adults - those 16- and 17-year olds who are committing pattern or spree armed robberies and carjackings. This includes bringing federal charges against those individuals responsible for gun violence, and coordinating with our federal law enforcement partners in conducting large-scale take-downs in communities being ravaged by violence. We will do everything we can to relentlessly attack them from our lane, using the full force of federal law. One shooting is one too many. One carjacking is one too many. One robbery is one too many.”
Watch this video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBK9zF7I_YY
Updated October 23, 2023