Skip to main content
Press Release

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town Announces Number of Federal Defendants Charged and Imprisoned Highest Ever Recorded

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The number of defendants charged with federal crimes in the Northern District of Alabama in Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2019 and the percentage of those defendants sentenced to prison was the highest ever recorded, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town.

         “The priorities of the Department of Justice to reduce violent crime, aggressively address the opioid crisis, and protect the public fisc were all successfully executed by our office in 2019.  I believe that our numbers are a reflection of effort by not only my office, but by all of the federal law enforcement agencies and our local and state partners who continue to investigate and refer more cases than ever before,” Town said.  “More of our worst offenders are going to federal prison, and for longer.  The Criminal, Civil, and Appellate Divisions are coordinating with the others in a true phalanx and, as a result, the office was more productive than ever before.  This continues to build on the improvements made in 2018. Not only are prosecutions up, but we have increased our crime prevention efforts dramatically as well and the citizens of the Northern District of Alabama are safer as a result of these efforts.”

All of the caseload data and statistics below are extracted from the United States Attorneys’ Case Management System kept by the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.  The years ascribed to any particular data point are fiscal years, which runs from October 1st through September 30th of any given period.  Unless otherwise specified, any comparisons of data are based upon comparisons to previous NDAL statistics.

The data provided by the Department of Justice shows that the 97% of NDAL defendants pleaded guilty, which is largely a result of robust investigations and prosecutorial efforts.  The 706 defendants prosecuted by NDAL’s Criminal Division is the single largest number of defendants ever prosecuted by this office, up 22.8% over FY-2018’s 575, which was previously the largest number of defendants prosecuted in a single year since FY-2007.  The 706 defendants in FY-2019 is also a 73% increase over the 408 defendants prosecuted just three years ago in FY-2016.  The 1281 defendants prosecuted by the Criminal Division in the past two fiscal years, and the 1821 defendants prosecuted by the Criminal Division in the past three fiscal years, accounts for the largest collective number of defendants prosecuted in consecutive years ever recorded in the District.

The number of defendants sentenced to prison in FY-2019 rose 13.7% from 387 defendants in FY-2018 to 440 defendants in FY-2019.

According to the data provided by the Department of Justice, the Northern District of Alabama received more cases from investigative agencies in 2019 than has ever been recorded.  The 800 matters received by NDAL topped the previous record of 786 from 2018.

Criminal Division trials increased 150% in FY2019.  Over 41% of all defendants sentenced to prison received a term of incarceration of more than 5 years.  Nearly 36% of all defendants sentenced to prison received a term of 26-60 months.

Illegal Immigration cases increased by 34% to 63 defendants, the largest number ever recorded in this district.  The defendants charged also represented a 394% increase over those illegal immigration defendants filed just 3 years ago in FY-2016.

Defendants prosecuted for drugs increased by 44.4% to 244 defendants.  The 413 defendants prosecuted for all drugs in FY-2019 and FY-2018 is the largest two year accumulation of drug prosecutions ever recorded.  The percentage of drug defendants sentenced to more than 5 years in federal prison has risen in each of the past three fiscal years by an average of 62.5%.  Approximately 71% of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) defendants were sentenced to more than 5 years in federal prison.  This supports our belief that we are prosecuting the most serious drug traffickers.

The Northern District of Alabama has prosecuted five defendants for terrorism or national security offenses in the past two fiscal years.

There were 281 defendants prosecuted for violent crimes in FY-2019, which is the largest number recorded.  The previous record was 259 (FY-2018) which broke the previous record of 239 (FY-2017) which broke the previous record of 224 (FY-2006).

There were 82 cases filed against white collar defendants, which is the highest number since 2014 and an increase of 34.4% over the previous fiscal year.

The Civil Division filed 815 matters in FY-2019, which is a nearly 7% increase. 

There were no appeals decided against the United States for the first time since FY-2015, a credit to the work of the Appellate Division.


Updated January 8, 2020