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Federal Crimes -


       A federal crime is an offense that is in violation of the laws of the United States or a crime that occurs on property owned by the Federal government. The criminal laws of the United States can be found in Title 18 of the United States Code or in the regulations created by the various federal agencies.

Federal Offenses

       Some common examples of federal crimes would include: alcohol violations, arms violations, bank fraud, bank robbery, child pornography, firearms violations, computer crime, trafficking in drugs, espionage, certain hate crimes, identity theft, immigration violations, income tax evasion, Internet fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, RICO violations, and assassination attempts on the President.

The Courts

       The prosecution of federal criminal cases is handled by the Office of the U.S. Attorney. The trials are held in District Courts.

       In California, there are four Judicial Districts: the Northern District, Central District, Eastern District and Southern District. The Judicial Districts are reviewed on appeal at the Circuit Court of Appeals. California is a part of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, along with Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Ninth Circuit is stationed primarily in San Francisco, California, but also meets in Pasadena, Portland and Seattle.

       There are 11 numbered Circuit Court plus the District of Columbia Circuit and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Appeals above the Circuit Courts go to the final level, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Federal Enforcement Officers

       According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, in September, 2004, there were 106,354 full-time Federal enforcement officers. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection was the largest employer, with 28,200. For comparison purposes, at the same time there were one million full-time law enforcement officers for state and local law agencies.

The FBI and ATF

       Investigation of most federal crimes is handled by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and certain other agencies such as the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). The ATF focuses on trafficking of firearms, explosives, bombings and terrorism.

Statistics

       There are 115 federal institutions with 6 regional offices, that are responsible for approximately 204,000 offenders. In 2006, 79,904 people were convicted and sentenced for federal crimes, of which 63,699 were incarcerated for an average term of slightly over 5 years prison. 146 people were convicted for murder (including non-negligent manslaughter) and 140 were incarcerated for an average term of 10 years. 30 people were convicted of committing threats against the President, and 24 of them were incarcerated for an average term of 20 months. 46 people were convicted of crimes against "national defense" and 29 of them were incarcerated for an average term of 15 years.

- Written by , Attorney at Law

 

 

 



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