Each year by tradition the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States – the highest judicial official in the federal system – gives a year-end report in which he describes the work of the judicial branch to Congress. This year Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a report that indicates that the federal system saw the largest increase in criminal prosecutions in 80 years.
Criminal case filings rose 8 percent in 2009 over the previous year, and the number of defendants in the federal system set a record at nearly 98,000. “The number of criminal cases reaches its highest level since 1932, the year before ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed Prohibition,” Roberts wrote.
He said the increases came in cases related to immigration, fraud, marijuana trafficking and sex offenses. Immigration filings climbed to record levels, mostly because of allegations of “improper reentry by aliens or fraud or misuse of a visa or entry permit,” according to the report.