Friday, October 07, 2011

Making a federal case of it: Traditional federal crimes squeezed out by pot, immigration cases

From US Sentencing Commission data (pdf), Grits compiled this table showing how immigration cases have pushed aside other, traditional priorities for federal prosecutors in Texas compared to their counterparts in other states:

FY 2010 Federal Cases by Type, Texas vs. National

National Texas
Immigration 34.4% 62.0%
Drugs 28.9% 23.0%
Fraud 9.7% 4.8%
White Collar (Non-Fraud) 3.6% 1.7%
Larceny 2.0% 0.7%
Firearms 9.6% 3.8%
Child Pornography 2.3% 0.8%
Other 9.5% 3.3%

Another big difference between federal cases in Texas vs. the rest of the country is that the majority of Texas drug cases prosecuted by the feds are for marijuana (56.9%) compared to just over a quarter of federal drug cases (26.3%) nationwide. Cocaine, heroin and meth all make up lower proportions of federal drug cases in Texas than nationally.

Growing up, you'd hear the phrase "don't make a federal case out of it" as an admonition not to treat trivial matters as though they're of the utmost seriousness. But with immigration and marijuana cases so dominant in Texas' federal courts while traditional fraud, larceny and white-collar cases are being minimized, maybe that phrase should be retired as an anachronism.


Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Scott, just from a cursory look at these stats they certainly hold water suggesting our criminal justice resources are overly focused on what historically our states elitists would call undesirables, Mexicans and dope heads. Supportive of using the war on drugs to incarcerate minorities as a replacement for Jim Crow.

On the other hand it could be said to show we have a really big problem with Mexicans and dope heads while our state is relatively safe from traditional crime. And on the other hand it could be said to show in Texas our white collar criminals hold some type of political office and employ most of our state pedophiles and sexual deviants in Texas Youth Commission and Texas Department of Criminal inJustice. Either way the focus on Mexicans and weed heads is a real drain on our states resources and may not be worth the trade off of providing low paying n(th) power pension jobs for people whose personality disorders prevent them from working in the private sector.

Are there any recent “what if” studies regarding decriminalizing weed? From a health perspective its safer than alcohol, tobacco, and FDA approved prescription drugs. You would think in this day and age most of the propaganda used to fool people to keep it illegal would be an anachronism!?

Anonymous said...

You make a very good point with us electing our criminals. From historical perspective it was the KKK who were adamantly pro Prohibition. They believed alcohol was destroying the white protestant way of life. It was such a heated debate it cost the Democrats the presidential election against Calvin Coolidge. Very similar today regarding our marijuana scoff laws. Very sad that people have been so dumb down that people like the KKK can still be allowed to uphold there warped since of values. Its destroying our country just like the Volstead Act did back in the 1920’s. It doesn’t matter how you dress these people up for public display anti weed and anti immigrations are the same old ideals of the clan and their supporters since the Birth of a Nation.

Anonymous said...

The speech given by Dr Jeffery’s from Dallas First Baptist endorsing Rick Perry is unconstitutionally scary. Good point on the similarity’s of marijuana scoff laws to prohibition. Our governor and his cronies seem to be taking lessons from “the drys” of the 1920’s. Wonder if we will see clan rallys Oh yea they call themselves the T Party now.