Terry Jeffrey

When measured by the number of criminal defendants charged with federal crimes by U.S. attorneys, the top five U.S. judicial districts for fiscal 2009 were all on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In fact, these five judicial districts are the only five on the U.S.-Mexico border -- covering its entire expanse from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean.

There are 94 federal judicial districts, covering the area of all 50 states, plus Guam, the North Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

In the Southern District of Texas, which covers a stretch of border from Brownsville past Laredo, the U.S. attorney's office filed criminal charges against 8,801 defendants in fiscal 2009. That gave that district the nation's No. 1 ranking for most criminal defendants charged in 2009, according to data published in Table 1 of the United States Attorneys' Annual Statistical Report for Fiscal Year 2009.

The 8,801 criminal defendants charged in the Southern District of Texas, in fact, was more than four times the 1,959 charged in the Southern District of New York (which includes Manhattan and the Bronx) and more than six times the 1,377 charged in the Eastern District of New York (which included Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island).

Following the Southern District of Texas as the No. 2 district in the nation for the most criminal defendants is the Western District of Texas, which covers the rest of the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. The U.S. attorney here filed charges against 8,435 defendants in 2009.

Rounding out the top five are the districts for Southern California (5,554 defendants charged), Arizona (5,155) and New Mexico (3,769).

The 5,554 criminal defendants charged in Southern District of California -- which includes San Diego and Imperial counties and covers the entire California stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border -- was more than twice the 2,581 charged in the Central District of California, which includes the nearby Los Angeles metropolitan area, but does not touch the border.

Not nearly as many criminals were charged in federal judicial districts along the Canadian border. There were 191 charged in the District of Alaska, 806 in the Western District of Washington, 468 in the Eastern District of Washington, 393 in Idaho, 430 in Montana, 355 in North Dakota, 531 in Minnesota, 567 in the Western District of Michigan, 956 in the Eastern District of Michigan, 925 in the Northern District of New York, 183 in Vermont, 290 in New Hampshire and 182 in Maine.

What is going on here?

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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