I found this article in the Arizona Daily Star (“Judge asks to delay felony trials,” January 5) to be interesting. It appears that Operation Streamline and an influx of cases in the Tuscon area generally is contributing to a crisis of sorts in the federal judicial system. Here are the highlights:
The chief judge of Arizona’s federal courts has declared a judicial emergency, citing an all-time high of felony cases that has pushed the four judges in Tucson past their limits.
Chief judge John M. Roll wants permission to delay bringing felons to trial. …
Two years ago there were 3,023 felony cases filed in federal court in Arizona. That increased to 4,311 the next year and 5,219 just last year. In just Tucson, felony filings went from 1,564 two years ago to 3,289 last year.
According to data from TRAC (this particular data takes a TRAC Fed subscription to access), it appears that Operation Streamline may be directly contributing to this crisis. In Arizona for the first 11 months of FY 2010,
Cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types. The single largest number of prosecutions of these matters through August 2010 was for “Immigration”, accounting for 85.5 percent of prosecutions.
By far the two largest charges were for 1325 “Entry of alien at improper time or place” with 12770 and 1326 “Reentry of deported alien” with 12,452 charges. 1325 illegal entry is generally a misdemeanor while 1326 is always a felony. The third most prosecuted class of crimes in Arizona were 21 USC 0841 charges related to drug crimes, but that charge only lead with 1,180 cases, a far cry from the 12,452 1326 charges. Here’s a breakdown of the data from TRAC: