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Publication Pretrial Release and Misconduct in Federal District Courts, 2008-2010

Thomas H. Cohen, J.D., Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

November 15, 2012    NCJ 239243

Presents findings on pretrial release and misconduct among defendants in federal district courts for the combined fiscal years 2008, 2009, and 2010. The report examines the pretrial process in federal courts, including the pretrial release rate, the type of pretrial release or detention, and the conditions of pretrial release. It explores the most serious offense charges, criminal history, and demographic characteristics of released defendants. Also, it presents rates of pretrial misconduct, including technical violations, missed court appearances, and rearrests for new offenses, by most serious offense charges, types of release, demographic characteristics, and criminal history of defendants.


  • From 2008 to 2010, federal district courts released more than a third (36 percent) of defendants prior to case disposition.
  • Nearly three-quarters of federal defendants released pretrial did not pay a financial bond to secure their release.
  • Federal courts released 10% of noncitizen defendants identified as illegal aliens, compared to 43% of legal aliens and 55% of U.S. citizens.
  • About 8 out of 10 federal defendants released prior to their case disposition had conditions attached to their release.

Press Release
Full report (PDF 756K)
ASCII file (33K)
Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Spreadsheet 29K)

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