Monday, January 10, 2011

We're off and running

It looks like I may be in trial today, my first for the New Year. But I've been meaning to run by you the number that was tossed out in a DA's office meeting:


That's roughly the number of cases our office disposed of last year, apparently. Ten thousand felony cases.

Now, for fun, let's play with those numbers in a few ways.

Ten thousand cases means ten thousand crimes, obviously. And that many in a year correlates roughly to 27 felony crimes being committed in Austin every day of the year. Including Sundays. And holidays. And Christmas.

(Now, remember, these are felony crimes and don't take into account those common misdemeanors like DWI and assault, of which there are a trazillionty-seven every year.)

Next, we have seven courts handling felony cases, which means each court (mine included) disposed of about 1,400. With four prosecutors per court, that means I, myself, handled roughly 350 cases in 2009 (given that one of my colleagues was on maternity leave, it would have been a lot more, over 400 probably).

Breaking this down further (and even less scientifically), I estimate we have about 150 days when we're in court negotiating and taking pleas. Which means I (and my fine colleagues) are disposing of between two and three cases every time we go into court.

How about Austin? Well, with a population of about 1.7 million, that comes to one felony crime per 170 people.

Which tells me one thing: Austinites are good at sharing.

[As ever, a disclaimer: any statistics, probabilities or basic math offered by me is faulty, unreliable, misleading, and disingenuous. Why, last week I told you we'd put 13 people in jail, given 12 people probation, and therefore disposed of 23 cases. Two days later, my wife pointed out my error. I know, shameful it took her two days, but she's a busy lady. Point is, unless there's a major miscalculation, don't stick up your hand and say, "But have you accounted for holidays/vacation days/closed-due-to-bomb-threat days?" Because no, I haven't. And I won't. And you can't make me.]


  1. Harris Co. has 15,000+ felony cases pending at this moment. The average number of cases per court is 717, with 3 prosecutors per court. No fun!! About 44,000+ were disposed of last year in this crime ridden city of 4.1 million.

  2. "Ten thousand cases means ten thousand crimes, obviously."

    Only if you assume that every person charged with a felony is actually guilty of a crime. In my experience, that isn't true.

  3. Anon: Just make sure you keep them to yourself. I put it down to your awful zoning practices and even worse football team. Good soccer team, though, so some hope...

    Ms. Pace: fair point. 9,999 crimes, then. Okay, okay, but then I suppose one should add in the unknown number of felonies for which people go unpunished. Further, I refer you to my disclaimer regarding statistical accuracy. :)


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