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Investigative and Prosecutorial Strategies for Mitigating Pathways to Radicalization: Creation of a Federal Terrorism Court Record Repository

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $731,927)

Much has been learned about the pathways to terrorism by studying pre-incident indicators, prosecutorial strategies, temporal and spatial patterns of precursor conduct, sequencing of terrorists’ preparatory activities, factors affecting longevity, and risk terrain modeling using the NIJ funded American Terrorism Study (ATS) Data. Nonetheless, the PIs are still frequently asked by state fusion centers, federal prosecutors, and intelligence analysts for more details about special cases and legal outcomes, patterns of precursor conduct and prosecutorial strategies, and for access to original case documents. To respond to this need in the field, the proposed project would create a simple to use, password-protected web portal that would allow intelligence analysts, NIJ funded researchers, and federal prosecutors access to all of the court records compiled as part of the ATS. After consulting with representatives of the DOJ Division on Domestic Terrorism, the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Offices and State Fusion Centers the applicants will design a web portal to make over 1,000,000 pages of court documents from 1,417 federal criminal cases from 1980-present available to practitioners.

In addition to the actual documents, the portal would provide statistics on count utilization (conviction, acquittal, etc.), patterns of terrorist conduct identified in previous projects as well as emerging trends, and simple ways to identify links between case documents, successful utilization of counts or combination of counts, the verbiage used in indictments, and unique motions filed in each case. The data will be collected through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system or directly from the courts/archives. Creation of the portal involves populating the portal with the actual documents, statistical data, and analytical tools. Analytical tools will consist of radicalization timelines and brief narratives (or profiles), which will place terrorists’ key life events and pre-incident activities into temporal and geospatial context. The portal should be operational to end-users within twelve months. New data will be added continuously as new indictments are issued and cases close. Statistics on patterns of behavior will be added to the web portal as cases unfold.

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14)."


Date Created: September 5, 2018