Convictions for December 2017
Table 1. Criminal Convictions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2017 the government reported 8146 new convictions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 0.1 percent over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (see Table 1).
When monthly 2017 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of convictions was only slightly down (-0.5%).
Convictions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago.
Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are down 30.6 percent from levels reported in 2012.
The dip in
these cases is partly related to increases in the matters filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. If magistrate cases
are excluded and only Federal District Court cases are counted, the overall decrease in
convictions is 17.1 percent instead of 30.6 percent.
The evidence suggests that part of the difference may be the result of improvements in the recording of the magistrate cases
by the Justice Department.
Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Convictions
The decrease from the levels five years ago in convictions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1.
The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of convictions of this type recorded on a month-to-month
basis. Where a prosecution was initially filed in U.S. Magistrate Court and then transferred to the U.S. District Court,
the magistrate filing date was used since this provides an earlier indicator of actual trends.
The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so
that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. The one and five-year rates of change in Table 1 and in the sections that follow are all based upon this six-month moving average. To view trends year-by-year rather than month-by-month, see TRAC's annual report series for a broader picture.
Cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
The largest number of convictions of these matters in December 2017 was for "Immigration", accounting for 57.5 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (11.6%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (6.4%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (4.1%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (3.3%), "Project Safe Childhood" (2.2%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for convictions in December 2017
was DHS accounting for 63 percent of convictions.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of convictions were:
FBI (10% ), DEA (8%), ATF (6%), Local (2%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions
Figure 3. Convictions by Investigative Agency
Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In December 2017, 2942 defendants
in cases for these matters were
filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. These courts handle less serious
misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses." In
addition, complaints are sometimes filed in the magistrate courts before
an indictment or information is entered. In these cases, the matter
starts in the magistrate courts and later moves to the district court
where subsequent proceedings take place.
In the magistrate courts in December the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 involving "Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.". This was the lead charge
for 75.2 percent of all magistrate convictions in December.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (16.6%).
Convictions in U.S. District Courts
In December 2017, 5204 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during December there
were an additional 0 defendants whose cases moved from the magistrate
courts to the U.S. district courts after an indictment or information
was filed. The sections which follow cover both sets of cases and
therefore cover all matters filed in district court during December.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during December 2017.
Table 2. Top Charges for Convictions
"Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.
"Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841.
"Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.
Ranked 3rd was "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922.
"Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 was ranked 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in convictions — up 149.7 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325
that involves " Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. ".
This was the same statute that had the largest increase — 88.9 % — when compared with five years ago.
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 19.2 percent — was
" Importation of controlled substances " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions — 38.7 percent — was
for convictions where the lead charge was " Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ).
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In December 2017 the Justice Department said the government obtained 1932.6 convictions for every ten million people in the United States.
Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of convictions in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
The districts registering the
largest number of convictions per capita for these matters last month are shown in Table 3.
Districts must have at least 5 convictions to receive a ranking.
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)
The District of New Mexico — with 16723 convictions as compared with 1932.6 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during December 2017.
The District of New Mexico was ranked 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 for most frequent use five years ago.
The Southern District of California (San Diego) ranked 2nd.
The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 for most frequent use five years ago.
Western District of Texas (San Antonio) is now ranking 3rd.
The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis), now ranked
, and Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
In the same order, these districts ranked 18th and 29th one year ago and 24th and 16th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago — 192.7 percent — was
Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 75.5 percent — was
Middle District of Georgia (Macon).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of convictions — 38.8 percent — was
This was the same district that had the largest increase — 49 percent — when compared with five years ago.
Top Ranked District Judges
At any one time, there are about 680 federal District Court judges working in the United States. The judges recorded with the largest number of new crime cases resulting in convictions of this type during December 2017 are shown in Table 4.
All 10 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of convictions per capit.
Judge Orlando Luis Garcia in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 95 convicted in convictions.
Judge Kenneth John Gonzales in the District of New Mexico ranked 2nd with 85 convicted in convictions.
Judge Gonzales also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago (ranked 3).
Judge Philip Ray Martinez in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 77 convicted in convictions.
Report Generated: January 24, 2018