Convictions for August 2017

Referring Agency: Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security

Number Latest Month 6,899
Percent Change from previous month 45.4
Percent Change from 1 year ago -14.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
-37.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
-16.4
Table 1. Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2017 the government reported 6899 new convictions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 45.4 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 down (-14%). 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 37.9 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 16.4 percent instead of 37.9 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.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

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.

Cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.

The largest number of convictions of these matters in August 2017 was for "Immigration", accounting for 89 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (5.9%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions

Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In August 2017, 4000 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 August 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 82.3 percent of all magistrate convictions in August.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (15.9%).

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In August 2017, 2899 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during August 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 August.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during August 2017 referred by the Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,714 1 1 1 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 310 2 2 4 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 190 3 3 3 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 108 4 4 2 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 99 5 5 5 More
08 USC 1325 - Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. 68 6 9 7 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 55 7 6 6 More
18 USC 1959 - Violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity 39 8 33 - More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 39 8 7 8 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 32 10 8 10 More
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 "Bringing in and harboring certain aliens" under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324. "Bringing in and harboring certain aliens" under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "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 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions — up 160 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1959 that involves " Violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 45.8 percent — was registered for convictions under " Firearms; Unlawful acts " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 25.3 percent — was " Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1546 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease — 58.3 % — when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In August 2017 the Justice Department said the government obtained 1082.3 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.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
N Mexico 17,553 305 1 3 5 More
Cal, S 11,415 331 2 5 4 More
Texas, W 9,543 555 3 1 2 More
Arizona 6,327 360 4 4 1 More
Texas, S 5,862 463 5 2 3 More
Utah 2,804 70 6 14 17 More
N Car, W 2,124 56 7 13 35 More
Ala, S 1,851 13 8 44 43 More
Wyoming 1,638 8 9 44 51 More
N Dakota 1,585 10 10 25 32 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico — with 17553 convictions as compared with 1082.3 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during August 2017. The District of New Mexico was ranked 3 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 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Western District of North Carolina (Asheville), now ranked 7th , and Utah at 6th In the same order, these districts ranked 13th and 14th one year ago and 35th and 17th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago — 177.4 percent — was Utah . This was the same district that had the largest increase — 136.7 percent — when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions — 34.2 percent — was New Mexico .  But over the past five years, Arizona showed the largest drop — 38.1 percent.

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 August 2017 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 108 1 2 2 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 101 2 19 3 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 82 3 10 4 More
Gonzales, Kenneth John N Mexico 73 4 3 - More
Moses, Alia M. Texas, W 68 5 1 1 More
Guaderrama, David C. Texas, W 62 6 8 58 More
Lemelle, Ivan L. R. Texas, W 58 7 53 35 More
Briones, David Texas, W 53 8 14 9 More
Collins, Raner Christercunean Arizona 51 9 13 13 More
Parker, James Aubrey N Mexico 51 9 125 50 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

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 Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 108 convicted in convictions. Judge Brack appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 2) and five years ago (rank 2).

  • Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 2nd with 101 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Randy Crane in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 82 convicted in convictions. Judge Crane appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 10) and five years ago (rank 4).

Report Generated: September 19, 2017
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