Convictions for December 2017

Referring Agency: Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security

Number Latest Month 5,121
Percent Change from previous month -1.4
Percent Change from 1 year ago -0.5
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
-37.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
-17.5
Table 1. Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2017 the government reported 5121 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 down 1.4 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 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 37.1 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 17.5 percent instead of 37.1 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 December 2017 was for "Immigration", accounting for 91.2 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (4.5%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions

Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In December 2017, 2718 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 81.4 percent of all magistrate convictions in December.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (18%).

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2017, 2403 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 referred by the Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,534 1 1 1 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 264 2 2 2 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 120 3 3 3 More
08 USC 1325 - Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. 85 4 8 8 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 79 5 5 4 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 51 6 4 5 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 35 7 6 6 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 29 8 7 7 More
18 USC 1544 - Misuse of passport 24 9 10 9 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 22 10 9 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 2 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 152.1 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 — 91.9 % — 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 32.7 percent — was " Attempt and conspiracy " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions — 49.5 percent — was for convictions where the lead charge was " Misuse of passport " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1544 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2017 the Justice Department said the government obtained 892.4 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 14,762 256 1 4 5 More
Cal, S 11,970 349 2 5 4 More
Texas, W 9,100 538 3 2 1 More
Texas, S 4,820 386 4 1 3 More
Arizona 3,359 194 5 3 2 More
N Dakota 2,216 14 6 17 27 More
La, M 1,868 13 7 64 67 More
Iowa, N 1,718 19 8 23 40 More
Ga, M 1,255 21 9 40 75 More
Okla, N 1,243 11 10 67 65 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico — with 14762 convictions as compared with 892.4 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 North Dakota , now ranked 6th , and Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids) at 8th In the same order, these districts ranked 17th and 23rd one year ago and 27th and 40th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago — 128.6 percent — was Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 261.5 percent — was Middle District of Georgia (Macon).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions — 40.5 percent — was Arizona .  This was the same district that had the largest increase — 52.7 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.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Gonzales, Kenneth John N Mexico 81 1 2 - More
Garcia, Orlando Luis Texas, W 80 2 50 38 More
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 71 3 3 1 More
Martinez, Philip Ray Texas, W 71 3 20 8 More
Cardone, Kathleen Texas, W 57 5 13 9 More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 57 5 8 5 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 56 7 10 7 More
Moses, Alia M. Texas, W 52 8 1 2 More
Saldana, Diana Texas, S 50 9 19 43 More
Olvera, Jose Rolando, Jr. Texas, S 50 9 6 - 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 Kenneth John Gonzales in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 81 convicted in convictions. Judge Gonzales also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago (ranked 2).

  • Judge Orlando Luis Garcia in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 80 convicted in convictions.

  • Judges Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico and Philip Ray Martinez in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 71 convicted in convictions. Judge Brack appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 3) and five years ago (rank 1).

Report Generated: January 24, 2018
TRAC Copyright
Copyright 2018, TRAC Reports, Inc.

TRAC RSS Feed for this page Email Feed for this page Email this page