Convictions for March 2014

Referring Agency: Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security

Number Latest Month 7,708
Percent Change from previous month 12.7
Percent Change from 1 year ago -21.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -15.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -3.5
Table 1. Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2014 the government reported 7708 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 12.7 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 2014 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was down (-21%). 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 15.1 percent from levels reported in 2009.

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 3.5 percent instead of 15.1 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 March 2014 was for "Immigration", accounting for 86.6 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (8.2%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions

Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In March 2014, 4488 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 March 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 61 percent of all magistrate convictions in March.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (33.1%).

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In March 2014, 3220 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March 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 March.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during March 2014 referred by the Immigration and Customs in Homeland Security.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,960 1 1 1 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 233 2 2 2 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 194 3 4 6 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 155 4 3 3 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 117 5 5 7 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 85 6 6 5 More
08 USC 1325 - Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. 49 7 8 4 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 48 8 9 12 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 44 9 7 8 More
18 USC 1544 - Misuse of passport 37 10 10 28 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 "Importation of controlled substances" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 952. "Importation of controlled substances" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 was ranked 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 6 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions — up 50.3 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. ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 1166.7 percent — was registered for convictions under " Misuse of passport " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1544 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 12.8 percent — was " Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1546 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions — 66.5 percent — was for convictions where the lead charge was " Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. " (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In March 2014 the Justice Department said the government obtained 1230.9 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 23,131 402 1 5 5 More
Cal, S 16,422 459 2 3 3 More
Texas, W 8,940 491 3 2 2 More
Texas, S 6,534 485 4 1 1 More
Arizona 4,779 261 5 4 4 More
Utah 2,522 60 6 11 16 More
Fla, S 2,337 135 7 6 6 More
N Dakota 2,058 12 8 23 23 More
La, M 1,913 13 9 49 88 More
N Car, W 1,688 43 10 14 35 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico — with 23131 convictions as compared with 1230.9 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during March 2014. The District of New Mexico was ranked 5 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 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 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 2 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Utah , now ranked 6th , and Western District of North Carolina (Asheville) at 10th In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 14th one year ago and 16th and 35th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago — 20.8 percent — was Southern District of Florida (Miami). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 900 percent — was Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions — 44.8 percent — was Western District of North Carolina (Asheville).  But over the past five years, Southern District of California (San Diego) showed the largest drop — 20.6 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 March 2014 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 133 1 1 2 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 105 2 2 - More
Gonzales, Kenneth John N Mexico 96 3 - - More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 78 4 47 33 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 69 5 7 11 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 65 6 4 9 More
Reagan, Michael Joseph N Mexico 54 7 70 - More
Cardone, Kathleen Texas, W 53 8 9 5 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 49 9 3 10 More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 47 10 10 7 More
Guaderrama, David C. Texas, W 47 10 15 - More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

All 11 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of convictions per capit. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 133 convicted in convictions. Judge Brack appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 1) and five years ago (rank 2).

  • Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 105 convicted in convictions. Judge Moses also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago (ranked 2).

  • Judge Kenneth John Gonzales in the District of New Mexico ranked 3rd with 96 convicted in convictions.

Report Generated: May 13, 2014
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