Convictions for December 2013

Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Number Latest Month 686
Percent Change from previous month 25.9
Percent Change from 1 year ago -6.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -15.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -15.7
Table 1: Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2013 the government reported 686 new convictions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 25.9% 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 2013 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was down (-6.9 percent). 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 15.7 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

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 2013 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 63.8 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (13.8%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (10.1%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (6.7%), "Violence-Other" (3.5%). 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 2013, no 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.

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2013, 684 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 2013referred by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 391 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 67 2 2 2 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 60 3 3 3 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 38 4 4 4 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 21 5 5 5 More
26 USC 5861 - Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts 10 6 6 6 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 6 7 7 7 More
18 USC 554 - Smuggling goods from the United States 3 8 14 - More
18 USC 844 - Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives 2 9 10 8 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 2 9 20 22 More
18 USC 2342 - Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts 2 9 11 10 More
18 USC 3583 - Term of supervised release after imprisonment 2 9 27 36 More
Table 2: Top charges for convictions

  • "Firearms; Unlawful acts" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Firearms; Unlawful acts" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922) 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 "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846. "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 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 150 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 3583 that involves " Term of supervised release after imprisonment ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase—400 %—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 22 percent—was Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 48.4 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2013 the Justice Department said the government obtained 261.5 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 Car, M 2,020 48 1 7 32 More
Vermont 1,725 9 2 58 74 More
Tenn, W 1,592 21 3 6 7 More
Ala, S 1,150 8 4 30 44 More
Mo, E 1,070 26 5 20 21 More
Mo, W 888 23 6 9 6 More
Ark, W 822 9 7 87 86 More
N Car, E 718 23 8 1 5 More
Texas, E 718 22 8 17 7 More
Ga, S 702 9 10 28 25 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro)—with 2020 convictions as compared with 261.5 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during December 2013. The Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro) was ranked 7 a year ago.

  • The District of Vermont ranked 2nd.

  • Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) is now ranking 3rd. The Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) was ranked 6 a year ago, while it was ranked 7 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Texas (Tyler), now ranked 8th , and Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) at 5th In the same order, these districts ranked 17th and 20th one year ago and 7th and 21st five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago— 88.9 percent—was Western District of Arkansas (Fort Smith). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 151 percent—was Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions— 20.8 percent—was Southern District of Alabama (Mobile).  But over the past five years, Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) showed the largest drop— 29.3 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 December 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Eagles, Catherine Caldwell N Car, M 17 1 More
Schroeder, Thomas D. N Car, M 16 2 More
Fleissig, Audrey Goldstein Mo, E 9 3 More
Harwell, Robert Bryan S Car 9 3 More
Mattice, Harry Sandlin, Jr. Tenn, E 9 3 More
Dever, James C., III N Car, E 8 6 More
Hickey, Susan Owens Ark, W 7 7 More
Crone, Marcia A. Texas, E 7 7 More
Yeakel, Earl Leroy, III Texas, W 7 7 More
Totenberg, Amy Mil Ga, N 6 10 More
Caldwell, Karen K. Ken, E 6 10 More
Bell, Robert Holmes Mich, W 6 10 More
Reiss, Christina Clair Vermont 6 10 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 7 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of convictions per capita, while the remaining 6 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 13 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Catherine Caldwell Eagles in the Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro) ranked 1st with 17 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in the Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro) ranked 2nd with 16 convicted in convictions.

  • Judges Audrey Goldstein Fleissig in the Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis), Robert Bryan Harwell in the District of South Carolina and Harry Sandlin Mattice, Jr. in the Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 3rd with 9 convicted in convictions.

Report Generated: February 11, 2014
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