Convictions for October 2017

Referring Agency: Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Number Latest Month 593
Percent Change from previous month -12.3
Percent Change from 1 year ago 11.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
-14.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
-15.0
Table 1. Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2017 the government reported 593 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 down 12.3 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 up (11.4%). 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 14.9 percent from levels reported in 2012.

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. 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 October 2017 was for "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major", accounting for 72 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (13%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (4.6%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (4%), "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 October 2017, 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 October 2017, 593 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October 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 October.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during October 2017 referred by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 401 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 37 3 3 3 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 18 4 4 4 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 16 5 5 5 More
18 USC 844 - Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives 3 6 7 10 More
18 USC 2342 - Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts 3 6 14 9 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 2 8 7 8 More
18 USC 554 - Smuggling goods from the United States 2 8 19 13 More
18 USC 2114 - Mail, money, or other property of United States 2 8 - - 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 400 percent — compared to one year ago was Title U.S.C Section that involves "Other US Code Section ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 33.3 percent — was registered for convictions under " Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 33.3 percent — was " Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 2342 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease — 76.5 % — when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2017 the Justice Department said the government obtained 220.2 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  
La, M 1,581 11 1 81 81 More
Ind, N 1,392 30 2 10 28 More
Tenn, W 1,300 17 3 20 16 More
S Dakota 987 7 4 36 83 More
Montana 921 8 5 28 43 More
Ala, S 853 6 6 39 23 More
Fla, N 845 13 7 36 63 More
Ala, M 834 8 8 75 83 More
N Mexico 807 14 9 36 27 More
W Virg, N 775 6 10 66 69 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge) — with 1581 convictions as compared with 220.2 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during October 2017.

  • The Northern District of Indiana (South Bend) ranked 2nd. The Northern District of Indiana (South Bend) was ranked 10 a year ago.

  • Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Western District of Tennessee (Memphis), now ranked 3rd , and Montana at 5th In the same order, these districts ranked 20th and 28th one year ago and 16th and 43rd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago — 242.9 percent — was Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 127.3 percent — was South Dakota .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions — 21.9 percent — was South Dakota .  But over the past five years, Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) showed the largest drop — 36.1 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 October 2017 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Crabtree, Daniel Dale Kansas 14 1 More
Lipman, Sheryl Halle Tenn, W 11 2 More
Rodgers, Margaret Catharine Fla, N 10 3 More
Moody, James Tyne Ind, N 9 4 More
Harpool, M. Douglas Mo, W 8 5 More
Van Bokkelen, Joseph S. Ind, N 6 6 More
Young, Richard L. Ind, S 6 6 More
Perry, Catherine D. Mo, E 6 6 More
Coogler, L. Scott Ala, N 5 9 More
Lawrence, William T. Ind, S 5 9 More
Jonker, Robert James Mich, W 5 9 More
Wimes, Brian Curtis Mo, W 5 9 More
Watters, Susan Pamela Montana 5 9 More
Tilley, Norwood Carlton, Jr. N Car, M 5 9 More
Conrad, Robert James, Jr. N Car, W 5 9 More
Johnson, William Paul N Mexico 5 9 More
Mays, Samuel H., Jr. Tenn, W 5 9 More
Groh, Gina Marie W Virg, N 5 9 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 8 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 10 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 18 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Daniel Dale Crabtree in the District of Kansas ranked 1st with 14 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Sheryl Halle Lipman in the Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) ranked 2nd with 11 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Margaret Catharine Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola) ranked 3rd with 10 convicted in convictions.

Report Generated: November 28, 2017
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Copyright 2017, TRAC Reports, Inc.

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