Convictions for April 2014

Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration

Number Latest Month 932
Percent Change from previous month -29.1
Percent Change from 1 year ago -1.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -10.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -10.6
Table 1. Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during April 2014 the government reported 932 new convictions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 29.1 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 only slightly down (-1.4%). 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 10.7 percent from levels reported in 2009.

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 April 2014 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 47.1 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (32.8%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (15.7%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions

Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In April 2014, 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 April 2014, 931 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during April 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 April.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during April 2014 referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 417 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 297 2 2 2 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 10 3 4 3 More
21 USC 963 - Attempt and conspiracy 10 3 3 4 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 8 5 11 5 More
21 USC 959 - Possession, manufacture, or distribution for purpo 7 6 15 22 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 6 7 5 6 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 4 8 12 9 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 2 9 20 10 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 2 9 9 12 More
18 USC 1512 - Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant 2 9 12 19 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 2 9 8 13 More
18 USC 3146 - Penalty for failure to appear 2 9 26 29 More
21 USC 848 - Continuing criminal enterprise 2 9 23 22 More
46 USC 70503 - Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US 2 9 12 10 More
Table 2. Top Charges for Convictions

  • "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846. "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd were "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 and "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 963. "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 was ranked 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago."Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 963 was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions — up 280 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 that involves " Importation of controlled substances ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 200 percent — was registered for convictions under " Penalty for failure to appear " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 3146 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 50 percent — was " Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1512 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions — 50 percent — was for convictions where the lead charge was " Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In April 2014 the Justice Department said the government obtained 355.9 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 Dakota 2,230 13 1 55 59 More
Vermont 1,725 9 2 51 72 More
Wyoming 1,665 8 3 88 53 More
N Mexico 1,611 28 4 8 7 More
Texas, E 1,240 38 5 4 9 More
Ken, E 1,213 22 6 23 11 More
Texas, W 1,165 64 7 1 2 More
Hawaii 1,120 13 8 62 36 More
Tenn, E 940 20 9 14 15 More
Ala, N 845 20 10 68 26 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of North Dakota — with 2230 convictions as compared with 355.9 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during April 2014.

  • The District of Vermont ranked 2nd.

  • District of Wyoming is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville), now ranked 9th , and Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington) at 6th In the same order, these districts ranked 14th and 23rd one year ago and 15th and 11th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago — 500 percent — was Wyoming . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 82.6 percent — was Vermont .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions — 39.6 percent — was Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).  But over the past five years, Hawaii showed the largest drop — 42.2 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 April 2014 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 15 1 More
Crone, Marcia A. Texas, E 14 2 More
Erickson, Ralph R. N Dakota 13 3 More
Dominguez, Daniel R. Puer Rico 12 4 More
Fuste, Jose Antonio Puer Rico 10 5 More
Greer, J. Ronnie Tenn, E 10 5 More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 10 5 More
Campbell, David G. Arizona 9 8 More
Arguello, Christine M. Colorado 9 8 More
Briones, David Texas, W 9 8 More
Coughenour, John C. Wash, W 9 8 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 6 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 5 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 15 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Marcia A. Crone in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) ranked 2nd with 14 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Ralph R. Erickson in the District of North Dakota ranked 3rd with 13 convicted in convictions.

Report Generated: July 3, 2014
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Copyright 2014, TRAC Reports, Inc.

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