Convictions for December 2017

Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration

Number Latest Month 624
Percent Change from previous month 1.6
Percent Change from 1 year ago -7.5
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
-28.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
-28.6
Table 1. Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2017 the government reported 624 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 up 1.6 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 down (-7.5%). 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 28.4 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 December 2017 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 56.7 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (27.4%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (12.3%). 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, 12 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 21 U.S.C Section 841 involving "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A". This was the lead charge for 100 percent of all magistrate convictions in December.

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2017, 612 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 Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 306 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 188 2 2 2 More
21 USC 963 - Attempt and conspiracy 6 3 6 4 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 5 4 4 3 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 3 5 15 12 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 3 5 9 7 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 3 5 8 7 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 2 8 12 10 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 2 8 7 5 More
18 USC 3583 - Term of supervised release after imprisonment 2 8 22 18 More
21 USC 844 - Penalty for simple possession 2 8 22 18 More
21 USC 860 - Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a 2 8 15 30 More
46 USC 70503 - Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US 2 8 3 7 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 was "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 963. "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 963 was ranked 6 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 240 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 924 that involves " Firearms; Penalties ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 288.2 percent — was registered for convictions under " Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US " (Title 46 U.S.C Section 70503 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 52 percent — was " Importation of controlled substances " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions — 50 percent — was for convictions where the lead charge was " Penalty for simple possession " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 844 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2017 the Justice Department said the government obtained 227.3 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  
Vermont 1,537 8 1 33 53 More
Mo, E 1,106 27 2 23 19 More
Virg, W 988 18 3 15 37 More
Wash, E 985 13 4 34 35 More
Ala, M 938 9 5 83 70 More
Texas, W 694 41 6 1 1 More
Tenn, E 692 15 7 14 10 More
Ken, E 599 11 8 12 20 More
Texas, S 599 48 8 4 2 More
Ga, M 597 10 10 52 69 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of Vermont — with 1537 convictions as compared with 227.3 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during December 2017.

  • The Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) ranked 2nd.

  • Western District of Virginia (Roanoke) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington), now ranked 8th , and Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) at 7th In the same order, these districts ranked 12th and 14th one year ago and 20th and 10th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago — 210 percent — was Middle District of Alabama (Montgomery). This was the same district that had the largest increase — 34.8 percent — when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions — 47.7 percent — was Vermont .  This was the same district that had the largest increase — 41 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  
Garcia Marmolejo, Marina Texas, S 12 1 More
Fitzwater, Sidney Allen Texas, N 11 2 More
Ramos, Nelva Gonzales Texas, S 11 2 More
Jones, James Parker Virg, W 11 2 More
Fleissig, Audrey Goldstein Mo, E 9 5 More
Cardone, Kathleen Texas, W 9 5 More
Treadwell, Marc Thomas Ga, M 7 7 More
Perry, Catherine D. Mo, E 7 7 More
Reeves, Pamela Lynn Tenn, E 7 7 More
Crone, Marcia A. Texas, E 7 7 More
Moses, Alia M. Texas, W 7 7 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 9 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 2 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 1st with 12 convicted in convictions.

  • Judges Sidney Allen Fitzwater in the Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth), Nelva Gonzales Ramos in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) and James Parker Jones in the Western District of Virginia (Roanoke) ranked 2nd with 11 convicted in convictions.

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