Convictions for October 2012

Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration

Number Latest Month 960
Percent Change from previous month -22.0
Percent Change from 1 year ago -9.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -12.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -12.4
Table 1: Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2012 the government reported 960 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 22% 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 2012 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was down (-9.8 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 12.4 percent from levels reported in 2007.

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 October 2012 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 45.9 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (32.5%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (19.3%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of convictions

Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In October 2012, 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 2012, 959 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 2012referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 378 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 322 2 2 2 More
18 USC 846 - Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary 12 3 22 17 More
21 USC 963 - Attempt and conspiracy 10 4 5 3 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 9 5 3 4 More
46 USC 70503 - Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US 6 6 14 11 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 5 7 4 6 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 4 8 9 9 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 4 8 11 9 More
21 USC 848 - Continuing criminal enterprise 3 10 18 41 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 "Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 846.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions—up 433.3 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 846 that involves " Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—500 percent—was registered for convictions under " Continuing criminal enterprise " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 848 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 30.2 percent—was Laundering of monetary instruments (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 51.5 percent—was for convictions where the lead charge was " Attempt and conspiracy " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 963 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2012 the Justice Department said the government obtained 374.8 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  
Ark, E 1,955 26 1 26 44 More
Iowa, N 1,656 18 2 22 35 More
N Mexico 1,314 22 3 6 7 More
Texas, W 1,194 61 4 2 1 More
Ken, E 1,162 21 5 10 29 More
Ga, S 1,067 13 6 49 43 More
Cal, S 1,043 28 7 12 13 More
W Virg, S 1,039 8 8 72 84 More
Mo, W 975 25 9 64 63 More
Okla, N 952 8 10 86 94 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock)—with 1955 convictions as compared with 374.8 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during October 2012.

  • The Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids) ranked 2nd.

  • District of New Mexico is now ranking 3rd. The District of New Mexico 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 Southern District of California (San Diego), now ranked 7th , and Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids) at 2nd In the same order, these districts ranked 12th and 22nd one year ago and 13th and 35th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago— 145.2 percent—was Western District of Missouri (Kansas City). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 466.7 percent—was Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions— 33.6 percent—was Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington).  But over the past five years, Southern District of Georgia (Savannah) showed the largest drop— 33.9 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 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Moses, Alia Texas, W 17 1 More
Covington, Virginia Maria Hernandez Fla, M 14 2 More
Collier, Curtis Lynn Tenn, E 11 3 More
Kazen, George P. Texas, S 11 3 More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 11 3 More
Edenfield, Berry Avant Ga, S 10 6 More
Bennett, Mark W. Iowa, N 10 6 More
Rodriguez, Xavier Texas, W 10 6 More
Merryday, Steven Douglas Fla, M 9 9 More
Moody, James S., Jr. Fla, M 9 9 More
Van Tatenhove, Gregory Frederick Ken, E 9 9 More
McKinley, Joseph H., Jr. Ken, W 9 9 More
Frank, Donovan W. Minnesota 9 9 More
Wooten, Terry L. S Car 9 9 More
Crone, Marcia A. Texas, E 9 9 More
Briones, David Texas, W 9 9 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 9 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 16 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 17 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Virginia Maria Hernandez Covington in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa) ranked 2nd with 14 convicted in convictions.

  • Judges Curtis Lynn Collier in the Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville), George P. Kazen in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) and Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 11 convicted in convictions.

Report Generated: February 6, 2013
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