Convictions for October 2017

Referring Agency: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Number Latest Month 857
Percent Change from previous month -17.9
Percent Change from 1 year ago 7.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
-5.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
-4.7
Table 1. Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2017 the government reported 857 new convictions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 17.9 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 (7.6%). 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 5.1 percent from levels reported in 2012.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Convictions

The leveling out 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 "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 17.9 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (15.6%), "Project Safe Childhood" (11.4%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (9.3%), "Bank Robbery" (7.4%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (7.1%), "Violence-Other" (5.1%), "Violence-Indian Country" (4.3%). 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 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, 854 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 171 1 2 2 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 97 2 1 1 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 63 3 3 3 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 58 4 5 7 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 37 5 4 4 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 32 6 6 11 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 30 7 7 6 More
18 USC 2252A - Activity relating material constituting/containing chil 19 8 12 13 More
18 USC 113 - Assaults within maritime and territorial jurisdictions 16 9 9 12 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 14 10 11 8 More
Table 2. Top Charges for Convictions

  • "Attempt and conspiracy" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Attempt and conspiracy" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 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 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Bank robbery and incidental crimes" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 2113. "Bank robbery and incidental crimes" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 2113 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 38.7 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 that involves " Firearms; Unlawful acts ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase — 85.6 % — 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 5.5 percent — was " Bank Fraud " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1344 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease — 55.4 % — when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2017 the Justice Department said the government obtained 317.2 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  
Montana 4,144 36 1 11 29 More
S Dakota 2,256 16 2 48 27 More
N Dakota 1,900 12 3 55 65 More
La, W 1,052 19 4 81 56 More
Nebraska 1,007 16 5 47 47 More
Iowa, S 929 14 6 65 85 More
D. C. 881 5 7 26 23 More
Ark, E 878 12 8 54 39 More
Ala, S 853 6 9 51 64 More
Alaska 833 5 10 76 72 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of Montana — with 4144 convictions as compared with 317.2 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during October 2017.

  • The District of South Dakota ranked 2nd.

  • District of North Dakota is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Montana , now ranked 1st , and Washington, D.C. (Washington) at 7th In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 26th one year ago and 29th and 23rd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago — 407.1 percent — was Western District of Louisiana (Shreveport). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 250 percent — was Southern District of Iowa (Des Moines).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions — 46.5 percent — was Washington, D.C. (Washington).  This was the same district that had the largest increase — 54.2 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 October 2017 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Burns, Larry Alan Cal, S 15 1 More
Merryday, Steven Douglas Fla, M 14 2 More
Morris, Brian Matthew Montana 12 3 More
Crone, Marcia A. Texas, E 12 3 More
Bucklew, Susan C. Fla, M 11 5 More
Blackburn, Robert E. Colorado 10 6 More
Pratt, Tanya Walton Ind, S 9 7 More
Hovland, Daniel L. N Dakota 9 7 More
Perry, Catherine D. Mo, E 8 9 More
Conrad, Robert James, Jr. N Car, W 8 9 More
Seibel, Cathy N. Y., S 8 9 More
Viken, Jeffrey Lynn S Dakota 8 9 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 3 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 12 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Larry Alan Burns in the Southern District of California (San Diego) ranked 1st with 15 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Steven Douglas Merryday in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa) ranked 2nd with 14 convicted in convictions.

  • Judges Brian Matthew Morris in the District of Montana and Marcia A. Crone in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) ranked 3rd with 12 convicted in convictions.

Report Generated: November 28, 2017
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