Convictions for September 2013

Referring Agency: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Number Latest Month 1,331
Percent Change from previous month 37.6
Percent Change from 1 year ago 2.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -0.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -0.6
Table 1: Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during September 2013 the government reported 1331 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 up 37.6% 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 2013 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was up (2.4 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 0.9 percent from levels reported in 2008.

The leveling out in these cases is partly related to increases in the matters filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. If magistrate cases are excluded and only Federal District Court cases are counted, the overall decrease in convictions is 0.6 percent instead of 0.9 percent. The evidence suggests that part of the difference may be the result of improvements in the recording of the magistrate cases by the Justice Department.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

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 September 2013 was for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force", accounting for 14.4 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (13.6%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (12.8%), "Project Safe Childhood" (9%), "Bank Robbery" (7.1%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (4.9%), "Violence-Other" (3.8%), "Fraud-Financial Institution" (3.7%), "Fraud-Mortgage" (3.2%), " Violence-Indian Country" (3.1%), "Fraud-Other" (3%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.7%), "Fraud-Health Care" (2.4%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of convictions

Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In September 2013, 9 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 September the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 18 U.S.C Section 113 involving the "Assaults within maritime and territorial jurisdictions". This was the lead charge for 33.3 percent of all magistrate convictions in September.

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In September 2013, 1322 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during September 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 September.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during September 2013referred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 196 1 1 3 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 154 2 2 2 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 97 3 3 1 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 56 4 4 4 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 52 5 9 9 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 49 6 6 7 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 46 7 7 6 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 41 8 10 8 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 39 9 5 5 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 36 10 8 16 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 3 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 "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 1 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions—up 18.9 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 that involves " Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—218.8 percent—was registered for convictions under " Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1349 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 22.4 percent—was Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1341 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 37.2 percent—was for convictions where the lead charge was " Bank robbery and incidental crimes " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 2113 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In September 2013 the Justice Department said the government obtained 516.7 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  
D. C. 3,402 17 1 28 28 More
Montana 2,708 22 2 29 33 More
Tenn, E 1,480 31 3 17 47 More
Mo, E 1,278 31 4 18 21 More
Texas, N 1,234 69 5 18 19 More
S Dakota 1,182 8 6 25 27 More
Ala, N 1,167 27 7 41 57 More
Ala, S 1,163 8 8 58 42 More
N Dakota 1,113 6 9 66 67 More
Wyoming 1,102 5 10 76 69 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of Washington, D.C. (Washington)—with 3402 convictions as compared with 516.7 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during September 2013.

  • The District of Montana ranked 2nd.

  • Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville), now ranked 3rd , and Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) at 4th In the same order, these districts ranked 17th and 18th one year ago and 47th and 21st five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago— 39.6 percent—was Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham). This was the same district that had the largest increase— 100 percent—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions— 36.6 percent—was Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis).  But over the past five years, Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) showed the largest drop— 47.4 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 September 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Lynn, Barbara M. Texas, N 36 1 35 656 More
Gaitan, Fernando J., Jr. Mo, W 20 2 114 343 More
Varlan, Thomas A. Tenn, E 16 3 28 560 More
Phillips, Virginia A. Cal, C 15 4 216 58 More
Friedman, Bernard A. Mich, E 14 5 725 560 More
Fuste, Jose Antonio Puer Rico 12 6 3 560 More
Sparks, Sam Texas, W 12 6 445 13 More
McAvoy, Thomas James N. Y., N 11 8 445 83 More
Wells, Lesley Brooks Ohio, N 11 8 114 656 More
Crone, Marcia A. Texas, E 11 8 8 43 More
Solis, Jorge Antonio Texas, N 11 8 81 169 More
Rosenthal, Lee Hyman Texas, S 11 8 535 769 More
Table 4: Top 10 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 Barbara M. Lynn in the Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth) ranked 1st with 36 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. in the Western District of Missouri (Kansas City) ranked 2nd with 20 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Thomas A. Varlan in the Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville) ranked 3rd with 16 convicted in convictions.

Report Generated: November 25, 2013
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