Convictions for December 2013

Number Latest Month 10,287
Percent Change from previous month -0.5
Percent Change from 1 year ago -10.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -8.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -8.6
Table 1: Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2013 the government reported 10287 new convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 0.5% 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 down (-10.3 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 8.7 percent from levels reported in 2008.

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 December 2013 was for "Immigration", accounting for 54.6 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (10.7%), " Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (5.7%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (4.9%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (4.6%), "Assimilated Crimes" (2.3%), "Project Safe Childhood" (2.1%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for convictions in December 2013 was DHS accounting for 61 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of convictions were: FBI (8% ), DEA (8%), ATF (7%), Interior (3%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of convictions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3: Convictions by investigative agency

Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In December 2013, 4631 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 8 U.S.C Section 1325 involving the "Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.". This was the lead charge for 50.7 percent of all magistrate convictions in December.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (32.9%).

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2013, 5656 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 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,361 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 671 2 2 2 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 580 3 3 3 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 519 4 4 4 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 167 5 5 5 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 120 6 7 11 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 103 7 6 10 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 76 8 10 8 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 72 9 13 14 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 71 10 12 18 More
Table 2: Top charges for convictions

  • "Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 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 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 846. "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 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 18.5 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 641 that involves " Public money, property or records ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—56.6 percent—was registered for convictions under " Fraud by wire, radio, or television " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 20.7 percent—was Importation of controlled substances (Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 42.9 percent—was for convictions where the lead charge was " Bringing in and harboring certain aliens " (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2013 the Justice Department said the government obtained 2162.1 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 Mexico 15,190 264 1 5 5 More
Cal, S 11,735 328 2 4 3 More
Texas, W 9,268 509 3 1 1 More
S Dakota 8,064 56 4 40 50 More
Texas, S 6,602 490 5 2 2 More
N Dakota 6,518 38 6 60 73 More
Wyoming 6,246 30 7 72 48 More
Arizona 5,237 286 8 3 4 More
Vermont 4,984 26 9 78 86 More
Ark, E 4,769 65 10 52 38 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico—with 15190 convictions as compared with 2162.1 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during December 2013. The District of New Mexico was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego) ranked 2nd. The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • Western District of Texas (San Antonio) is now ranking 3rd. The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were South Dakota , now ranked 4th , and Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock) at 10th In the same order, these districts ranked 40th and 52nd one year ago and 50th and 38th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago— 36.2 percent—was South Dakota . This was the same district that had the largest increase— 48.8 percent—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions— 24.1 percent—was Arizona .  But over the past five years, Wyoming showed the largest drop— 38.8 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 December 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 88 1 7 11 More
Gonzales, Kenneth John N Mexico 69 2 - - More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 64 3 1 - More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 62 4 8 3 More
Ramos, Nelva Gonzales Texas, S 61 5 15 - More
Briones, David Texas, W 60 6 6 2 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 58 7 5 4 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 55 8 11 12 More
Guaderrama, David C. Texas, W 49 9 47 - More
Martinez, Philip Ray Texas, W 46 10 9 8 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

All 10 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of convictions per capita.

  • Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 1st with 88 convicted in convictions. Judge Hinojosaalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 7).

  • Judge Kenneth John Gonzales in the District of New Mexico ranked 2nd with 69 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 64 convicted in convictions. Judge Mosesalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 1).

Report Generated: February 11, 2014
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