Convictions for February 2013

Number Latest Month 11,489
Percent Change from previous month -19.8
Percent Change from 1 year ago 11.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 46.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) 8.4
Table 1: Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during February 2013 the government reported 11489 new convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 19.8% 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 (11 percent). Convictions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are up 46.2 percent from levels reported in 2008.

The growth 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 increase in convictions is 8.4 percent instead of 46.2 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 increase 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 February 2013 was for "Immigration", accounting for 58.2 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (11.3%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force " (4.6%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (4.6%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (4.3%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2.2%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for convictions in February 2013 was DHS accounting for 65 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of convictions were: DEA (9% ), FBI (8%), ATF (5%), Defense (2%). 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 February 2013, 5278 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 February 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 65.8 percent of all magistrate convictions in February.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (21.2%).

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In February 2013, 6211 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during February 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 February.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during February 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,649 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 817 2 2 2 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 658 3 3 3 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 442 4 4 4 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 217 5 5 5 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 136 6 6 7 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 98 7 13 17 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 83 8 7 11 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 80 9 14 15 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 72 10 9 8 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 13.6 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—58.3 percent—was registered for convictions under " Reentry of deported alien " (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 13.5 percent—was Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 36 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 February 2013 the Justice Department said the government obtained 2427.7 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  
N Mexico 22,451 376 1 5 5 More
Cal, S 16,990 456 2 4 4 More
Texas, S 10,330 724 3 3 2 More
Texas, W 9,590 490 4 1 1 More
N Dakota 6,122 33 5 67 70 More
N. Y., S 5,375 230 6 10 7 More
S Dakota 5,318 36 7 45 45 More
Hawaii 5,188 56 8 85 72 More
Ark, E 4,738 63 9 56 55 More
Tenn, W 4,479 58 10 45 30 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico—with 22451 convictions as compared with 2427.7 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during February 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 4 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • Southern District of Texas (Houston) is now ranking 3rd. The Southern District of Texas (Houston) was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were South Dakota , now ranked 7th , and Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) at 10th In the same order, these districts ranked 45th and 45th one year ago and 45th and 30th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago— 61 percent—was Western District of Tennessee (Memphis). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 57.9 percent—was Southern District of California (San Diego).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions— 16.4 percent—was Western District of Texas (San Antonio).  But over the past five years, Southern District of New York (Manhattan) showed the largest drop— 36.4 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 February 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 235 1 14 4 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 103 2 1 - More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 101 3 2 11 More
Cardone, Kathleen Texas, W 80 4 6 8 More
Tagle, Hilda G. Texas, S 79 5 15 10 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 74 6 9 2 More
Garcia Marmolejo, Marina Texas, S 67 7 919 - More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 65 8 3 13 More
Saldana, Diana Texas, S 57 9 43 - More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 55 10 13 9 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 Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 235 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 103 convicted in convictions. Judge Mosesalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 1).

  • Judge Randy Crane in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 101 convicted in convictions. Judge Cranealso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 2).

Report Generated: April 23, 2013
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