Convictions for October 2012

Number Latest Month 11,557
Percent Change from previous month -19.2
Percent Change from 1 year ago 8.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 58.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) 11.7
Table 1: Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2012 the government reported 11557 new convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 19.2% 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 up (8.7 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 58.7 percent from levels reported in 2007.

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 11.7 percent instead of 58.7 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 October 2012 was for "Immigration", accounting for 57.9 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (11%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" ( 4.9%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (4.8%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (4.6%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for convictions in October 2012 was DHS accounting for 64 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of convictions were: DEA (8% ), FBI (8%), ATF (6%), 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 October 2012, 5144 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 October 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 63.9 percent of all magistrate convictions in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (22.9%).

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2012, 6413 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 2012.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,808 1 1 2 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 807 2 2 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 644 3 3 3 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 453 4 4 4 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 191 5 5 5 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 114 6 7 13 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 109 7 6 6 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 84 8 9 7 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 75 9 10 8 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 74 10 16 16 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 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 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 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 24.7 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343 that involves " Fraud by wire, radio, or television ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—86.5 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 9 percent—was Reentry of deported alien (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 29 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 October 2012 the Justice Department said the government obtained 2506.7 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 16,480 276 1 5 6 More
Cal, S 16,245 436 2 4 3 More
Texas, W 14,327 732 3 2 2 More
S Dakota 9,158 62 4 54 53 More
Arizona 8,314 457 5 1 4 More
Texas, S 7,291 511 6 3 1 More
D. C. 7,204 36 7 66 68 More
N Dakota 6,308 34 8 62 73 More
Okla, N 5,357 45 9 86 83 More
Montana 4,923 40 10 72 51 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of New Mexico—with 16480 convictions as compared with 2506.7 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during October 2012. The District of New Mexico was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 6 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 2 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 4th , and North Dakota at 8th In the same order, these districts ranked 54th and 62nd one year ago and 53rd and 73rd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago— 24.7 percent—was Montana . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 124.4 percent—was Arizona .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions— 19.4 percent—was Southern District of Texas (Houston).  But over the past five years, Montana showed the largest drop— 10.8 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 October 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 160 1 17 1 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 133 2 1 - More
Rodriguez, Xavier Texas, W 101 3 105 61 More
Garcia, Orlando Luis Texas, W 95 4 50 96 More
Biery, Samuel Frederick, Jr. Texas, W 83 5 45 74 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 75 6 5 10 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 69 7 8 2 More
Tagle, Hilda G. Texas, S 59 8 15 12 More
Briones, David Texas, W 58 9 14 9 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 57 10 16 11 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 160 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 133 convicted in convictions. Judge Mosesalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 1).

  • Judge Xavier Rodriguez in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 101 convicted in convictions.

Report Generated: February 6, 2013
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