Convictions for October 2017

Number Latest Month 8,930
Percent Change from previous month -7.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
-28.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
-17.0
Table 1. Criminal Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2017 the government reported 8930 new convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 7.6 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 the same. 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 28.9 percent from levels reported in 2012.

The dip 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 17 percent instead of 28.9 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.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

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 October 2017 was for "Immigration", accounting for 56.5 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking" (11.1%), "Weapons-Operation Triggerlock Major" (7%), "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (5%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (3.3%), "Project Safe Childhood" (2.5%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (2%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for convictions in October 2017 was DHS accounting for 62 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of convictions were: FBI (10% ), DEA (8%), ATF (7%), Local (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 October 2017, 3762 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 "Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.". This was the lead charge for 77 percent of all magistrate convictions in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (14.8%).

Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2017, 5168 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.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,179 1 1 1 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 695 2 2 2 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 569 3 4 4 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 564 4 3 3 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 212 5 5 5 More
08 USC 1325 - Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. 108 6 23 17 More
18 USC 2252 - Material involving sexual exploitation of minors 93 7 7 7 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 84 8 6 6 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 65 9 10 10 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 58 10 9 13 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 "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922. "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 was ranked 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions — up 63.6 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 that involves " Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 25.3 percent — was registered for convictions under " Bringing in and harboring certain aliens " (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 22.9 percent — was " Public money, property or records " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 641 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions — 33.3 percent — was for convictions where the lead charge was " Importation of controlled substances " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2017 the Justice Department said the government obtained 1919.2 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  
Cal, S 14,577 425 1 5 4 More
N Mexico 13,090 227 2 3 5 More
S Dakota 9,024 64 3 35 42 More
Texas, W 7,493 443 4 1 1 More
Montana 7,137 62 5 32 57 More
Nebraska 6,859 109 6 29 39 More
La, M 6,035 42 7 85 88 More
W Virg, N 5,682 44 8 63 65 More
Iowa, S 5,643 85 9 49 50 More
Texas, S 5,519 442 10 2 3 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego) — with 14577 convictions as compared with 1919.2 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during October 2017. The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The District of New Mexico ranked 2nd. The District of New Mexico was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • District of South Dakota is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Nebraska , now ranked 6th , and Montana at 5th In the same order, these districts ranked 29th and 32nd one year ago and 39th and 57th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of convictions compared to one year ago — 51.3 percent — was Southern District of Iowa (Des Moines). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 26.8 percent — was South Dakota .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of convictions — 22.9 percent — was New Mexico .  But over the past five years, Southern District of California (San Diego) showed the largest drop — 30.6 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 2017 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 70 1 12 6 More
Moses, Alia M. Texas, W 64 2 1 1 More
Cardone, Kathleen Texas, W 61 3 9 11 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 60 4 22 5 More
Guaderrama, David C. Texas, W 55 5 7 78 More
Briones, David Texas, W 54 6 15 7 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 52 7 10 4 More
Stein, Sidney H. N Mexico 51 8 - - More
Martinez, Philip Ray Texas, W 46 9 17 8 More
Garcia Marmolejo, Marina Texas, S 43 10 20 35 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

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

  • Judge Micaela Alvarez in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 1st with 70 convicted in convictions.

  • Judge Alia M. Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 64 convicted in convictions. Judge Moses appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 1) and five years ago (rank 1).

  • Judge Kathleen Cardone in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 61 convicted in convictions. Judge Cardone also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago (ranked 9).

Report Generated: November 28, 2017
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