Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Civil Rights Convictions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2023 the government reported 25 new civil rights convictions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 66.7 percent over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for civil rights-related offenses 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 2023 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of convictions was up (22.4%).
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 25.7 percent from levels reported in 2018.
Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Civil Rights Convictions
The decrease from the levels five years ago in civil rights convictions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1.
The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of civil rights 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.
Within the broad category of civil rights, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
Case types within civil rights are
Civil Rights - Other
Civil Rights - Law Enforcement
Civil Rights - Slavery/Involuntary Servitude
Civil Rights - Racial Violence, Including Hate Crimes
Civil Rights - Access to Clinic Entrances
Civil Rights - Hate Crimes Arising Out of Terrorist Attacks on the US
The largest number of convictions of these matters in August 2023 was for "Civil Rights-Slavery/Invol. Servitude", accounting for 56 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Civil Rights-Other" (16%), "Civil Rights-Law Enforcement" (12%), "Civil Rights-Racial Violence" (12%), "Civil Rights-Hate Crimes from Terrorism" (4%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for civil rights convictions in August 2023
was FBI accounting for 52 percent of convictions.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of civil rights convictions were:
DHS (40% ), ATF (4%), Justice Other (4%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions
Figure 3. Convictions by Investigative Agency
Civil Rights Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In August 2023, no defendants in civil rights cases for these matters were convicted 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.
Civil Rights Convictions in U.S. District Courts
In August 2023, 25 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during August 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 August.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of civil rights matters
filed in U.S. District Court during August 2023.
18 USC 242 - Deprivation of rights under color of law
"Deprivation of rights under color of law" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 242), "Forced Labor" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1589) and "Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1591) were the most frequent recorded lead charges.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In August 2023 the Justice Department's case-by-case records show that the government obtained 9 civil rights convictions for every ten million people in the United States.
Understandably, there is great variation in the number of civil rights convictions in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
The districts registering the
largest number of convictions of this type last month are shown in Table 3.
The Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) — with 5 convictions — was the most active during August 2023.
The Middle District of Florida (Tampa), Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn), Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth) and Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 2nd.
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 civil rights crime cases resulting in convictions of this type during August 2023 are shown in Table 4.
All 14 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of civil rights convictions. (Because of ties, there were a total of 14 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Lee Hyman Rosenthal in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 1st with 2 convicted in civil rights convictions.
Judges Sharon Louise Gleason in the District of Alaska, Jeffrey Steven White in the Northern District of California (San Francisco), Carlos Eduardo Mendoza in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa), Denise Jefferson Casper in the District of Massachusetts, Kiyo A. Matsumoto in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn), LaShann Moutique DeArcy Hall in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn), Jack Zouhary in the Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland), Bernard M. Jones in the Western District of Okla ranked 2nd with 1 convicted in civil rights convictions.