Thursday, November 01, 2007

One more stat

For the federal civilian court system in FY06: percentage of contested criminal trials litigated through verdict that resulted in acquittal? 13.95% (505/3620)


Christopher Mathews said...

This number troubles me.

If the percentage of contested cases that result in conviction is 86.05%, and 13% of cases are contested (with 87% being guilty pleas; see the post below), how do we get only a 90.61% overall conviction rate?

Granted, I went into law because they promised me there would be no math, so perhaps I'm looking at the figures wrong, but they don't seem to add up.

John O'Connor said...

The discrepancy results from the inordinate number of cases where Arlen Spector is on the jury and the jury comes back with a verdict of "not proven."

Christopher Mathews said...

Sounds like Al Gore's observation: "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And then there's that little-known third option ..."

Dwight Sullivan said...

Blogspot is a great tool, but it doesn't do charts well. So I'll give you a link to a chart with the relevant numbers (or from which you can calculate the relevant numbers):

Use the top line on the chart that has the totals for all federal district courts.

You will find that in FY06, the federal district courts disposed of the cases of 87,985 criminal defendants. In 7,755, the case was resolved by the charges being dismissed. In 141 cases, a judge acquitted the defendant. In 364 cases, a jury acquitted the defendant. In 76,610 cases, the defendant pled guilty. In 245 cases, a judge convicted the defendant following a contested trial and in 2,870 cases, a jury convicted the defendant following a contested trial.

I just calculated the numbers again and once again came up with a 90.61203% conviction rate (79,725/87,985) and a 13.95027% acquittal rate in the cases that were contested (505/3,620). The percentage of cases that are contested is 4.11433% (3,620/87,985).

Christopher Mathews said...

That would be the third option, then: dismissed cases.

Anonymous said...

What's the military conviction rate?