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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Special Report
April 2001, NCJ 185055

Federal Justice Statistics Program

Federal Criminal Appeals, 1999
with Trends 1985-99
By John Scalia
BJS Statistician
Between 1985 and 1993 the number of
Federal criminal appeals filed in U.S.
courts of appeal increased from 4,989
to 11,862. After peaking during 1993,
the number of appeals filed decreased
to 10,251 during 1999.

Highlights
Number of criminal appeals filed
12,000
10,000
8,000
6,000

Prior to implementation of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (SRA), Federal
criminal appeals were limited to
appeals of procedural, or interlocutory,
decisions and challenges by the defendant of the final judgment. The SRA
opened the sentencing process to
appellate review. Pursuant to the SRA
both parties may appeal the sentence
imposed.
Imposed sentences may be appealed
by the defendant or the government if
(1) the sentence was imposed in violation of existing law, (2) the sentencing
guidelines were incorrectly applied, (3)
the court departed from the sentencing
guidelines, or (4) the sentence was
plainly unreasonable for offenses not
addressed by the guidelines.
During the first 5 years following implementation of the Federal sentencing
guidelines, the rate at which criminal
appeals were filed increased an
average of 10% annually – from 13 per
100 convictions during 1985 to 23 per
100 convictions during 1993. After
1993 the appeal rate decreased to 16
per 100 convictions, in 1999.

4,000
2,000
0
1985

1988 1991 1994
Year appeal filed

! Between 1985 and 1993 the
number of Federal criminal appeals
filed increased from 4,989 to 11,862.
After 1993 the number filed
decreased to 10,251 during 1999.
! The criminal appeal rate peaked
during 1993 at 23 appeals filed for
every 100 convictions. After 1993
the appeal rate decreased to 16
per 100 convictions in 1999.
! 95% of appeals were filed by the
defendant; 5% by the government.
! Defendants convicted of violent
and weapons offenses filed appeals
at the highest rates: 24 per 100
convictions for violent offenders and
29 per 100 for weapons offenders.
! 67% of appeals were filed by
offenders who pleaded guilty to at
least one of the offenses charged.

1997

! 66% of appeals were filed by
offenders represented by publicly
provided counsel; 33%, privately
retained counsel; and 1%, pro se.
! 44% of offenders who filed an
appeal were subject to a mandatory
prison sentence; 11% were
sentenced below the applicable
sentencing range for substantial
assistance.
! Of the criminal appeals concluded
during 1999, 77% were terminated
on the merits. District court
decisions were at least partially
affirmed in 85% of these cases.
! For 769 prison inmates, a successful appeal resulted in an average
sentence reduction of 51 months.
For 86 inmates a successful appeal
by the government resulted in a
sentence increase of 25 months.

Criminal appeals filed in U.S.
courts of appeal
During 1999, 10,251 criminal appeals
were filed with the U.S. courts of
appeal (table 1). Of these, 95% were
filed by the defendant and 5% by the
government. Almost half of the
appeals filed challenged both the
sentence imposed and the underlying
conviction; 23% only the sentence,
13% only the conviction, and 16%
other issues. During 1999, 19% of
interlocutory appeals were filed by the
government compared to 6% or less of
appeals challenging the sentence.
Filing rate across Federal judicial
districts
The rate at which criminal cases were
appealed varied substantially across
Federal judicial districts (figure 1).
During 1999, the filing rate in 11
(Arizona, Southern California, Middle
Georgia, Hawaii, New Mexico, Northern New York, North Dakota, Northern
Mariana Islands, Oregon, Western
Texas, and Virgin Islands) of the 94
Federal judicial districts was less than

10 appeals per 100 criminal convictions. By contrast, in another 9 districts
(Southern Alabama, Central California,
Connecticut, Northern Florida, Maine,
Rhode Island, Western Tennessee,
and Eastern and Western Wisconsin),
the filing rate was 30 or more per 100
criminal convictions – ranging from 30
to 38 appeals per 100 convictions. In
about half of the districts (46), the filing
rate ranged from 10 to 19 appeals per
100 convictions.
Characteristics of criminal cases
appealed
Offense of conviction. Defendants
convicted of violent, drug, and
weapons offenses filed a disproportionate larger number of criminal appeals
than defendants convicted of other
offenses such as property, immigration, and misdemeanor offenses.
Defendants convicted of drug offenses
filed almost half (44%) of all criminal
appeals; defendants convicted of
weapons offenses filed 10%; violent
offenders, 7% (not shown in a table).

Defendants convicted of weapons
offenses were among those most likely
to file an appeal: during 1999, weapons offenders filed 29 appeals for
every 100 convictions (figure 2).
Defendants convicted of violent and
drug offenses were also more likely to
file an appeal: violent offenders filed 24
appeals for every 100 convictions; drug
offenders, 18. Defendants convicted
of property, immigration, and misdemeanor offenses were among the least
likely to file an appeal: property offenders filed 14 appeals for every 100
convictions; immigration offenders,
Table 1. Criminal appeals filed in U.S.
circuit courts of appeal, 1999
Type of
appeal
Total

Appellant
Total Government Defendant
10,251
5.1%
94.9%

Interlocutory
Sentence
only
Conviction
only
Sentence and
conviction
Other

138

18.8

81.2

2,367

6.0

94.0

1,364

2.3

97.7

4,809
1,573

2.7
12.1

97.3
87.9

Data source: Composite. See Methodology.

Filing rate of criminal appeals in U.S. courts of appeal, by Federal judicial district, 1999

Appeals per 100 convictions
Less than 10
10 to 19
20 to 29
30 or more

Not depicted: Alaska (19), Hawaii (9), Guam (13), the Northern Mariana Islands (8), Puerto Rico (26), and the Virgin Islands (6).
Data source: Composite. See Methodology.

Figure 1

2 Federal Criminal Appeals, 1999, with Trends 1985-99

10; and those convicted of misdemean- represented by publicly provided
counsel: 41% by appointed counsel,
ors, 5.
and 25% by Federal defenders (table
Type of counsel. Two-thirds of crimi- 2). A third of appeals were filed by
defendants represented by privately
nal appeals were filed by defendants
Criminal appeals filed in U.S. courts of appeal, 1985-99
The number of Federal criminal
appeals filed increased from 4,989
during 1985 to 11,862 during 1993.
After 1993 the number of criminal
appeals filed decreased to 10,251
filed during 1999.

appeal rate decreased 30% to 16
per 100 convictions, in 1999.

The decline in the appeal rate
occurred in 72 of the 94 Federal
judicial districts. However, in 10
districts (Western Alabama, ConnectiThe increase in appeals was primarily cut, Southern Georgia, New Jersey,
the result of changes in legislation that Western New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina,
permitted Federal sentences to be
Western Virginia, and Western
appealed. Prior to the Sentencing
Washington) the appeal rate
Reform Act of 1984 (SRA), Federal
criminal appeals were limited to
increased more than 20% between
1993 and 1999.
appeals of procedural, or interlocutory, decisions by the district court
Criminal appeals filed in U.S. courts
and challenges by the defendant of
of appeal, 1985-99
the final judgment.
The SRA opened the sentencing
process to appellate review. The SRA
permits both the defendant and
government to appeal a sentence if
(1) the sentence was imposed in
violation of law, (2) the sentencing
guidelines were incorrectly applied,
(3) the court departed from the
sentencing guidelines, or (4) the
sentence was plainly unreasonable for
offenses not addressed by the guidelines. (See 18 U.S.C. § 3742.)
While both the number of defendants
prosecuted in U.S. district courts and
the number of appeals filed increased
between 1985 and 1999, the number
of appeals increased at more than
twice the rate of criminal convictions.
The number of appeals filed increased
an average of 5.3% annually; the
number of criminal convictions rose
an average of 2.4% annually.
During the initial years following
implementation of the Federal
sentencing guidelines, the rate at
which convicted defendants filed an
appeal increased from 12 per 100
convictions during 1987 to 23 per 100
during 1993. After 1993, however, the

Criminal convictions
70,000
60,000
50,000
40,000
30,000
20,000
10,000
0
1985 1988 1991 1994 1997
Criminal appeals filed
12,000
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000

Criminal appeals filed in U.S.
circuit courts of appeal,
by offense, 1999
Total
Violent
Property
Drug
Regulatory
Weapons
Immigration
0

5 10 15 20 25 30
Appeals per 100 convictions

Figure 2

Table 2. Selected characteristics of
appeals filed in U.S. circuit courts of
appeal by defendants convicted in
U.S. district courts, 1999
Characteristic
Totala

Number
9,730

Percent
100%

Type of counsel
Private
Public
Appointed
Federal defender
Pro se

3,007
5,998
3,689
2,309
69

33.1%
66.1
40.7
25.4
0.8

Mode of convictionb
Plea
Trial

5,855
2,879

67.0%
33.0

Mandatory minimum
sentenceb
No
Yes
Less than 60 months
60 to 119 months
120 to 239 months
240 months or more
Life imprisonment

3,937
3,067
27
1,036
1,729
215
60

56.2%
43.8
0.4
14.8
24.7
3.1
0.9

Sentence imposedb
No prison
Prison term
Term in months
Life
Death

279
8,449
8,126
319
4

3.2%
96.8
93.1
3.7
0.0

Departure from
Federal sentencing
guidelinesb
None
Upward
Downward
Substantial assistance
Other
Not applicable

5,145
125
1,441
757
684
23

76.4%
1.9
21.4
11.2
10.2
0.3

2,000
0
1985 1988 1991 1994 1997
Appeals per 100 convictions
25
20
15

a

10
5
0
1985 1988 1991 1994 1997

Total includes observations for which specific
characteristics were unavailable. Excludes
appeals filed by the government.
b
Includes only those cases for which district
court proceedings were terminated prior to
appeal.
Data source: Composite. See Methodology.

Federal Criminal Appeals, 1999, with Trends 1985-99 3

retained counsel. Less than 1% were
filed by offenders who represented
themselves.
Available data suggest that defendants
represented by publicly provided
counsel at the time they were adjudicated of the criminal offense were no
less likely to file a criminal appeal than
defendants represented by privately
retained counsel. Approximately
two-thirds of defendants convicted of
an offense in U.S. district courts were
represented by publicly provided
counsel. (See Defense Counsel in
Criminal Cases, BJS Special Report,
November 2000, NCJ 179023.) The
rest were represented by privately
retained counsel.
The type of appeal filed did not vary
substantially by type of counsel representing the defendant: 74% of appeals
filed by defendants represented by
publicly provided counsel challenged
the sentence compared to 71% by
those represented by privately retained
counsel.
Mode of conviction. Two-thirds of
criminal appeals were filed by defendants who pleaded guilty to at least
one of the offenses charged (table 2).
Three-quarters of defendants who
pleaded guilty challenged the sentence
imposed, 32% the sentence only, and
43% the sentence and conviction (not
shown in a table). By contrast, 81% of
defendants who were convicted at trial
filed an appeal challenging the conviction, 16% the conviction only, and 65%
the conviction and sentence.
Sentence imposed. Almost all (97%)
criminal appeals were filed by defendants sentenced to a term of imprisonment (table 2). Defendants who filed a
criminal appeal during 1999 received
prison sentences that, on average,
were more than twice as long as the
average prison term received by all
defendants sentenced during 1999:
126 months for those appealing
compared to 59 months for all defendants. Defendants convicted of drug
and weapon offenses received the
longest prison terms on average (161
months) (figure 3).

In addition, 319 appeals
were filed by defendants
who received sentences
of life imprisonment and
4 by defendants who
were sentenced to
death.

Comparison of prison terms imposed for
defendants appealing Federal convictions
or sentences and all defendants convicted
in U.S. district courts, 1999
Total

Total

Appealed

Violent

The rate at which defenProperty
dants filed criminal
Drug
appeals increased as
the length of their prison
Regulatory
terms increased. Less
Weapons
than 9% of defendants
with a prison sentence
of less than 5 years filed Immigration
a criminal appeal (figure
0
4). By contrast, about a
quarter of those with a
sentence of 5-10 years, Figure 3
almost half of those with
a sentence of 10-20 years, two-thirds
of those with a sentence of 20-30
years, and almost all of those with a
sentence of more than 30 years filed a
criminal appeal.
Mandatory minimum sentences.
Forty-four percent of criminal appeals
were filed by defendants subject to a

20

40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
Prison term imposed (in months)

minimum prison sentence prescribed
by statute: 25% to a term of 120 to 239
months, 15% to a term of 60 to 119
months, and 4% to a term of at least
240 months or life imprisonment.
Almost three-quarters of defendants
who filed an appeal and were subject
to a mandatory prison sentence had
been convicted of a drug offense (not

Table 3. Outcome of Federal criminal appeals,
by selected case characteristics, 1999

Characteristic
Total*
Appellant
Government
Defendant

Number
10,593

Outcome of appeal
Terminated on the merits
Procedural
Remanded Partially
termination Affirmed or reversed affirmed
Dismissed
22.8%
61.3%
6.8%
4.0%
5.1%

506
10,087

37.9%
22.0

23.1%
63.2

31.0%
5.6

6.3%
3.9

1.6%
5.3

Type of appeal
Interlocutory
Sentence only
Conviction only
Sentence and
conviction
Other

238
2,501
1,303

38.7%
25.4
19.4

36.1%
59.1
68.2

17.2%
6.8
5.0

2.9%
3.2
2.8

5.0%
5.6
4.6

5,102
1,449

16.0
42.7

68.0
39.5

5.5
11.2

5.5
1.4

5.0
5.2

Type of counsel
Private
Public
Appointed
Federal defender
Pro se

3,513
6,221
3,880
2,341
78

24.9%
20.2
19.9
20.9
32.1

59.1%
64.3
65.5
62.2
47.4

7.0%
6.2
5.6
7.1
10.3

5.0%
3.5
3.6
3.3
6.4

4.0%
5.8
5.4
6.5
3.9

Mode of conviction
Plea
Trial

5,894
3,419

26.5%
13.1

57.7%
73.7

5.6%
5.9

2.7%
6.3

7.5%
1.0

Note: Excludes cases transferred prior to final case disposition.
*Total includes observations for which specific characteristics were unavailable.
Data source: Composite. See Methodology.

4 Federal Criminal Appeals, 1999, with Trends 1985-99

shown in a table). Additionally, 11%
had been convicted of a weapons
offense and 17% of other offenses.
Departures from the Federal
sentencing guidelines. About threequarters of defendants filing a criminal
appeal were sentenced within the
applicable guideline sentencing range;
21% below the guideline sentencing
range; and 2% above the guideline
range (table 2). Of those defendants
who were originally sentenced below
the guideline range, 53% received a
downward departure from the guidelines for substantial assistance, and
47% received a downward departure
for other reasons.
Half of defendants who filed an appeal
and received a downward departure for
substantial assistance had been
convicted of a drug offense (not shown
in a table). Additionally, 11% had been
convicted of fraud offenses, 9%,
weapons offenses, 7%, immigration
offenses, 4%, racketeering, and 15%,
other offenses.
Outcome of criminal appeals terminated in U.S. courts of appeal
During 1999 U.S. courts of appeal
disposed of 10,593 criminal appeals
(table 3). Of these, 23% were terminated for procedural reasons. Of
appeals terminated on the merits of the
case, district court decisions were
affirmed, at least in part, in 85% of the
cases.
Criminal appeals filed in U.S.
circuit courts of appeal, by length
of prison term imposed, 1999
Rate per 100 convictions
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
None 1

5

10 15 20 25 30 30+

Prison term imposed (in years)

Appeals filed by the defendant were
generally less successful than appeals
filed by the government. Of those filed
by the defendant, 22% were terminated
procedurally before oral arguments had
occurred. Of those appeals terminated
on the merits, the defendant
succeeded in having the district court
decision reversed, at least in part, or
remanded for further consideration in
12% of the cases. By contrast, the
government succeeded in obtaining a
reversal or remand in 60% of the cases
terminated on the merits.
Nearly 40% of interlocutory appeals
were terminated procedurally during

1999. Appeals challenging the conviction, at least in part, were the least
likely – less than 20% – to result in a
procedural termination.
Of those cases terminated on the
merits, appellants were most successful in having procedural decisions by
the district court reversed or remanded
for further consideration. During 1999,
33% of interlocutory appeals terminated on the merits of the case were
reversed or remanded. Appeals
challenging only the conviction were
the least successful; only 10% resulted
in a reversal or remand.

Habeas corpus and 28 USC ' 2255 motions to vacate a sentence
After all direct appeals have been
disposed of, a Federal offender may
file a civil motion challenging the
legality of the incarceration. The writ
of habeas corpus allows inmates to
file petitions challenging the constitutionality of the imprisonment. The
Supreme Court has generally held
that an inmate can raise most constitutional or jurisdictional claims, not
raised on direct appeal, in a habeas
corpus petition.*
Additionally, Federal inmates may file
petitions to have a sentence vacated,
set aside, or otherwise corrected on
the grounds that the sentence was
imposed in violation of law, the court
was without jurisdiction to impose the
sentence, or the sentence was
greater than the statutory maximum.
(See 28 U.S.C. § 2255.)
Between 1985 and 1999, the number
of habeas corpus and § 2255 motions
to vacate a sentence increased from
4,932 to 9,342. With certain exceptions, the rate at which inmates filed
these motions was relatively
unchanged between 1985 and 1999.
Substantial short-term increases in
the filing rate occurred during 1985
and 1996-97.
While these petitions represent the
offender’s last chance to challenge
*See Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443 (1953) and
Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465 (1976).

the conviction or sentence, most were
dismissed by the district courts. For
instance, during 1995, 65% of habeas
and § 2255 motions were dismissed
(see Prisoner Petitions in the Federal
Courts, 1980-96, October 1997, NCJ
164615). Of those disposed of following judgments by the district courts,
similar to the outcome of direct criminal appeals, 13% were decided in
favor of the inmate.
Habeas corpus and 28 USC ' 2255
motions to vacate a sentence filed
in U.S. district courts, 1985-99
Petitions filed
14,000
12,000
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
0
1985 1988 1991 1994 1997
Petitions per 100 Federal inmates
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1985 1988 1991 1994 1997

Figure 4

Federal Criminal Appeals, 1999, with Trends 1985-99 5

Characteristics of criminal appeals
terminated
Offense of conviction. Appeals filed
by defendants convicted of property
offenses – specifically fraud – and
immigration offenses were among the
most likely to be terminated procedurally (table 4). About a quarter of
appeals by these offenders were
procedurally terminated.
Of those appeals terminated on the
merits of the case, appeals filed by
defendants convicted of property and
regulatory offenses more often resulted
in a reversal or remand than appeals
by defendants convicted of other
offenses. Nineteen percent of appeals
filed by defendants convicted of
property offenses – including fraud –
and 17% of appeals by defendants
convicted of regulatory offenses were
reversed or remanded, at least in part.
By contrast, appeals filed by defendants convicted of immigration, drug,
and violent offenses were among the
least successful appeals. During 1999,
12% of appeals by immigration offenders, 12% by drug offenders, and 13%
by violent offenders resulted in a reversal or remand, at least in part.
Type of counsel. Appeals filed by
defendants represented by privately
retained counsel were more likely to be
terminated procedurally than those by
publicly provided counsel (table 3). A
quarter of appeals involving privately
retained counsel were procedurally
terminated compared to 20% of those
involving publicly provided counsel.
Of those appeals terminated on the
merits of the case, appeals by defendants represented by privately retained
counsel were slightly more successful
than appeals by defendants represented by publicly provided counsel.
During 1999, 16% of appeals filed by
defendants represented by privately
retained counsel and terminated on the
merits of the case resulted in a reversal
or remand compared to 12% of
appeals filed by defendants represented by publicly provided counsel.

Mode of conviction. Appeals by
defendants who pleaded guilty were
more likely to be terminated procedurally than appeals by defendants
convicted at trial. During 1999, 27%
of appeals by defendants who pleaded
guilty were terminated procedurally
compared to 13% of those by defendants convicted at trial.
Of those appeals terminated on the
merits of the case, defendants who
were convicted following a trial
succeeded in obtaining a reversal or
remand more often than those who
pleaded guilty. Fourteen percent of

appeals by defendants convicted
following a trial resulted in a reversal
or remand.
Impact of reversals and remands on
sentences imposed
While few criminal appeals resulted in
a reversal or remand, in those cases
remanded for re-sentencing, the impact
of the appeal on the sentence was
substantial. During 1999 sentences
were changed for 855 Federal prison
inmates as the result of appellate
action (table 5). For the 86 inmates
against whom the government

Table 4. Outcome of Federal criminal appeals,
by offense of conviction, 1999

Characteristic
Total

Number
10,593

Outcome of appeal
Terminated on the merits
Procedural
Remanded Partially
termination Affirmed or reversed affirmed
Dismissed
22.8%
61.3%
6.8%
4.0%
5.1%

Felonies
Violent
Property
Fraud
Other
Drug
Public-order
Regulatory
Other
Weapons
Immigration

10,161
644
1,906
1,451
455
4,865
2,746
180
2,566
1,039
687

22.2%
17.9
24.6
26.7
17.8
22.2
21.7
20.6
21.8
19.5
24.2

61.8%
68.6
56.7
55.2
61.3
63.8
60.1
63.3
59.8
66.1
48.9

6.8%
7.6
8.8
8.4
9.9
5.7
7.2
6.1
7.3
6.9
6.4

4.1%
2.8
5.5
5.7
4.6
3.7
4.1
7.2
3.9
4.2
2.6

5.1%
3.1
4.6
4.0
6.4
4.6
6.9
2.8
7.2
3.2
17.9

Misdemeanors

430

36.5%

50.5%

5.8%

2.1%

5.1%

Note: Excludes cases transferred prior to final case disposition.
Data source: Composite. See Methodology.

Table 5. Federal prison inmates with sentence changes ordered
by U.S. district courts, 1999

Offense of
conviction
Total*

Sentence increases
Sentence reductions
Sentence imposed
Sentence imposed
Number Pre-appeal Post-appeal Number Pre-appeal Post-appeal
86
93.4 mo
118.3 mo
769
139.2 mo
88.5 mo

Violent
Property

13
14

87.4
18.8

118.4
24.7

52
64

136.1
127.2

94.1
66.4

Fraud
Other
Drug
Public order
Regulatory
Other
Weapons
Immigration

12
2
44
13
5
8
4
2

10.9
-123.8
82.8
-----

16.0
-154.4
103.3
-----

52
12
527
123
16
107
38
33

42.5
494.3
153.0
90.2
50.9
96.1
130.1
50.5

28.4
231.1
97.7
60.3
39.1
63.5
84.0
37.0

Note: Includes changes resulting from appellate action. Excludes changes resulting from
other actions such as substantial assistance motions pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 35(b)
and compassionate or changed circumstance motions pursuant to 18 U.S.C. ' 3582(c).
*Includes observations for which the offenses were not recorded.
--Too few cases to obtain statistically reliable data.
Data source: Federal Bureau of Prisons, SENTRY data file, FY 1999.

6 Federal Criminal Appeals, 1999, with Trends 1985-99

prevailed in a sentence challenge, the
imposed prison term increased an
average of 25 months – from 93 to 118
months. By contrast, for the 769
inmates who prevailed in a sentence
challenge, the prison term was reduced
an average of 51 months – from 139 to
88 months.
For some inmates imposed sentences
were increased to or reduced from life
imprisonment. The sentence for one
inmate was increased from 170 months
to life imprisonment, and the sentences
for 13 inmates were reduced from life
imprisonment to an average of 318
months (not shown in a table).
Drug and weapons offenders were
among those who received both the
greatest reductions and increases in
sentences. For the 527 drug offenders
whose sentences were reduced, the
decrease was an average of 55
months from 153 to 98 months. For
the 44 drug offenders whose sentences were increased, the increase
was an average of 31 months from 124
to 155 months. For the 38 weapons
offenders whose sentences were
reduced, sentences imposed decreased an average of 46 months from
130 months to 84 months (table 5).
Methodology
Data sources
The primary source of the data for
tables in this report is the BJS Federal
Justice Statistics Program (FJSP)
database. The FJSP is presently
constructed from source files provided
by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS),
the Executive Office for United States
Attorneys (EOUSA), the Administrative
Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC), the
U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC),
and the Federal Bureau of Prisons
(BOP).
The USMS provides data on offenders
arrested on Federal charges; the
EOUSA provides data on suspects
investigated by U.S. attorneys for
violations of Federal law and the U.S.
attorney’s decision to prosecute; the
AOUSC provides data on defendants

charged with Federal offenses in U.S.
district courts and appeals filed of U.S.
district court decision; the USSC
provides detailed data describing
defendants convicted and the sentence
imposed; and the BOP provides data
on defendants incarcerated in Federal
prisons. Data are reported for the
Federal fiscal years beginning October 1.

Data from the Federal Justice
Statistics Program are compiled by
the Bureau of Justice Statistics from
the source files of several Federal
agencies. Data can be obtained on
CD-ROM from the Bureau of Justice
Statistics Clearinghouse, 1-800732-3277, or from the Federal
Justice Statistics Resource Center
located on the Internet:

Composite data

http://fjsrc.urban.org

For tables in this report, data from
several sources were match-merged to
supplement a single data source with
information from other available data
sources. For instance, records of
appeals filed and terminated in U.S.
courts of appeals provided by the
AOUSC were match-merged with data
describing defendants processed in
U.S. district courts. The district court
data corresponding to appellate
records were match-merged with
USSC data files on defendants
sentenced.

The Resource Center, as well as
the report and supporting documentation, are also accessible through
the BJS website:

For appeals filed and terminated in
U.S. courts of appeal, approximately
95% of records were successfully
matched with the original district court
proceeding record.
The match rate with the USSC data
files was less complete. Of the 9,234
appeals filed during 1999 that represented cases terminated in U.S. district
courts as of September 30, 1999,
approximately 80% of the appellate
records were matched with a USSC
sentencing record.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs

The Bureau of Justice Statistics is
the statistical agency in the U.S.
Department of Justice. Lawrence
A. Greenfeld is acting director.
BJS Special Reports address a
specific topic in depth from one or
more data sets that cover many
topics.
John Scalia, BJS Statistician, wrote
this report. Urban Institute staff,
under the supervision of Laura
Winterfield, and Greg W. Steadman
of BJS provided statistical review.
Ellen Goldberg produced and
edited the report. Jayne Robinson
prepared the report for final
publication.
April 2001, NCJ 185055

Data describing the type of counsel,
mode of conviction, and sentence
imposed were extracted from the
AOUSC data describing district court
terminations. Data describing the
applicability of mandatory minimum
sentences and departures from the
Federal sentencing guidelines were
extracted from USSC sentencing
records. The original appellate data
files included data on the type of
offense for which the defendant was
originally convicted.

Federal Criminal Appeals, 1999, with Trends 1985-99 7

 

 

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