Federal conviction rates remain high

Mass Lawyers Weekly reports again on the high conviction rates in federal court. In Massachusetts, federal court conviction rates are 89% in 2010. For that year, federal conviction rates were 87% nationwide. Some federal prosecutors attribute this to working closely with investigators from the beginning of a case. Others point out that federal prosecutors have greater leeway on picking which cases--especially white collar cases--to prosecute than do state prosecutors

By comparison, a 2006 article in the Pittsburg Tribune reported: “Between 2000 and 2005, 99 percent of the 435,000 federal criminal defendants prosecuted nationwide were convicted. The conviction rate was the same for the 2,130 criminal defendants prosecuted during that period in the Western District of Pennsylvania.
A defense lawyer had a different take: “A 90-plus percent conviction rate isn't something that should be applauded. I think it's something you should worry about," Boas said. "That's what you see in totalitarian regimes."