criminal trial analytics

Criminal Trial Analytics: Learning from Verdicts using Tarrant County as an Example

In the world of civil litigation, tracking jury verdicts is big business. Attorneys and their clients want to know what juries in a particular jurisdiction have been doing before they go to trial. It also helps both sides understand the risks and rewards of going to trial.

Experienced criminal defense practitioners have a wealth of knowledge about what juries have been doing on cases in their jurisdiction, and they are able to help set realistic expectations for their clients. With the advance of technology and through Public Information Act requests, criminal practitioners have an additional tool in their arsenal: analytics from previous jury trials in a particular jurisdiction.

The information below was compiled from the last two years of trials in Tarrant County. Tarrant County is the third-most populous county in Texas and home to 1.9 million people. There are ten courts devoted to primarily felony cases.

Based on records obtained from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, there were 16,626 felony cases filed, 14,481 felony cases indicted, and 153 felony cases tried to Tarrant County juries in 2016. (The data below reflects both 2015 and 2016.)

While these figures are a useful tool in helping individuals accused of crimes understand in general terms the risks and rewards of going to trial, every criminal case hinges on the facts specific to that case. As a result, trying to extrapolate the outcome of any particular case based on past verdicts in criminal cases would be a mistake. With that said, the results are reflective of the community. The verdicts of “not guilty” in the face of the most heinous of accusations such as continuous sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual assault, murder, and even capital murder mean that overall juries are doing exactly what they were intended to do – listening to the evidence and requiring prosecutors to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt before returning a verdict of guilt.

By the numbers, here’s the breakdown based on jury trials in 2015 and 2016 by the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office.

Felony Jury Trials Prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office: By the Numbers

Number of cases tried: 316

Number of cases where the jury returned a verdict of guilt on the offense charged: 238

Number of cases where the jury did not return a verdict of guilt on offense charged: 78

Percentage of cases where the accused was found guilty of the offense as charged: 75.3%

 

Criminal Jury Trials for Sex Offenses Prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office in 2015 and 2016

Number of cases tried: 98

Number of cases where the jury returned a verdict of guilt on the offense charged: 68

Number of cases where the jury did not return a verdict of guilt on offense charged: 30

Percentage of cases where the accused was found guilty of the offense as charged: 69%

Sexual Assault Jury Trials

Continuous Sexual Assault Cases: Lower Conviction Rates but Higher Sentences

Certain offenses such as Continous Sexual Assault of Child cases have lower conviction rates on the offense charged, but higher sentences for those convicted of the offense. The sentences ranged from the statutory minimum of 25 years to the statutory maximum of life. Using 99 years as the numeric value for life, the average sentence imposed was 53 years in prison. This is higher than the majority of current inmates in Texas prisons for continuous sexual assault of a minor cases, 51% of whom are serving sentences between 20-40 years.

Continuous sexual assault jury trial arrant

 

Continuous Sexual Assault Prisoners

Related Practice Areas:

Sexual Assault Defense

Felony Jury Trials for Assaultive Offenses Prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office in 2015 and 2016

Number of cases tried: 50

Number of cases where the jury returned a verdict of guilt on the offense charged: 39

Number of cases where the jury did not return a verdict of guilt on offense charged: 11

Percentage of cases where the accused was found guilty of the offense as charged: 69%

felony assaults fort worth criminal defense

Related Practice Areas:

Felony Family Violence Defense

Aggravated Assault

Assault by Choking, Impeding Breath, or Strangulation

Felony Jury Trials for Drug Offenses Prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office in 2015 and 2016

Number of cases tried: 26

Number of cases where the jury returned a verdict of guilt on the offense charged: 19

Number of cases where the jury did not return a verdict of guilt on offense charged: 7

Percentage of cases where the accused was found guilty of the offense as charged: 73%

felony criminal defense attorney drug cases

Related Practice Areas

Possession of Controlled Substance

Felony Jury Trials for Intoxication-Related Offenses Prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office in 2015 and 2016

Number of cases tried: 15

Number of cases where the jury returned a verdict of guilt on the offense charged: 13

Number of cases where the jury did not return a verdict of guilt on offense charged: 2

Percentage of cases where the accused was found guilty of the offense as charged: 87%

intoxication manslaughter tarrant county

 

Related Practice Areas

Intoxication Manslaughter

Intoxication Assault

DWI Felony Repetition

Criminal Jury Trials for Homicides Prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office in 2015 and 2016

(Trials involving deaths excluding intoxication manslaughter cases)

Number of cases tried: 37

Number of cases where the jury returned a verdict of guilt on the offense charged: 29

Number of cases where the jury did not return a verdict of guilt on offense charged: 9

Percentage of cases where the accused was found guilty of the offense as charged: 78%

murder defense

Murder: Higher Conviction Rates, Sentences Mirror State Average

Of the 22 murder cases tried to juries in Tarrant County over the last two years, 18 resulted in convictions on the charge of murder. This is a higher rate of conviction on the offense charged when compared to other felony offenses tried to juries in Tarrant County. For purposes of determining an average sentence for this offense, a life sentence is treated as 60 years because an individual who is sentenced to life in prison for murder in Texas is eligible for parole in 30 years. The average sentence for murder after a jury returned a verdict of guilty in Tarrant County for 2015 and 2016 is 49.2 years. This is consistent with the majority of murder sentences throughout the state.

 

murder not guilty

 

Practice Areas

Murder Defense

Capital Murder Defense

Manslaughter Defense

Worth Noting

Acquittal in Murder Charge, June 2016

Criminal Jury Trials for 3G Offenses Prosecuted by the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office in 2015 and 2016

Number of cases tried: 126

Number of cases where the jury returned a verdict of guilt on the offense charged: 97

Number of cases where the jury did not return a verdict of guilt on offense charged: 29

Percentage of cases where the accused was found guilty of the offense as charged: 77%

3G offenses

 

Learn more:

What is a 3G Offense in Texas?

Behind the Numbers

The raw data for this article was obtained through a public information act request. The data was then compiled and summarized. The compiled data has been provided below. The names of the accused, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and courts are intentionally omitted.

Two cases in which guilty verdicts were returned have been acquitted on appeal. An acquittal on appeal is different than a reversal because a reversal generally sends the case back to the trial court to resolve. An acquittal generally means there was no basis for the conviction, and the Court of Appeals is entering a finding that the accused was not guilty. For that reason, these cases were not treated as guilty verdicts for purposes of this article. (Cases acquitted on appeal: Fort Worth Mortuary Case, Sexual Assault Prosecution).

In a number of cases the accused pled guilty to the offense charged during trial. These are considered guilty verdicts for the purposes of this article even though the jury did not render a verdict of guilt.

In the graphics above, “other” includes verdicts that were other than guilty on the offense charged. “Other” includes convictions on lower charges, mistrials, and not guilty verdicts.

*OffenseGuilty of Offense ChargedSentencePled Guilty to Lesser ChargeFound Guilty of Lesser ChargeNot GuiltyMistrial
Accident Involving DeathYes10 years
Aggravated AssaultNo11 yearsYes
Aggravated Assault Causing Serious Bodily InjuryNo1 yearYes
Aggravated Assault Causing Serious Bodily InjuryYes99 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponNoYes
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponNo1 yearYes
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes6 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes40 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes45 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes10 years probation
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes5 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes15 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes18 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes45 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes2 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes10 years probation
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes30 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes2 years probation
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes45 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes65 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes4 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes9 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes37 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes11 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes60 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes10 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes5 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes15 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes25 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes35 years
Aggravated Assault Deadly WeaponYes75 years
Aggravated Assault Public ServantYes25 years
Aggravated Assault Public ServantYes12 years
Aggravated Assault Security OfficerYes15 years
Aggravated Assault Serious Bodily InjuryYes25 years
Aggravated KidnappingNo2 years state jailYes
Aggravated Kidnapping, RobberyYesLife
Aggravated RobberyNoYes
Aggravated RobberyNo60 yearsYes
Aggravated RobberyYes
Aggravated RobberyYes27 5 years
Aggravated RobberyYes30 years
Aggravated RobberyYes18 years
Aggravated RobberyYes5 years
Aggravated RobberyYes18 years
Aggravated RobberyYes10 years probation
Aggravated RobberyYesPSI
Aggravated RobberyYes20 years
Aggravated RobberyYes20 years
Aggravated RobberyYes20 years
Aggravated RobberyYesPSI
Aggravated RobberyYes30 years
Aggravated RobberyYes17 years
Aggravated RobberyYes40 years
Aggravated RobberyYes10 years
Aggravated RobberyYes - Pled10 years
Aggravated RobberyNoYes
Aggravated Sexual AssaultNo50 yearsYes
Aggravated Sexual AssaultNoYes
Aggravated Sexual AssaultYes45 years
Aggravated Sexual AssaultYes35 years
Aggravated Sexual AssaultYes25 years
Aggravated Sexual AssaultYes40 years
Aggravated Sexual AssaultYes75 years
Aggravated Sexual AssaultNoYes
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildNo7 yearsYes
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildNoYes
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildNoYes
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildNoYes
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildNo10 years probationYes
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYesLife
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYesPSI
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYes75 years
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYes23 years
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYes45 years
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYes25 years
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYesLife
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYes12 years
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYes8 years
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYes60 years
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a ChildYes - Acquitted on Appeal
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child (x2)NoYes
Animal CrueltyYes10 years probation
ArsonYes7 years
Assault - StrangulationNo1 yearYes
Assault - StrangulationNoYes
Assault - StrangulationNo3 yearsYes
Assault - StrangulationNoYes
Assault - StrangulationNoYes
Assault - StrangulationNo1 yearYes
Assault - StrangulationYes17 years
Assault - StrangulationYes6 years probation
Assault - StrangulationYes80 years
Assault Family Violence w/ PriorsnoYes
Assault Family Violence w/ PriorsYes5 years
Assault Family Violence w/ PriorsYes17 years
Assault Family Violence w/ PriorsYes15 years
Assault Family Violence w/ PriorsYes60 years
Assault Family Violence w/ PriorsYes10 years
Assault Public ServantYes35 years
Attempted Capital MurderYes60 years
Attempted KidnappingYes20 years
Burglary of a BuildingNoYes
Burglary of a HabitationNo180 daysYes
Burglary of a HabitationYes40 years
Burglary of a HabitationYes25 years
Burglary of a HabitationYes4 years
Burglary of a HabitationYes25 years
Burglary of a HabitationYes5 years probation
Burglary of a HabitationYes35 years
Burglary of HabitationNo1 year jailYes
Capital MurderNo50 yearsYes
Capital MurderNo55 yearsYes
Capital MurderNoYes
Capital MurderNoLifeYes
Capital MurderYesLife without Parole
Capital MurderYesLife
Capital MurderYesLife
Capital MurderYesLife
Capital MurderYesLife
Capital MurderYesLife without Parole
Capital MurderYesLife
Capital MurderYesDeath
Compelling Prostitution under 18NoYes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14NoTwo 6-year sentences, to run consecutivelyYes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14No8 months state jailyes
continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14no5 yearsyes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14No10 yearsYes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14No7 yearsYes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14No8 yearsyes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14No10 years probationYes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14No20 yearsYes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14No10 years probation
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14NoYes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14NoYes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14NoYes
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes30 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes90 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes30 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes25 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes30 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes50 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14YesAbsconded
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14YesLife
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes25 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes25 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes45 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes99 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes60 years
continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes30 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14YesLife without Parole
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes50 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes70 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14YesLife
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes45 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes30 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes47 Years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes35 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes60 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes45 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes80 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes40 years
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes40 years
Delivery or Manufacture of Controlled Substance 1-4 GNo40 yearsyes
Delivery or Manufacture of Controlled Substance 1-4 GYesPSI
Delivery or Manufacture of Controlled Substance 4-200 GYes36 Years
Delivery or Manufacture of Controlled Substance 4-200 GYes27 years
Delivery or Manufacture of Controlled Substance 4-200 GYesPSI
Delivery or Manufacture of Controlled Substance 4-200 GYes20 years
Delivery or Manufacture of Controlled Substance u/1GnoYes
Directing Activity of Street GangYes50 years
DWI Felony RepetitionNoYes
DWI Felony RepetitionYes12 years
DWI Felony RepetitionYes4 years
DWI Felony RepetitionYes10 years probation
DWI Felony RepetitionYes3 years
DWI Felony RepetitionYes54 months
DWI Felony RepetitionYes10 years
Engaging in Organized CrimeNo12 yearsYes
Engaging in Organized CrimeYes50 years
Engaging in Organized CrimeYes37 years
EscapeYes3 5 years
EvadingNoYes
EvadingNo1 yearYes
EvadingYes2 years
EvadingYes15 years
EvadingYes7 years
EvadingYes8 years
EvadingYesPSI
EvadingYes25 years
Failure to Register as a Sex OffenderYes30 years
Failure to Register as a Sex OffenderYes10 years probation
Failure to Register as a Sex OffenderYes12 years
ForgeryYes33 years
Indecency by ContactYes2 years
Indecency by Exposureyes8
Indecency FondlingNoYes
Indecency FondlingYes8 years
Indecency FondlingYes20 years
Indecency FondlingYes6 years
Indecency FondlingYes - Pled18 years
Indecency FondlingYes - Pled7 years
Indecency with a ChildNoYes
Indecency with a ChildYes2 years
Injury to a ChildNoYes
Injury to a ChildYes10 years probation
Injury to Child/ElderlyNoYes
Injury to Child/ElderlyNoYes
Injury to Child/ElderlyYes87 years
Insurance Fraud 20k-100kYes5 years probation
Intoxication AssaultYes10 years probation
Intoxication ManslaughterNoYes
Intoxication ManslaughterYes2 years
Intoxication ManslaughterYes8 years
Intoxication ManslaughterYesHung
Intoxication ManslaughterYes20 years
Intoxication ManslaughterYes15 years
Intoxication ManslaughterYes - Pled2 years
ManslaughterYes33 years
Manslaughteryes - Pled85 years
ManslaughterYes9 years
Misappropriation of Funds over 200,000Yes10 years probation
Misappropriation of Funds over 200,000Yes6 years
MuderYesLife
MurderNoYes
MurderNoYes
MurderNo13 yearsYes
MurderNoYes
MurderYes99 years
MurderYesLife
MurderYes22 years
MurderYesPSI
MurderYesLife
MurderYesLife
MurderYes30 years
MurderYes70 years
MurderYes60 years
MurderYes13 years
MurderYes45 years
MurderYes20 years
MurderYes20 years
MurderYes50 years
MurderYes50 years
MurderYes99 years
MurderYes - Sudden passion20 yearsYes
Possession of a Controlled Substance under 1/GYes2 years
Possession of a Controlled Substance under 1/GYes2 years
Possession of a Controlled Substance under 1/GYes1 year
Possession of a Controlled Substastance 4-200 GNoYes
Possession of a Controlled Substastance 4-200 GYes11 years
Possession of a Controlled Substastance 4-200 GYes13 years
Possession of a Controlled Substastance 4-200 GYes35 years
Possession of a Controlled Substastance 4-200 GYes5 years
Possession of Controlled Substance 1-4 gramsNoYes
Possession of Controlled Substance 1-4 gramsYes12 years
Possession of Controlled Substance 1-4 gramsYes12 years
Possession of Controlled Substance 1-4 gramsYesLife
Possession of Controlled Substance 1-4 gramsYes42 years
Possession of CS 4-200 gramsNo22 yearsYes
Possession of CS 4-200 gramsNoYes
Possession of CS 4-200 gramsNoYes
Possession of CS 4-200 gramsYes9 years
Possession of CS 4-200 gramsYes7 years
Possession of CS 4-200 gramsYes20 years
Possession of CS 4-200 gramsYes25 years
Possession of CS 4-200 gramsYes7 years
Possession of CS 4-200 gramsYesLife
Possession of CS over 400 gramsYes10 years
Possession of Marijuana 4 oz - 5 lbsNoYes
Possession of Marijuana 4 oz - 5 lbsNoYes
Possession of Marijuana 4 oz - 5 lbsYes20 years
RobberyYes40 years
RobberyYes15 years
Sex Offender Duty to RegisterYes5 years
Sexual AssaultNoYes
Sexual AssaultNoyes
Sexual AssaultYesLife
Sexual AssaultYes10 years probation
Sexual AssaultYes10 years probation
Sexual AssaultYes7 years probation
Sexual AssaultYes20 years
Sexual AssaultYes5 years
Sexual AssaultYes5 years
Sexual AssaultNo5 yearsYes
Sexual AssaultNoYes
Sexual Assault of a ChildNoYes
Sexual Assault of a ChildYes20 years
Sexual Assault of a Child under 14NoYes
Sexual Assault of a Child under 14NoYes
Sexual Assault of a Child under 14Yes34 years
Sexual Assault of a Child under 17Yes20 years
Sexual Assault of a Child under 17YesLife
Sexual Performance of a ChildYes60 years
Sexual Performance of a Child under 14Yes78 years
Sexual Performance of a Child under 14Yes17 years
StalkingYesLife
TamperingNoYes
TamperingYes5 years
Theft 1,500-20,000Yes4 years
Theft 1,500-20,000Yes - Aquitted on Appeal
Theft 20,000-100,000Yes10 years probation
Theft of a FirearmNo1 yearYes
Theft of Property 2,500-30,000Yes20 years
Theft over $200kYes5 years
Theft u/1500 with priorsYes4 years
Theft u/1500 with priorsYes6 years
Theft u/1500 with priorsYes7 years
Theft u/1500 with priorsYes9 years
Theft u/1500 with priorsYes2 years
Unauthorized Use of a Motor VehicleNoYes
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a FelonNoYes
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a FelonYes12 years
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a FelonYes4 years
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a FelonYes40 years
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a FelonYes6 years

Who we are

Varghese Summersett PLLC is a boutique criminal defense firm based out of Fort Worth, Texas. All of our partners are former Tarrant County prosecutors. We have tried over 550 cases to juries in Texas. As the numbers above reflect, the vast majority of criminal cases do not result in jury trials, so we bring a tremendous amount of experience to any criminal case. We are proud of the trials in which we have defended clients against serious accusations and juries have returned verdicts of “Not Guilty” including against allegations of sexual assault and murder. (To learn more about our results in criminal cases, read our reviews and check out our results page.) If you or a loved one is facing a serious criminal accusation, call us at (817) 203-2220 or contact us online:

About the Author
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Benson Varghese

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Benson Varghese is the Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a state and federal practitioner who has handled thousands criminal cases and taken over 100 cases to trial by jury. Benson is frequently called upon to handle cases that require a high degree of knowledge in technology, scientific evidence, forensic evidence, as well as serious intoxication cases. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.

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