Massachusetts Criminal Conviction Rates in Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk & Worcester Counties Released
Many people not directly involved in the Massachusetts criminal justice system ordinarily do not hear much about what happens after certain cases are publicized. Media coverage of criminal cases, whether a murder, armed robbery, or drunk driving accident is highlighted almost daily. What the public only typically hears, however, is when someone is arrested, or when a 'high-profile' crime goes to trial. If someone is convicted of a high-profile crime, that's front-page headlines all over the Massachusetts media.
Well, what about the thousands of other criminal cases that are prosecuted annually...the ones that don't receive the extensive media attention? People might wonder, but don't often realize, that criminal conviction rates for cases tried in the Superior Court Departments in Boston and throughout Massachusetts are not as high as you might expect.
In data recently released by the Massachusetts Office of the Jury Commissioner, it is reported that in 2009, the criminal conviction rate in Suffolk County and Middlesex County for criminal cases that went to trial was only 62%. By comparison, the criminal conviction rate in Norfolk County was 59%, and Worcester County was 34%.
Because these criminal conviction rate numbers for Massachusetts counties consider a guilty verdict on at least one felony as a conviction, one might argue that the criminal conviction rates are actually lower than those reported. For example, if someone is charged with 5 felony indictments, and the criminal defendant is only convicted of 1 of them, then that is considered a conviction - even though the defendant may only have been convicted of the 'least serious' of those felonies.