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NCJ Number: 162831 Find in a Library
Title: Trial by Jury or Judge: Which Is Speedier?
Journal: Judicature  Volume:79  Issue:4  Dated:(January-February 1996)  Pages:176-180,199
Author(s): T Eisenberg; K M Clermont
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compares the case processing time of civil cases decided at trial by judges and those decided by juries.
Abstract: The study obtained computerized data on all Federal civil cases terminated in all Federal district courts during fiscal years 1979-94. The data included the subject matter of the case, the dates of filing and termination, and the procedural progress at termination, including whether the case was tried before jury or judge. The data were used to examine the average time from filing to termination after completed trial, thus determining whether jury-tried cases take longer than those tried to a district or magistrate judge. The focus was on those cases in which litigants had a clear choice between judge and jury trial. Moreover, it was limited to case categories with a reasonably large number of cases tried before judges and before juries. In the 13 categories of cases selected, the mean judge-tried case spent 755 days on the docket, and the mean jury-tried case terminated in 678 days. The median judge case took 619 days, and the median jury case took 566 days. The longer processing time for judge-tried cases cannot be explained by case complexity. Although the actual trial may proceed more slowly before a jury than before a judge, because of extra procedural steps, the judge-tried cases are on the docket longer probably because the press of other duties leads judges to interrupt the trial and postpone eventual decisions. Reformers who seek to speed up civil litigation by eliminating the jury should consider other time- saving measures.
Main Term(s): Court case flow
Index Term(s): Civil proceedings; Court delays; Judges; Juries
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