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NCJ Number: 49812 Find in a Library
Title: ACCELERATED CIVIL JURY TRIAL PROGRAM IN THE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
Journal: VILLANOVA LAW REVIEW  Volume:13  Dated:(FALL 1967)  Pages:137-147
Author(s): C W KRAFT
Corporate Author: Villanova University
School of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1967
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Villanova University
Villanova, PA 19085
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE RESULTS OF AN ACCELERATED JURY TRIAL PROGRAM ARE DISCUSSED, AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROCEDURES USED ARE EVALUATED ON THE BASIS OF STATISTICAL DATA GATHERED.
Abstract: IN AN ATTEMPT TO ALLEVIATE THE BACKLOG AND ITS ATTENDANT HARDSHIPS, THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA INSTITUTED AN ACCELERATED CIVIL JURY TRIAL PROGRAM. IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THIS OBJECTIVE, EVERY AVAILABLE JUDGE IN THE DISTRICT HEARD CIVIL JURY TRIALS FOR AN 8-WEEK PERIOD. PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE PROGRAM, PREPARATORY PROCEDURES WERE UTILIZED. A SPECIAL ARGUMENT LIST WAS HEARD TO DISPOSE OF OUTSTANDING PRETRIAL MOTIONS AND TO ENABLE COUNSEL TO COMPLETE ALL OUTSTANDING CONTESTED DISCOVERY. A PRELIMINARY CALL OF THE CASES ON THE CALENDAR WAS HELD AND THE VARIOUS LAW FIRMS INVOLVED IDENTIFIED COUNSEL WHO WOULD TRY EACH CASE, ESTIMATED THE TRIAL TIME FOR EACH CASE, MADE ALL MOTIONS FOR CONTINUANCES, AND WERE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO REQUEST A SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE. CASES ON THE CALENDAR WERE PLACED IN A 'READY POOL' OR A 'DEFERRED POOL,' DEPENDING ON THEIR STATUS WHEN CALLED. THE CLERK OF COURT MAINTAINED AT ALL TIMES A READY LIST OF APPROXIMATELY 25 CASES WHICH WERE LISTED IN NUMERICAL ORDER WITH THE OLDEST CASE ASSIGNED THE LOWEST NUMBER. THE COURT INITIATED A PROGRAM IN WHICH THE ATTORNEYS FOR EACH PARTY IN THE FIRST FIVE CASES IN THE 'READY POOL' WERE 'LOCKED IN,' WHICH MEANT THAT THESE CASES WERE SUBJECT TO IMMEDIATE CALL WHEN A JUDGE AND COURT ROOM BECAME AVAILABLE. THIS REQUIRED THEM THE TO BE PHYSICALLY PRESENT IN THE COURT HOUSE DURING THE 'LOCK IN' PERIOD. IT IS INDICATED THAT THE MOST OBVIOUS ACHIEVEMENT OF THE ACCELERATED PROGRAM WAS THAT MORE CASES WERE TERMINATED THAN WERE COMMENCED. ADDITIONALLY, IT IS BELIEVED THE COURT SUCCESSFULLY BEGAN A CAMPAIGN TO REVERSE THE TREND OF AN INCREASINGLY SERIOUS PROBLEM; LITIGANTS WERE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD; AND COUNSELS REAPED INCREASED MONETARY REWARD WHILE BEING PROVIDED WITH CERTAIN NEW OPPORTUNITIES. THE PROGRAM, HOWEVER, IS CONSIDERED ONLY A WELL-CONCEIVED BEGINNING, WITH THE TASK BEING NOW TO IMPLEMENT THE PROCEDURES THAT WERE SUCCESSFUL. SUBSTANTIAL FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Caseloads; Court case flow management; Court management; Critiques; Pennsylvania
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=49812

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