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NCJ Number: 51949 Find in a Library
Title: JUSTICE DELAYED - THE PACE OF LITIGATION IN URBAN TRIAL COURTS - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Author(s): T CHURCH JR; A CARLSON; JO-LYNNE LEE; TERESA TANCHANTRY K
Corporate Author: National Conference of Metropolitan Courts
United States of America

National Ctr for State Courts
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
College of William and Mary
United States of America
Project Director: K CHANTRY
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: National Conference of Metropolitan Courts
Los Angeles, CA 90004
National Ctr for State Courts
Williamsburg, VA 23185
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 76-DF-99-0076
Publication Number: R0041A
Sale Source: National Ctr for State Courts
Publications Dept
300 Newport Avenue
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE FINDINGS OF A STUDY WHICH EXAMINED THE RATE OF CASE DISPOSITION TO SEE WHETHER IT WAS DETERMINED BY COURT STRUCTURE, OPERATION, OR ENVIRONMENT AND TO DEVISE WAYS OF EXPEDITING LITIGATION ARE SUMMARIZED.
Abstract: CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASE PROCESSING WAS EXAMINED IN 21 METROPOLITAN COURTS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES USING COMPARABLE TIME AND WORKLOAD MEASURES. IN ADDITION, JUDGES, ATTORNEYS, AND COURT EMPLOYEES WERE INTERVIEWED, AND HOURS OF COURT PROCEEDINGS WERE OBSERVED. THE FOLLOWING ASPECTS OF COURT SYSTEM'S STRUCTURE WHICH MAKE UP THE TRADITIONAL MODEL OF COURT DELAY WERE EXAMINED: COURT SIZE, JUDICIAL CASELOAD, SETTLEMENT AND TRIAL ACTIVITY, CALENDARING SYSTEM, AND CASE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES. THE PRIMARY MEASURE OF CIVIL CASE PROCESSING WAS MEDIAN TIME FROM FILING TO DISPOSITION FOR TORT CASES. TWO OTHER CIVIL DIMENSIONS WERE MEASURED: THE MEDIAN DAYS FROM INITIATION OF THE LAWSUIT TO DISPOSITION FOR ALL CIVIL CASES PLACED IN LINE FOR TRIAL AND THE MEDIAN DAYS FRM INITIATION OF LEGAL ACTION TO COMMENCEMENT OF JURY TRIAL. THE MAJOR CRIMINAL MEASURE WAS MEDIAN TIME FROM FILING IN THE GENERAL JURISDICTION COURT TO A FORMAL DETERMINATION OF GUILT, INNOCENCE, OR DISMISSAL. TWO OTHER MEASURES WERE THE MEDIAN DAYS FROM ARREST TO DISPOSITION AND THE MEDIAN DAYS FROM INDICTMENT OR INFORMATION TO COMMENCEMENT OF JURY TRIAL. TABULATIONS OF RESULTS INDICATE THAT THE PACE OF CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LITIGATION IS NOT AFFECTED SIGNIFICANTLY BY THE COMPONENTS OF THE TRADITIONAL MODEL OF COURT DELAYS, RATHER, THEIR PACE IS MORE THE RESULT OF THE 'LOCAL LEGAL CULTURE' WHICH BECOMES ADAPTED TO A GIVEN PACE OF CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LITIGATION. THAT PACE HAS A COURT BACKLOG OF PENDING CASES ASSOCIATED WITH IT AND HAS AN ACCOMPANYING BACKLOG OF OPEN FILES IN ATTORNEYS' OFFICES. ESTABLISHED EXPECTATIONS AND PRACTICES, TOGETHER WITH THESE BACKLOGS, PRODUCE CONSIDERABLE RESISTANCE TO ATTEMPTS TO ALTER THE PACE OF LITIGATION. THIS EXPLAINS THE FAILURE OF STRUCTURAL AND CASELOAD VARIABLES TO ACCOUNT FOR INTERJURISDICTIONAL DIFFERENCES IN THE PACE OF LITIGATION AND THE FAILURE OF SOLUTIONS BASED ON COURT STRUCTURE, RESOURCES, OR PROCEDURES. THE MOST PROMISING TECHNIQUE FOR REDUCING DELAYS IS TO INSTITUTE SYSTEMS FOR BOTH CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES BY WHICH THE COURT CAN MONITOR AND GUIDE THE PROGESS OF INDIVIDUAL CASES FROM FILING TO DISPOSITION. THESE SYSTEMS WILL CREATE THE EXPECTATION THAT TRIAL WILL COMMENCE ON THE DATE SCHEDULED. PROFILES OF SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS AND A LIST OF COUNCIL OF STATE COURT REPRESENTATIVES ARE INCLUDED. (MGB)
Index Term(s): Caseload management; Caseloads; Court case flow management; Dispositions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51949

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