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NCJ Number: 69637 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: State Appellate Courts - The Problems of Delay
Journal: State Court Journal  Volume:4  Issue:3  Dated:(Summer 1980)  Pages:9-14,44-45
Author(s): J A Martin; E A Prescott
Corporate Author: National Ctr for State Courts
Publications Dept
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Ctr for State Courts
Williamsburg, VA 23185
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 79-DF-AX-0026
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article summarizes the major findings and conclusions of the Appellate Justice Improvement Project of the National Center for State Courts.
Abstract: The Project investigated the problem of case-processing delay in appellate courts using a sample of 11 appellate courts. They included courts with diverse caseloads, intermediate and last resort courts, courts from different geographic locations, and courts with and without a central staff. Courts that differed substantially in case-processing time, procedures, and structures were also examined. Data for the study came from library research on court and constitutional rules, from approximately 6,500 cases filed in 1975-76, and from site visits to the sample courts. Findings showed that the sample courts differed markedly in the amount of time required to process cases--from 240 to 649 days. The largest percentage of case-processing time was spent on oral argument cases, suggesting that efficient case processing may require that appellate court judges assume more administrative duties and a broader role. The data also indicate that, when a court is unable to consider appeals promptly, it is more likely to grant extensions during the materials preparation phase and thus cause delays. Courts with more filings-per-judge processed cases more quickly than courts with fewer filings-per-judge. The findings suggest that reducing decision time and case backlog depend more on the structure and organization of the court than on the number of judges available to decide cases. The most significant conclusion of the Project was that local legal culture can be changed to improve the pace of litigation, and that a critical requirement is judicial dedication to reducing unacceptable delay at each step of the judicial process. The prospects of success are also enhanced by recognizing the characteristics and needs of the court as well as the bar and related entities. The pace of litigation must be measured, and techniques for partial or total court management of the pace of litigation should be adopted. Notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Appellate courts; Caseload management; Court case flow management; Court reorganization; Judges; National Center for State Courts (NCSC)
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