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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77062 Find in a Library
Title: Appellate Court Delay Reduction - Judges First
Journal: Appellate Court Administrative Review  Issue:3  Dated:(1980-1981)  Pages:28-31
Author(s): T B Marvell
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that appellate court delay is the judges' responsibility; judges have both the authority and the means to alleviate the problem.
Abstract: There are two reasons why judges are responsible for delay even though most delay occurs before cases reach them. The first reason is that judges have the power to control the pace of court reporters' and attorneys' work. Appellate courts make and enforce the appellate rules specifying time limits for record and brief preparation. Judges have the authority to establish time limits that would expedite appeals, appellate court clerks can monitor reporters and attorneys, and the court can penalize those who do not comply with the rules. The second reason is that judges schedule for argument only the number of cases they can decide within 1 or 2 months. This creates a backlog of cases briefed and awaiting argument, and a substantial delay arises between argument and decision. Because, under current decisionmaking practices, the court could not hear cases promptly if briefs were to arrive within time limits, it freely grants requests for extensions. Therefore, judges must be the central focus of the delay reduction effort. Judges have the responsibility to reduce delay, and they can do so if they believe the harm of delay warrants making changes in the decisionmaking procedures. Unfortunately, the trend in recent years is to look elsewhere for delay reduction mechanisms, as reflected by the use of case management techniques and studies. Instead, the amount of time devoted to each appeal could be reduced by shortening oral arguments or using memorandum opinions. Statistics fail to accurately identify the cause of delay and are of no assistance in the development of remedial measures. Finally, all a delay reduction effort needs is a decision by judges to conduct it and selection of elements of the decisionmaking process which can be curtailed. In most cases, studies analyzing the court's caseload to locate delay sources are unnecessary. Eight footnotes are included in the article.
Index Term(s): Appellate courts; Continuance; Court case flow management; Court delays; Judges; Right to speedy trial; Trial procedures
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