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NCJ Number: 98496 Find in a Library
Title: Improving the Analysis and Presentation of Data on Case Processing Time
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:74  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1983)  Pages:1589-1607
Author(s): D W Neubauer
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 19
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This research note examines some important conceptual, measurement, and analytical problems in applying a perspective of case processing time to data gathered in four State courts that had instituted innovations to reduce case processing time.
Abstract: The need to refine data analysis and develop better ways of presenting data on criminal case processing time emerged in an evaluation of delay reduction programs in State trial courts of general jurisdiction in Providence, R.I.; Dayton, Ohio; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Detroit, Mich. In each site, case processing information was obtained from official court records. Key dates in the history of a case were collected, including the dates of filing, arraignment, disposition, and sentencing. In deciding which time frames should be measured in analyzing case flow data, researchers decided it was better to focus the analysis on three general time frames: lower court time (from arrest to trial court control), trial court time (from the time of trial court control to disposition of the case on the merits), and sentencing time (from conviction to the imposition of sentencing). This analysis of separate case processing time phases rather than overall case processing time permitted the researchers to determine how case processing time was linked to key decisions in the judicial process. Because not all case processing time was attributable to the court, the study measured only time under the control of the court. This led to the excluding of cases involving a psychiatric examination and the subtracting of days lost due to the defendant's failure to appear. Because no single summary statistic adequately captures the range of variation in case processing time, the study used medians and 'box-and-whisker' plots. Similarly, to measure changes over time, time lines that illustrate means, medians, and 'smoothed' (running) medians were used. Figures and tables portray the data analysis. Forty footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Case processing; Court case flow; Court delays; Data analysis; Evaluation techniques; Michigan; Nevada; Ohio; Rhode Island
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