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State Appellate Caseload Growth Documentary Appendix

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1983
This report supplies background data for a project that documented, analyzed, and forecast State appellate court caseload trends, using filings gathered from 43 States going back 10 to 15 years and other court statistics.

Part 1 presents the findings from this research, including statistics on the extent of appellate caseload growth and the relationship of this growth to independent variables. Appellate caseloads grew at a rate averaging 9 percent between 1974 and 1982. Appeals doubled in the last decade, increasing faster than the number of judgeships and trial court filings. Part 2 details the sources of caseload statistics and other data, principally court annual reports, unpublished materials sent by the courts, and interviews with court clerks and administrative personnel. The next chapters explore problems encountered in formulating a uniform definition of an appellate court filing -- it is a direct appeal from a trial court or administrative agency -- and in gathering data. Topics covered include the appellate court backlog ratio, the percentage of cases in intermediate courts, sentence appeals, administrative agency appeals, and reversal rates. The section on trial court statistics emphasizes the numerous problems found in these data, while other chapters focus on trial and appellate judgeship and demographic information. Also described are miscellaneous variables: interest rate differentials, trial court dollar jurisdiction limits, prehearing settlement conferences, and new civil rules in civil cases and sentence appeal procedures and new court rules in criminal cases. The final chapters explain the coding procedures and provide State-by-State descriptions of the appellate and trial court statistics as well as procedures used in compiling the data. Tables, a survey questionnaire, and additional materials on the statistical analysis are supplied.

Date Published: October 1, 1983