Monday, September 12, 2005

Trials vs. non-trial dispositions

[RESEARCH] Beyond the Vanishing Trial: A Look at the Composition of State Court Dispositions presents statistics on trends in state court trials, both civil and criminal.

As documented in “Examining Trial Trends in State Courts: 1976-2002,” the use of trials by the nation’s general jurisdiction courts has been declining over the past two decades.[1] From 1976 to 2002, jury trials decreased by 15 percent for criminal cases and 32 percent for civil cases, while bench trials declined 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively. This decline in trials took place at the same time as dispositions increased by over 100 percent for both case categories.

The phenomenon of the “vanishing trial” has prompted interest in the manner in which court cases are disposed and has led to varying theories as to why the use of trials is declining.[2] In anticipation of these discussions, the NCSC included in its State Court Disposition Trends database information on non-trial dispositions, and this article presents the first findings related to non-trial disposition trends in the state courts.
This is one article from the forthcoming "Trends Report" from the National Center for State Courts.

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