A recently released BJS report presents trend data from state court organization data collections covering the years 1987-2004. The report examines changes in the organization and operations of the Nation's state trial and appellate courts over this time period. Topics include the selection and educational requirements of judges, regulations of criminal and civil juries, the development of unified court systems, and adjustments in court management and staffing to address growing caseloads. Findings include:
- Total trial court case filings increased by approximately 45% in limited jurisdiction courts and 43% in general jurisdiction courts.
- Specialty jurisdiction or problem-solving courts, such as drugs, family, mental health, and domestic violence courts, became more common.
- The ratio of trial judges to the population nationwide decreased slightly from 10 to 9 judges per 100,000 persons.