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BJS Courts Statistics & Info
Examines civil rights claims based on race, age, sex, or national origin involving employment, welfare, housing, voting, or other civil rights discrimination issues. It covers civil rights claims litigated in federal district courts from 1990 to 2006. Information is presented on trends in types of civil rights cases filed in federal district courts, the basis of federal court jurisdiction, case processing time, disposition of civil rights cases, and the types of trials that occur in the federal courts. In addition, this report examines who wins in civil rights trials and the estimated median monetary amount awarded to litigants.
Since 1992, BJS has sponsored periodic surveys examining civil trial and appellate litigation in state courts. These surveys are titled the Civil Justice Survey of State Courts. The Civil Justice Survey of State Courts examines the adjudication of general civil (that is tort, contract, and real property) cases by trial in state courts and has occurred every 4 to 5 years encompassing the time periods of 1992, 1996, 2001, and 2005. The Civil Justice Survey of State Courts data collection series serves as the primary source for detailed level information on civil cases adjudicated by trial in state courts.
In the nation's 75 largest counties, an estimated 58,100 defendants were charged with a felony offense in 2006.
More than three-fourths of felony defendants had a prior arrest history, with 69% having multiple prior arrests.
Fifty-eight percent of felony defendants in the nation's 75 largest counties were released prior to adjudication and about a third of the released defendants committed some form of pretrial misconduct.
About two-thirds of felony defendants were eventually convicted and more than 95% of these convictions occurred through a guilty plea.
Seventy percent of defendants convicted were incarcerated in a state prison or local jail.
Indigent Defense Systems
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes the right to counsel in federal criminal prosecution. Through a series of landmark decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the right to counsel has been extended to all criminal prosecutions, state or federal, felony or misdemeanor, that carry a sentence of imprisonment.
There are over 2,300 prosecutors offices in the United States. Data gathered about these offices include the annual office budget, tenure and salaries of chief state court prosecutors, and the full-time office staffing, including attorneys, investigators, victim advocates, and support personnel. Also collected are data on threats against staff and data on staff who carry firearms, and detailed information on the number of felony cases closed, felony jury trial verdicts, and the use of DNA evidence. Data are from the National Census of State Court Prosecutors, a complete census of all state prosecutors' offices litigating felony cases in state courts of general jurisdiction.
State Court Caseload Statistics
Examining the Work of State Courts is a joint project of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). The interactive publication provides a concise, graphically oriented volume that makes state court statistics highly accessible, giving the reader on-line access that cannot reasonably be included in the text of the document. The publication also provides the reader with additional resources that help to facilitate the understanding of the work of state courts.
State Court Organization
Since 1980, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has sponsored the State Court Organization (SCO) data collection series. This collection serves as the primary source for detailed information on the structure and framework of the nations state trial and appellate courts. The SCO collects data on the overall number of courts and judges in the nations state court system; the selection and service requirements of judges; the governance, funding, and administration of the judicial branch; and the jurisdiction, staffing, and procedures associated with the nations appellate courts. This collection also describes the administration, procedures, and specialized jurisdiction of state trial courts; the composition and workings of state juries; the sentencing context; and the overall structure of appellate and trial courts in each state. In addition, the SCO series collects data on problem-solving courts, jury decisionmaking, judicial discipline, and the use of technology in courts. Data were collected under the SCO project in 1980, 1987, 1993, 1998, 2004, 2009, and 2011.
Passage of the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934 encouraged tribes to enact their own laws and establish their own modern tribal courts. Modern tribal courts are under tribal control, and are directly oriented to the needs of tribal members. Some tribes have developed a hybrid or blended judicial system, incorporating the dispute resolution elements of indigenous or Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) courts and a more modern focus to ensure due process. In 2002, about 60% (188) of all the tribes had some form of a tribal justice system.