STATE COURT WORKLOAD The lion’s share of the nation’s judicial business


Administrative Office of the Courts Every state now has an administrative office of courts or a similarly titled agency that performs a variety of administrative tasks for that state’s court system. Among the tasks more commonly associated with administrative offices are budget preparation, data processing, facility management, judicial education, public information,

 research, and personnel management. Juvenile and adult probation are the responsibility of administrative offices in a few states, as is alternative dispute resolution

Court Clerks and Court Administrators The clerk of the court has traditionally handled the day-to-day routines of the court. This includes making courtroom arrangements, keeping records of case proceedings, preparing orders and judgments resulting from court actions, collecting court fines and fees, and disbursing judicial monies. In the majority of states these officials are elected and may be referred to by other titles. The traditional clerks of court have been replaced in many areas by court administrators. 

STATE COURT WORKLOAD The lion’s share of the nation’s judicial business exists at the state, not the national, level. The fact that federal judges adjudicate several hundred thousand cases a year is impressive; the fact that state courts handle several million a year is overwhelming, even if the most important cases are handled at the federal level. While justice of the peace and magistrate courts at the state level handle relatively minor matters, 

some of the biggest judgments in civil cases are awarded by ordinary state trial court juries. The National Center for State Courts has compiled figures on the caseloads of state courts of last resort and intermediate appellate courts in 1998. In all, some 261,159 mandatory cases and discretionary petitions were filed in the state appellate courts. Reliable data on cases filed in the state trial courts are harder to come by. Still, the center does an excellent job of tracking figures for states’ trial courts. In 1998, 17,252,940 cases were filed in the general jurisdiction and limited jurisdiction courts. As with the federal courts, the vast majority of the cases are civil, although the criminal cases often receive the most publicity

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