Trends 2013-2016

A list of monthly Trends articles for August 2013 through October 2016 has been compiled.  See full article archive.


Trends: Close Up

These special reports are part of the National Center for State Courts’ “Trends in the State Courts” series. The reports are mailed out quarterly and serve as informative and timely updates for state court leaders by NCSC staff. Any opinions expressed herein are those of the authors, not necessarily of the National Center for State Courts.

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Our Most Recent Release: 

The Rise and Fall of State Court Caseloads

Since the Great Recession in 2008, caseloads in the state courts have been declining rapidly—16 percent between 2006 and 2015, a loss of about 16 million cases. Across all case categories—civil, criminal, juvenile, domestic relations, traffic—and across all states, this pattern is pervasive and persistent. While there is some variation due to demographics or policy and budget changes within states, the overall trend is clear. What is not known is why this is happening.




Women on the Bench

For the past ten years, the National Center for State Courts has tracked the number of female justices serving in the state courts of last resort. Our data track 53 courts because we include the D.C. Court of Appeals, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. The most noticeable trend in the past ten years has been the steady increase in the number of courts of last resort whose number of female justices equals or exceeds 50 percent of the court’s total membership.



Animals in Court

There are a variety of different scenarios that can bring animals to the courthouse. They may be accompanying a witness, a litigant, an attorney in a court case, or someone entering the court to file paperwork.

Election 2016 and the Courts

With so much attention being paid to the 2016 presidential election, down-ballot items tend to be forgotten. However, ballot items in four states this November will have a direct impact on state courts. These proposals represent not just questions for voters in a particular year, but also broader discussions about how state courts operate, ranging from judicial age and capacity to the role of independently elected clerks of court.



Policy Implications of Body Worn Cameras
Body Worn Cameras, or “BWCs,” are increasingly being deployed by law enforcement agencies.


Cellphones and Self-Represented Litigants

As our society becomes more dependent on mobile devices, the policy issues on allowing these devices into courtrooms become more complex.


Reports are part of the National Center for State Courts' "Report on Trends in State Courts" and "Future Trends in State Courts" series.
Opinions herein are those of the authors, not necessarily of the National Center for State Courts.