The National Center for State Courts promotes the rule of law and improves the administration of justice in state courts and courts around the world.

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The who, what, when, where and how of state courts

Learn about the role of state courts in our democracy. Our video – The who, what, when, where and how of state courts – explains why the Founding Fathers elevated the judiciary to its status as the government’s third and equal branch. It goes on to explain that state courts are made of local trial courts, where juries or judges decide cases, as well as appellate and supreme courts.

Watch the video here

NCSC Data Cards

  • In New Jersey, the most densely populated state, there were 56,499 traffic cases per 100,000 people in 2015
    In Massachusetts, the third most densely populated state, there were 1,932 Learn More
  • Only 2 states leave it up to state lawmakers to elect all judges Virginia and South Carolina
    To see more statistics, go to Learn More
  • In Delaware, there were 15,557 criminal misdemeanor cases per 100,000 people in 2015
    In Kansas, there were 891 Learn More
  • At least 9 states require no legal credentials for municipal judges,
    and 2 states (New Mexico and South Carolina) don’t require probate judges to possess legal credentials Learn More
  • There were 4,175 domestic relations cases per 100,000 people in Virginia in 2015
    In Colorado, there were 678 Learn More
  • 28 states have no maximum-age requirement for trial court judges
    Vermont allows its trial court judges to work until they’re 90 Learn More
  • Terms for grand juries range from 10 days in North Dakota
    to 2 years in South Carolina and Tennessee Learn More
  • There were 2,624 felony cases per 100,000 people in New Jersey in 2015
    In Hawaii, there were 384 Learn More
  • There were 16,453 civil cases filed per 100,000 people in Maryland in 2015
    In California, the most populated state, there were 2,169 Learn More
  • 64 percent of all cases in general jurisdiction courts in South Dakota in 2015 were criminal
    In New York, 3 percent were criminal Learn More

10 Questions with NCSC experts

Meet Margaret Allen,  Director of National Programs

Like a lot of people who work at the National Center, Margaret’s journey here is the result of what she calls “a long and winding road.” It started after she left Indiana University and decided to return to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to figure out her next step. She transferred to Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and after graduation worked at Lesley College in Cambridge and as a corporate concierge at Fidelity Investments in Boston. Which led to a decision to return to Columbus. Which led to a temporary job at the Ohio Supreme Court. Which led to a full-time job there under John Meeks. Margaret followed John here but is based in Columbus, traveling frequently to ICM courses and NCSC headquarters.


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