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

We've developed a three-minute “explainer” video about the role of state courts in our democracy. The video explains why the Founding Fathers elevated the judiciary to its status as the government’s third and equal branch. The video 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

  • Terms for grand juries range from 10 days in North Dakota
    to 2 years in South Carolina and Tennessee 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
  • In Delaware, there were 15,557 criminal misdemeanor cases per 100,000 people in 2015
    In Kansas, there were 891 Learn More
  • There were 2,624 felony cases per 100,000 people in New Jersey in 2015
    In Hawaii, there were 384 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
  • Only 2 states leave it up to state lawmakers to elect all judges Virginia and South Carolina
    To see more statistics, go to courtstatistics.org 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
  • 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

10 Questions with NCSC experts


Meet Ravi Dwibhashyam,  Accountant

Ravi Dwibhashyam is from India, a country a third the size of the United States but with four times more people. “In India you may have a bus meant for 40 people, but there are 80 people on it. There is no concept of personal space there.” Which helps explain why when he first saw images of New Zealand, he knew he wanted to live there. But first he had to learn English. To find out how he did that and how he ended up in the United States, read on.

READ THE STORY

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