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The NCJRS Abstracts Database contains abstracts of more than 200,000 criminal justice, juvenile justice, and substance abuse resources housed within the NCJRS Library. Search the NCJRS Abstracts Database for resources on this topic.
 
 
Courts Programs at a Glance
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Total Number of Programs: 43

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Courts Practice Outcomes at a GlanceNew
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Total Number of Practices: 3

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Courts

Millions of cases are filed in local, state, tribal, and federal courts each year. Most court systems include trial courts, which hear criminal and civil cases; appellate courts, which review cases decided at the trial court level; and at least one supreme court, which is the court of last resort within a judiciary system.

Fast Facts

  • 99,921 defendants were charged in federal court cases in 2010. Of these defendants, 3,047 were charged with violent offenses, 17,463 with property offenses, 29,493 with drug offenses, 12,579 with public-order offenses, 7,989 with weapon offenses, and 29,016 with immigration offenses (334 are missing or unknown case types).[1]

  • In 2009, about 270,000 cases were filed in state appellate courts, while state trial courts reported 106 million incoming trial court cases. The types of cases filed in state trial courts included an estimated 58.0 million traffic or ordinance violations, 20.7 million criminal, 19.5 million civil, 5.8 domestic relations, and 2.0 million juvenile cases.[2]

  • In 2006, state courts sentenced an estimated 69% of all individuals convicted of felonies to incarceration: Approximately 41% were sentenced to state prison and 28% to county jails, with an average sentence length of 4 years, 11 months. Twenty-seven percent of convicted offenders were sentenced to probation with no prison or jail time and 4% to community service or an alternative sentence.[3]

  • In 2002, over half of the federally recognized American Indian tribes in the lower 48 states had a formal tribal court. An estimated 59% (188) of the 314 tribes had some form of judicial system. These included about 175 tribes having general jurisdiction courts, 91 appellate courts, 80 juvenile courts, and 51 family courts.[4]

  • There were 3,648 specialty jurisdiction or problem-solving courts, which include drug, family, mental health, domestic violence, and veterans courts, as of December 31, 2009. Additionally, as of December 31, 2009, every state in the U.S, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico had at least one drug court in operation, for a total of 2,459 drug courts nationwide.[5]

Programs

Practices New

OJP Publications

Missing Link: Examining Prosecutorial Decision-Making Across Federal District Courts, NIJ-Sponsored, 2014
PDF Order Photocopy

Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences, NIJ-Sponsored, 2014
PDF

Policing and Wrongful Convictions, NIJ, August 2014
PDF

Indigent Defense Services in the United States, FY 2008-2012, BJS, July 2014
PDF Text

State Government Indigent Defense Expenditures, FY 2008-2012, BJS, July 2014
PDF Text

More OJP Publications

Questions and Answers

Where can I find the most recent version of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Annual Report?
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What is bail?
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What are the penalties for possession of illegal substances?
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