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Pub. Type Report
Title Lengths to Which Courts Go To Try a Case (and Possible Remedies)
Author(s) Sipes, Dale A.
Subtitle/Series Name
Pub. Date 1988
Abstract Trial length was found to vary greatly both within and among States. Median civil trial lengths ranged from 10 to 30 hours, while criminal trials ranged from 6.5 to over 23 hours. Part of this variation could be attributed to structural factors, particularly the nature of the court's caseload and its method of jury selection and examination. For instance, courts with many homicide and product liability cases had longer trial medians than those trying more motor vehicle torts and burglaries; courts allowing attorney voir dire had greater median lengths than those with judge voir dire. Despite this, similar trials also were found to vary widely in duration, suggesting that some courts try their cases more expeditiously than others. Based on the data, site interviews, and questionnaire responses, the overall results suggest that the degree of judicial management at all phases of the trial is the single most important factor in accounting for variation in trial length. Further, the majority of judges and attorneys perceived no lack of fairness or increased injustice in those courts with shorter trial lengths. 5 footnotes, 7 tables, and data collection forms. For full report, see NCJ 10117. (Author abstract modified) source
Issue/No. NCJ 110116
Producer United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice
Place of Production Washington, DC

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