Principal Investigator(s): Federal Judicial Center
The purpose of this data collection is to provide an official public record of the business of the federal courts. The data originate from 94 district and 12 appellate court offices throughout the United States. Information was obtained at two points in the life of a case: filing and termination. The termination data contain information on both filing and terminations, while the pending data contain only filing information. For the appellate and civil data, the unit of analysis is a single case. The unit of analysis for the criminal data is a single defendant.
One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. Authentication is required to apply for access.
Access to one or more files in this study is restricted. Users interesting in obtaining these data must complete and sign a Restricted Data Use Agreement, describe the research project and data protection plan, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.
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Federal Judicial Center. Federal Court Cases: Integrated Data Base, 1970-2000. ICPSR08429-v7. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-05-22. doi:10.3886/ICPSR08429.v7
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08429.v7
Scope of Study
Subject Terms: administration, appellate courts, case dismissal, case processing, civil law, court cases, criminal law, defendants, disposition (legal), federal courts, judicial decisions, legal systems, pretrial procedures, records, trial courts, trial procedures
Geographic Coverage: United States
Date of Collection:
Universe: All federal court cases, 1970-2000.
Data Types: event/transaction data
Data Collection Notes:
(1) Several, but not all, of these record counts include a final blank record. Researchers may want to detect this occurrence and eliminate this record before analysis. (2) In July 1984, a major change in the recording and disposition of an appeal occurred, and several data fields dealing with disposition were restructured or replaced. The new structure more clearly delineates mutually exclusive dispositions. Researchers must exercise care in using these fields for comparisons. (3) In 1992, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts changed the reporting period for statistical data. Up to 1992, the reporting period, or "statistical year," went from July through June (e.g., statistical year 1990 covered the period July 1989 through June 1990). In 1992, the statistical reporting period was changed to conform to the federal government's standard fiscal year, October through September (e.g., fiscal year 1993 covered the period October 1992 through September 1993). The 1970-1991 files, Parts 1-56 and 58-75, conform to the old statistical year (SY70-SY91). The 1992 data files, Parts 82 and 86, cover a 15-month time span (July 1991 through September 1992) to accommodate this conversion period. Subsequent files conform to the new fiscal year (October through September). (4) In fiscal year 1993, there was a change in the policy regarding the counting of defendants who had been fugitive for more than one year. Instead of remaining in the "Pending" file for that year, these cases are put into a separate "Criminal (Fugitive) Pending" file after the year has expired. This change is reflected beginning with the 1995 data. (5) Undocumented codes are present in the data. (6) The part numbers are not consecutive. (7) It is recommended by the principal investigators that only the most recent "Pending" files be used in analysis. (8) Starting in 1996, there are no longer separate criminal terminations and criminal pending data files. These two files were combined into one file called "Criminal Data." (9) In 2005 additional confidentiality measures were applied to many of the data files. Seventy-six data files had identifying information removed from the public use files. There are restricted use files which contain the data removed in 2005. A Data Transfer Agreement Form must be submitted to NACJD to obtain these data.
computerized court records, administrative records
Extent of Processing: ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:
- Performed consistency checks.
- Standardized missing values.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 1990-04-30
- 2012-05-22 All parts are being moved to restricted access and will be available only using the restricted access procedures.
- 2005-04-29 The codebook files in Parts 57, 94, and 95 have undergone minor edits and been incorporated with their respective datasets. The SAS files in Parts 90, 91, 227, and 229-231 have undergone minor edits and been incorporated with their respective datasets. The SPSS files in Parts 92, 93, 226, and 228 have undergone minor edits and been incorporated with their respective datasets. Parts 15-28, 34-56, 61-66, 70-75, 82-89, 96-105, 107, 108, and 115-121 have had identifying information removed from the public use file and restricted data files that still include that information have been created. These parts have had their SPSS, SAS, and PDF codebook files updated to reflect the change. The data, SPSS, and SAS files for Parts 34-37 have been updated from OSIRIS to LRECL format. The codebook files for Parts 109-113 have been updated. The case counts for Parts 61-66 and 71-75 have been corrected in the study description. The LRECL for Parts 82, 100-102, and 105 have been corrected in the study description.
- 2003-04-03 A codebook was created for Part 105, Civil Pending, 1997. Parts 232-233, SAS and SPSS setup files for Civil Data, 1996-1997, were removed from the collection since the civil data files for those years have corresponding SAS and SPSS setup files.
- 2002-04-25 Criminal data files for Parts 109-113 have all been replaced with updated files. The updated files contain Criminal Terminations and Criminal Pending data in one file for the years 1996-2000. Part 114, originally Criminal Pending 2000, has been removed from the study and the 2000 pending data are now included in Part 113.
- 2001-08-13 The following data files were revised to include plaintiff and defendant information: Appellate Terminations, 2000 (Part 107), Appellate Pending, 2000 (Part 108), Civil Terminations, 1996-2000 (Parts 103, 104, 115-117), and Civil Pending, 2000 (Part 118). The corresponding SAS and SPSS setup files and PDF codebooks have also been edited.
- 2001-04-12 Criminal Terminations (Parts 109-113) data for 1996-2000 and Criminal Pending (Part 114) data for 2000 have been added to the data collection, along with corresponding SAS and SPSS setup files and PDF codebooks.
- 2001-03-26 Appellate Terminations (Part 107) and Appellate Pending (Part 108) data for 2000 have been added to the data collection, along with corresponding SAS and SPSS setup files and PDF codebooks.
- 1997-07-16 The data for 18 of the Criminal Data files were matched to the wrong part numbers and names, and now have been corrected.
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