Analyzing Trial Time in California, Colorado, and New Jersey, 1986 (ICPSR 9223)

Published: Jan 18, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
Dale Anne Sipes, University of Michigan; Mary Elsner Oram, University of Michigan

Version V1

This study of nine courts was undertaken to identify procedural factors that can be used to reduce the length of criminal and civil trials without impairing fairness. The data collection provides direct information on the actual amount of time consumed by various trial segments and the perceived length of trial segments as gauged by judges and attorneys. In addition, data are supplied on the legal community's attitudes toward existing trial length, reasons for it, and judicial control over it. The trial case file contains information on types of cases and trials, estimated trial length, type of disposition, type of defense attorney, number of claims, cross-claims, and counterclaims, number of exhibits introduced, number of expert and lay witnesses called by the defense, number of peremptory challenges, and day and time the trial ended. The questionnaire data contain information on professional experiences, number of cases tried per month, opinions about time consumed by each segment of the trial, estimated time used in each segment, and attitudes toward judicial control over the trial length.

Sipes, Dale Anne, and Oram, Mary Elsner. Analyzing Trial Time in California, Colorado, and New Jersey, 1986. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-18.

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (85-IJ-CX-0044)

1986-03 -- 1987-01

1986-03 -- 1987-01

There are two samples. In the trial case sample, cases were obtained from a convenience sample of ongoing trials heard during March 1986-January 1987 in three counties in each of the three states. For the survey, mailing lists of judges, civil plaintiff's attorneys, private criminal defense attorneys, criminal prosecutors, and public defenders were obtained from the court administrator's office at each site. Completed surveys were received from 57 judges (50 percent response rate), 197 criminal attorneys (47 percent), and 131 civil attorneys (38 percent).

Civil and criminal trial cases, trial judges, and civil and criminal attorneys in California, Colorado, and New Jersey.

self-enumerated forms

survey data



2006-01-18 File CB9223.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

2005-01-14 The second version of the Criminal Trial File (former Part 3 on the download page), which was redundant with Part 2, was removed.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.