Caseload Report Out, Will Have Budget Implications

The California “Courts Statistics Report,” or CSR, is out, and this year the formerly obscure document is bound for new attention as it will become part of a new budgeting formula. In a desperate attempt to put some level of oversight into how the courts spend money, especially on the civil courts, the new budget laws will take into consideration caseloads as reflected in the report. In general, the overall Superior Court case filings are actually down overall, but most of that comes from relatively simple cases like small claims. The more resource-intensive complex cases continue to increase.
Doubtless more analysis of the information will be produced soon. At first read, it seems there’s plenty of information for virtually any political argument, depending on perspective. For example, are the more simple cases, which are more often filed by individuals rather than lawyers relative to more complex cases, “down” because we’re all getting along? Or are more people just walking away because we’ve cut assistance in filing such cases, or because they couldn’t endure the filing line.
The state courts website offers this this: “The largest changes in statewide filings for Superior Courts from the previous year are in limited jurisdiction case types – misdemeanors and infractions in the criminal case   and small claims and limited civil in the civil case category.  Limited jurisdiction cases tend to be, on average, much less complex and resource-intensive for courts than unlimited jurisdiction case types such as felonies, family law, juvenile, probate, and mental health.  Many of the most complex types of cases filed in the courts had an increase in filings from the previous year, which include the following case types: Felony, Personal Injury/Property Damage/Wrongful Death (PI/PD/WD), Family Law (marital), Juvenile Dependency, Probate, and Mental Health.”
It’s not exactly light reading, but it’s bound to become a major document for next year’s budget battles. Find it at the courts website here.