AJ 4 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Judicial Nominating Commission, Neutral Party
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Civil cases: 18 %
Domestic violence cases: 6%
Criminal cases: 20%
Juvenile cases: 20%
Traffic and ordinance violation cases: 54%
● 2/3 of the cases are processed in limited jurisdiction. Approximately 100,000 criminal
cases receive dispositions in the district courts each year going to federal courts.
● The rapid congestions causes people to wait to long for resolution, costs a lot of money,
and too much delay can violate the 6th amend.
● Rapidly increasing population in some states have outpaced growth in the court system.
Some communities have attempted to control crime by aggressively prosecuting petty
offenses and nuisance crimes. As the law becomes more complex, and involves such tech
issues as intellectual property rights concerning computer programs, the need for a more
involved court process has escalated. Efforts being made to reform criminal law are
helping overload courts. Civil litigation has increased as people have come to view the
court process as a means of redressing all kinds of personal wrongs (frivolous lawsuits).
Judge: the senior officer in a court of law, who is authorized to hear and decide cases.
● During trials he rules on the appropriateness of conduct, settles questions of evidence and
procedure, and guides the questioning of witnesses. In a jury trial a judge must tell jurors
which evidence is proper.
Other Judicial Functions
● The trial judge has extensive control and influence over the other agencies of the court,
probation, the court clerk, court reporters, the public defender, and the district attorney’s
● Police and prosecutors are also directly influences by the judge, whose sentencing
discretion affects the arrest and charging processes.
● The judge considers requests from prosecutors and police on leniency or severity on
cases. Judges tend to dismiss cases they consider weak and less serious.
● Appointment to one off the 300,000 judgeships vary but typically the judge must be a
resident of the state, licensed to practice law, a member of the state bar association, and at
least 25 and less than 70 years of age.