Article VI, section 6 of the California Constitution requires the Judicial Council to survey the condition of business in the state courts and to report and make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature.
A snapshot of the court caseload data in the CSR for fiscal year 2012–2013 follows.
- The Supreme Court issued 94 written opinions in fiscal year 2012–2013.
- Filings totaled 7,813, and dispositions totaled 8,269.
- Automatic appeals arising out of judgments of death totaled 13 cases, and the court disposed of 21 such appeals by written opinion.
- The Supreme Court ordered 16 Court of Appeal opinions depublished in this fiscal year.
Courts of Appeal
- Total contested matters for the Courts of Appeal totaled 20,391, made up of 13,020 records of appeal and 7,371 original proceedings.
- Dispositions in the Courts of Appeal totaled 22,092. Of these dispositions, 14,778 were notices of appeals, and 7,314 were original proceedings.
- Dispositions of appeals by written opinion totaled 9,429, appeals disposed of without written opinion totaled 3,426, and appeals disposed of without a record filed totaled 1,923. Dispositions of original proceedings by written opinion totaled 470, and original proceedings disposed of without written opinion totaled 6,844.
- Statewide, 9 percent of Court of Appeal majority opinions were published.
Superior court case filings across all case categories totaled 7,726,025. A total of 9,480 jury trials and 469,646 court trials were recorded across all case types. The following filings totals were recorded by case type:
o Unlimited (greater than $25,000) – 199,537
o Limited (less than $25,000) – 554,858
o Small claims – 168,063
o Felony – 260,461
o Misdemeanor – 926,169
o Infraction – 5,050,151
- Family and Juvenile
o Marital – 140,180
o Other family law – 248,907
o Delinquency – 52,732
o Dependency – 44,882
- Other case types:
o Civil and criminal appeals – 5,242
o Criminal habeas corpus – 8,411
o Mental health – 25,013
o Probate – 41,419
Although these statistics may be beneficial for the judicial council they are not beneficial for litigants or attorneys in the field. There is no differentiation for the type of appeals decided, time frame taken to decide an appeal or a record reflecting that cases have been languishing for years in some cases. Of concern is also the fact that a substantial amount of appeal court opinions do NOT adhere to the mandatory requirement of CA government code section 68081 specifying that the court SHALL afford parties the opportunity for supplemental briefing. An additional concern is that family court matters and juvenile cases that deal with crucially relevant cases affecting children are not readily available to track statistically. For example what percentage of custody cases are contained in the 248,907 other filings and what was the decision reached based on what criteria.? The public, as tax payers, has a vested interest in knowing what tax dollars are being spent on. A snapshot of case load is statistically meaningless to interested parties.