State Court Organization

Source: S. Strickland, R. Schauffler, R. LaFountain & K. Holt, eds., National Center for State Courts, Last updated 06 March 2013

State Court Organization (SCO) presents detailed comparative data about how state trial and appellate courts are organized and administered in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. With topics ranging from the types of courts established in each state to specific aspects of law or procedure, State Court Organization is the source for authoritative answers to fundamental questions about the operations of each state’s court system.

For the first time, the information compiled for SCO is available through a web-based, interactive application that allows users to customize the display of data so that it best answers their questions. Comparison is facilitated by the ability of users to sort and filter data to focus on specific issues of interest and characteristics of courts. This new, interactive approach to State Court Organization information facilitates the examination of differing state approaches to court administration and related procedures and rules.
Interactive State Court Organization App
Sections include:

Judicial Branch Governance
Provides information on the governance, funding, and administration of the judicial branch. Tables address topics such as the procedures of judicial nomination, compensation, and evaluation commissions; judicial education and judicial discipline policies; media coverage of the courts; and the use of interpreters and guardians.

Appellate Courts
Provides information on the structure, staffing, and procedures of the nation’s appellate courts. Tables address the number of appellate courts and judges, the selection process and qualifications needed to be an appellate judge, the selection process and number of appellate court clerks, size of the legal staff, the responsibilities of chief judges and clerk offices, and the procedures for oral argument and expediting appeals.

Trial Courts
Provides information on the structure, staffing, and procedures of the nation’s trial courts. Tables address topics such as the number of trial courts and judges; the selection process and qualifications needed to be a trial judge; the number, selection process, and responsibilities of trial court administrators and trial court clerks; the selection and responsibilities of presiding judges; and information on specialty courts (problem-solving) as well as specialty jurisdiction (death penalty).

Juries
Provides information on the jury process in trial courts. Tables address topics such as the grand jury; juror selection, exemption, and qualifications; the number of peremptory challenges per case type; and jury size, procedures, and verdict rules per case type.

Technology
Provides information on the types of technology utilized by the nation’s trial and appellate courts. Tables address topics such as the use and capabilities of case management, e-filing, and jury management systems; the external exchange of and public access to court data; and the selection and responsibilities of chief information officers.