June 4, 2014 – Finding obscure court statistics in federal and state courts is made easier by a variety of governmental and third-party websites. The amount of statistical data available is too large to list all sources. This article discusses some of the best and most comprehensive sites.
The U.S. Courts' statistics website provides data on nearly all federal courts. Information on the federal courts includes court management statistics, bankruptcy statistics, judicial facts and figures, and more. The main report published by the U.S. Courts is the annual Judicial Business report, which details the caseload of all federal courts.
More specialized statistics, such as those for patent cases, can be found on a variety of sites. Docket Navigator provides patent litigation statistics back to 2008. Besides including the number of cases each year, more specific data includes information about the amount of awards, injunctions, and the most active courts and judges. The USPTO also offers data of its own, such as Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decisions, incoming filings, and performance measures for decisions.
The other side of the court statistics comes from the Court Statistics Project, which provides data on the state court systems. The Court Statistics Project is a project by the National Center for State Courts and the Conference of State Court Administrators. While the Court Statistics Project website does not contain reports as detailed as the U.S. Courts, there is still plenty of valuable information available. Especially helpful on the Court Statistics Project website are visual diagrams of each state's court system. This provides an easy way to determine the layout of an individual state's judicial system.
If you are looking for more detailed information on Wisconsin courts, head to the the Wisconsin Court System's statistics page. Reports such as caseload summary, disposition summary, and clearance rates are released annually. Each report includes a statewide summary, as well as reports based on county and district. Municipal court statistics are also compiled annually. For judicial information, the Wisconsin Law Journal publishes statistical data each year in their "Year in Review" feature on how often circuit court judges are affirmed and reversed by the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. If you're looking for additional statistics that are not provided on the site, local district or circuit courts may be able to provide information.
Emily Gellings is a Research Specialist at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren S.C.. She is the immediate past president of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin. She received her Masters of Library and Information Science from UW-Milwaukee.
Also in Wisconsin, the Labor and Industry Review Commission compiles statistics on their cases and decisions. Data is broken down by program areas, which include unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, equal rights, as well as data on the appeals to LIRC, LIRC reversal rates of ALJs, and more.
Specific statistical information can be found on nearly every topic, so even if the type of data you're looking for is not listed here, don’t be discouraged as it may very well be found on one of the many other sites offering court information.
Primary Source for Criminal Justice Statistics
For data on justice systems at all levels, the Bureau of Justice Statistics offers a large range of in-depth statistics and reports, covering topics that range from those based on crime type such as cybercrime to data about prosecutors' offices throughout the country. Unlike most other statistical websites in this area, the Bureau of Justice Statistics provides data analysis tools that are dynamic.
If you still can’t find what you are looking for, contact a research librarian at your firm or at the Wisconsin State Law Library.
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