A researcher cannot examine significant trends in court caseloads and differences in court workload without a base of valid data. Argued in the abstract, caseload statistics are important because they are analogous to the financial information business firms use to organize their operations. Because a court case is the one common unit of measurement available in all courts, caseload statistics are the single best way to describe what courts are doing currently and to predict what they will do. Within the United States, comparable state court caseload data are essential for judicial, legislative, and executive branch agencies to understand the work and needs of the courts.

Before one can use court caseload statistics, it is necessary to understand the statistics. The emphasis here is on ...

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