Statistics show 7.7 million cases were filed in California superior courts in fiscal year 2012-2013; a nearly 10 percent drop from the previous year. Just over 9,400 [9,480] jury trials were recorded – a five percent drop from the year before. And there were nearly 470,000 [469,646] court trials; a 12 percent decline from a year earlier.
The numbers come from the Judicial Council’s annual Court Statistics Report. The council – which is the policymaking body of the California courts – says most of the decline occurred in misdemeanors and infractions in the criminal case category and small claims in the civil case category. The council points out the drop in cases coincides with General Fund budget cuts to the judicial branch and the closure of some courthouses and reduced hours at others.
Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration says the judicial branch needs to find ways to manage its rising employee costs, including “compensation changes…with the goal of increasing access to justice.”