Saturday, 13 December 2003
The newswires have a story that will be interesting to follow over the course of the news cycle. Professor Marc Galanter of the University of Wisconsin Law School (bio) and the London School of Economics (bio) has conducted a study of the U.S. federal court system at the behest of the American Bar Association.
Galanter's finding, dubbed "vanishing trials," documents the decline in the number of trials conducted in federal courts since 1962, notwithstanding a large increase in the number of cases filed. I have not been able to find a copy of the study online yet (please let me know if you can find it), and the newswires are a bit vague about the cause(s) of the decline. Pretrial dismissals, defaults, and settlements probably account for most of it, but I would still like to read Professor Galanter's study.
The San Jose Mercury News has the AP story, and the New York Times has some original reporting by Adam Liptak ("U.S. Suits Multiply, but Fewer Ever Get to Trial, Study Says").