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Publication State Court Organization, 2011

Ron Malega, Ph.D., Thomas H. Cohen, J.D., Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

November 26, 2013    NCJ 242850

Presents 2011 data on the organization and operations of state trial and appellate courts and examines trends from 1980 through 2011. Topics include court structure, distribution of judges by jurisdictional level, and staffing, selection, and educational requirements of judges. Other topics include the responsibilities of administrative offices of courts, court funding sources, and verdict requirements. The appendix tables provide detailed state-level data on trial court administrators, trial court clerks, and the provisions for judicial education. Data are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' State Court Organization (SCO) collections.


  • The organizational structure of the nation's trial and appellate courts changed modestly from 1980 to 2011.
  • Six states added intermediate appellate courts between 1980 and 1998: Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, and Virginia.
  • From 1980 to 2011, the number of states with more than three types of limited jurisdiction trial courts declined from 31 to 21.
  • The number of states with one or no limited jurisdiction trial courts increased from 14 in 1980 to 21 in 2011.
  • From 1980 to 2011, the number of state appellate court judges increased 69%, and the number of state trial judges increased 11%.

Part of the State Court Organization Series

Full report (PDF 1.8M)
ASCII file (23K)
Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 45K)

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Census of State Court Organization

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