WSJ Report Outlines Delays For Federal Civil Court Dockets

Detailing the case of a man awaiting his day in court since 2007, the Wall Street Journal notes that the example is only one of “… more than 330,000 such cases” and that “… thee number of cases awaiting resolution for three years or more exceeded 30,000 for the fifth time in the past decade.”

The report gives reasons, and makes the case that the civil justice system slows when the criminal justice system gets busy: “… the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial in civil cases. But the Sixth Amendment gives people in criminal cases the right to a “speedy” trial. The upshot: Criminal cases often displace and delay civil disputes, creating a backlog.”

It also says that “… federal court for California’s Eastern District [where the example case is located] has a particularly deep backlog. The number of cases filed per judge, 974 last year, is almost twice the national average. More than 14% of civil cases in that district have been pending for three years or more.” The report outlines the political challenges to fixing the tardy system. Read the WSJ story here: In Federal Courts, the Civil Cases Pile Up