Cal. SC caseloads grow as Bar dumps inactives, court report says

Legal News Line Sep. 11, 2007, 8:59am

Chief Justice Ronald M. George

SACRAMENTO -- The California Supreme Court's workload is increasing at a rate that mirrors similar growth in caseloads for the overall California court system. In an announcement Friday, the state's Supreme Court reported that its opinions filed had risen almost eight percent to 111 for the 12 months through Aug. 31. Filings in original proceedings "increased substantially" by about 16 percent to over 3,400, the release stated. Total filings and dispositions across California's court system for the previous year (2005-2006) rose 11 percent to 19,139, LNL reported early July. Over the same period California's total population grew by just 1.3 percent. However, the Supreme Court also disposed of nearly 900 fewer petitions and disciplinary actions last year over 2005-06. That's partly due to a significant increase in resignations from the California State Bar, yesterday's announcement stated. Departure numbers from the Bar, noted in 2007 Court Statistics Report, trebled in 05-06 after fees were increased for inactive members and lowered for active ones. Resignations have since fallen by 25 percent in the current (06-07) reporting year, the SC noted. Growth in the Golden State's caseloads reflect the state's regionalized population growth, LNL reported recently. Supreme Court Chief Ronald M. George recently dispatched 27 extra judges to the rapidly expanding "Inland Empire" region east of Los Angeles because of a backlog of cases there. Of the Supreme Court's 111 opinions filed, 55 were civil cases and 33 non-capital criminal. Civil petitions for the year fell slightly to about 1,400, consistent with a 10-year trend, the SC reported.

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