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Who Pays for Justice? Perspectives on State Court System Financing and Governance

Who Pays for Justice? Perspectives on State Court System Financing and Governance

Geoffrey McGovern
Michael D. Greenberg
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
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  • Book Info
    Who Pays for Justice? Perspectives on State Court System Financing and Governance
    Book Description:

    RAND Corporation researchers surveyed experts from five states that use a variety of approaches to funding state court systems to assess financing, accounting, and governance issues under various systems.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8626-6
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figure
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  9. 1. Introduction: Why Study State Judicial Funding?
    (pp. 1-8)

    As a co-equal branch of state government, the state judiciary is charged with dispensing equal justice and responding to the plethora of controversies that arise on a daily basis.¹ State courts, including civil and criminal trial and appellate courts, as well as traffic, family, and small claims courts, have the responsibility for hearing the vast majority of U.S. legal cases. The state courts are at the front lines in the administration of justice. Those who avail themselves of the legal system are far more likely to find themselves in state courts than in the federal counterparts.

    As we addressed in...

  10. 2. State Court System Financing and Accounting Show Significant Variations
    (pp. 9-26)

    State court system financingrefers to the process by which state governments raise and commit money to pay for the function of their judicial branches. Financing fundamentally involves money. Recent media coverage and publicity have spotlighted austerity measures undertaken by some state courts and have drawn attention both to the adequacy of resourcing for the judicial branch and to a putative shortfall in the available funding in some jurisdictions. Financing for the state courts, however, invites a series of more-foundational questions about institutional governance and money. Who pays for the activity and infrastructure of the state courts? How is the...

  11. 3. State Court Governance: Autonomy and Flexibility Can Mitigate the Effects of Fiscal Crises
    (pp. 27-36)

    Governance—the structural arrangement that determines how institutions function, assign responsibilities, distribute power, and establish how decisions are made—is as important a component to an understanding of variation across state court systems as the funding and accounting dimension described in the previous chapter. More formally defined, governance is ʺthe means by which an activity or ensemble of activities is controlled or directed, such that it delivers an acceptable range of outcomes according to some established social standardʺ (Hirst, 2000, p. 24). For state judicial systems, this suggests that we should be keen to understand the arrangement and mechanisms for...

  12. 4. Conclusions and Going Forward
    (pp. 37-42)

    In 2012, we published a report that investigated broad categories of the civil justice system that plausibly might have experienced detrimental effects from the financial crisis that began in 2008 (Greenberg and McGovern, 2012). One of our conclusions from the 2012 study was that the financing of state court systems was a topic worthy of further research. In particular, we suggested that the effects of funding austerity on the state judiciaries was a particularly high-priority topic because of widespread anecdotal accounts of court closures, furloughs, vacancies, and reductions in the type of services offered by many state courthouses. These sorts...

  13. Appendix: Interview Protocol
    (pp. 43-44)
  14. References
    (pp. 45-50)