The 10 Most Effective County Court Systems In California
Los Angeles County is the largest county in both California, and the United States, and its caseload reflect this. LAC had the most cases filed statewide, at 1,601,813 individual filings for the 2015/16 fiscal year, making up just over a quarter of California’s statewide filings. 2,745 of these cases involved a jury, while 83,033 were simpler court trials. 47,967 of these cases are minor offenses such as misdemeanors and infractions, while 1,652 felonies were tried. Los Angeles cleared more cases than it took on in the 15/16 fiscal year, with 1,721,054 dispositions filed. It managed to do this with 585 judges or those in judicial positions, meaning that each official in a judicial position took on 2,737 fillings and 2,981 dispositions. Still, despite its power and resources, LAC as not the most effective county in California for caseload processing.
Courts are ranked by the state on how many cases were filed, or started, and how many cases were disposed, or finalized. While some county court systems fall under the same ranking for both, many place differently for these two categories. Dispositions are often higher than filings, owing to the fact that cases filed in the previous fiscal year were finalized in the current fiscal year. This can also be attributed to a steady decline in caseloads in California which has seen fewer and fewer case submissions over the last decade. These are the counties that handle their caseloads with the fewest officials in a judicial position.
Shasta County received 48,092 filings, for an average of 4,008 for each of their 13 officials in judicial positions or equivalent. They also received 41,628 dispositions, averaging 3,211 per official. Of these cases,62 were felony hearings, while 1,247 were misdemeanor or infraction hearings.
Meanwhile, Mono County held 8,384 filings and 8,251 dispositions, averaging 3,645 filings and 3,369 dispositions for each of their 2.3 officials. These cases represent 48 felony hearings and 455 misdemeanor and infraction hearings.
Tehama ranked eighth for for filings per individual judicial positions, with 17,654 filings, averaging 4,077 for each of their 4.9 officials or official equivalents. They also oversaw 8,808 dispositions, averaging 1,807 per official. For both jury and court cases, Tehama heard 1 felony case, and 499 misdemeanor and infraction cases.
San Mateo oversaw 139,279 filings and 129,044 dispositions, averaging 4,221 filings and 3,871 dispositions for each of their 33 judicial position officials. Included in those cases were 250 felony hearings and 11,079 misdemeanor and infractions hearings for jury and court cases.
Sonoma, with a population of 502,146, received 77,561 filings and 90,809 dispositions, averaging 3,372 filings, and 3,685 dispositions per each of their 23 judicial officials. These cases represent at least 33 felony hearings and 23,673 misdemeanor and infractions hearings for jury and court cases.
Colusa County received 9,733 filings, averaging 4,232 filings per their 2.3 judicial positions, and 7,080 dispositions, averaging 3,005 per judicial position. Of those cases, 4 were felony hearings and 158 were misdemeanor hearings for both court and jury courts.
Glenn County saw 9,195 filings for their 2.3 judicial positions, averaging 3,998 per position. They also received 9,300 dispositions, averaging 3,913 per judicial position. For both court and jury courts, these cases represent at least 6 felony hearings, and 2,394 misdemeanor and infraction hearings.
Kern County oversaw 199,097 filings, measuring out to an average of 4,630 filings for each of their 43 judicial officials. Their 169,332 processed dispositions factors out to an average of 3,869 dispositions for each official. This includes 220 felony cases, and 3,680 misdemeanor and infraction cases for both court trials and jury trials.
Del Norte County processed 8,332 filings, averaging 2,976 for each of their 3 judicial authorities, and 13,031 dispositions, averaging 4,048 for each judicial official. These cases represent 9 felony hearings and 1,661 misdemeanor and infraction hearings.
Next is Inyo County, which ranked third for fillings overseen by individual judicial officials. Ventura County, which holds third rank for dispositions filed by judicial officials also ranked fourth for filings.
Inyo County processed 11,720 filings with just 2.3 judicial positions, meaning judges and their associates oversaw 5,096 filings individually. They oversaw 10,094 dispositions, with 3,475 cases per judicial official, placing them at ninth. Those cases represent 6 felonies and 1,493 misdemeanors in front of both jury and court trials.
Ventura County ranked fourth for overall filings, with 154,529 filings distributed amongst just 33 judicial officials, making for an average of 4,683 filings per official. They also oversaw 152,800 dispositions, meaning officials oversaw 4,379 case finalizations. Of those cases 117 were felonies and 1,458 were misdemeanors.
Following Imperial County is the county of Riverside, with a population of 2.4 million. Riverside courts received 426,138 filings and 449,258 dispositions (both eight percent of the state total) for a judicial official population of just 76, meaning each official took on an average 5,607 filings and 5,033 dispositions. Those cases represented 506 felonies and 37,008 misdemeanor and infractions between both jury trials and court trials.
The best performing court system in California is Imperial County, which received a total caseload of 67,630 filings and 71,764 dispositions for a population of only 174,528, meaning that Imperial County represented just over one percent of California’s statewide filings and dispositions. Each official in a judicial position or equivalent took on an average of 5,985 filings and 6,082 dispositions; more than double of what their colleagues in LAC produced. Of those cases, 9,780 were misdemeanor trials, while only 22 felonies were tried in both court trials and jury trials.