Federal Court Appeals Were Slightly Down According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Court’s 2011 Judicial Business Report
The number of Federal court appeals was slightly down in 2011. The summary report concerning the number of Federal court appeals from the Administrative Office of U.S. courts showed that Federal court appeals in the regional courts of appeals fell 1.5 percent to 55,126. Original proceedings and bankruptcy appeals rose, but criminal, civil, and administrative agency appeals decreased. The number of appeals terminated declined 4 percent to 57,357. Pending appeals dropped 5 percent to 43,633. The median time from filing a notice of appeal or docket date to final disposition fell from 11.5 months to 11 months, according to a new method of making this calculation that includes all types of appeals; before 2011, the calculation included only appeals of cases decided by the U.S. district courts.
Seventy-eight percent of Federal court appeals were appeals of decisions by the district courts, 14 percent were appeals of decisions by administrative agencies, 7 percent were original proceedings, and 1 percent were appeals of bankruptcy case decisions. These percentages remained unchanged from 2010. Appeals arising from district courts fell 2 percent to 42,931. Criminal appeals declined 5 percent to 12,198, primarily because appeals related to non-marijuana drugs decreased as fewer prisoners sentenced for crack cocaine offenses sought reductions of their sentences. Appeals involving property crimes, firearms and explosives, sex offenses, immigration, and general offenses also declined.
Federal court appeals involving violent crimes, justice system offenses (i.e., crimes related to judicial proceedings, such as obstruction of justice and failure to appear), and regulatory offenses rose. Civil appeals remained relatively stable, falling by 207 to 30,733. Appeals in civil cases in which the United States was a party and in private cases declined, but appeals involving diversity of citizenship increased. Prisoner petitions, which equaled 51 percent of all civil appeals, dropped 1 percent to 15,678. 2011 Judicial Business Report – Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.