Focusing on the Italian judicial system as our case study, we use Data Envelopment Analysis to estimate technical efficiency scores and reference values for policy makers. In detail, this work presents a comparative analysis of different model definitions to identify the most appropriate one, emphasizing the key role of case matters in this production process. According to our results, the North of Italy emerges as more efficient than the other Italian macro areas, although the gap significantly decreases when case matters are considered in the output estimation. Concerning the collected reference values, which might be adopted by policy makers to reform the judicial system, we can observe significant differences able to affect the reorganization of courts. Taking the proposed case study into account, it seems that improvements in court performance could be achieved by reforming civil procedures, which are the technologies applied by judges in their production process. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Texas Law Review. Dec2020, Vol. 99 Issue 2, p417-446. 30p.
Justice administration -- United States, Nexus rules, and United States appellate courts
This Note analyzes conflicting trends in caselaw interpreting the nexus requirement for obstruction-of-justice offenses under United States v. Aguilar, 515 U.S. 593 (1995), and it argues that knowledge that one's actions are likely to affect an official proceeding remains an essential element of the nexus requirement. This Note is important because mainstream attention on obstruction of justice has put the offense in clear public view. But more importantly, diverging courts of appeals opinions have created confusion as to what obstruction of justice requires. The lingering circuit split on the role of knowledge in the nexus requirement creates inconsistent standards throughout the country. This result is particularly troubling because of the breadth of obstruction-of-justice offenses generally and 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) in particular. This Note works toward resolving conflicts in obstruction-of-justice law by carefully analyzing the Supreme Court's statements on obstruction of justice, tracing the application of those cases across the circuits, and arguing for a best interpretation of the nexus requirement that includes knowledge. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
FEATURES A FEW MONTHS BACK, I WAS PULLED OVER BY A MASSACHUSETTS state trooper on a Saturday night as I turned off the highway to get gas. When police officers pull over a car, they are supposed to allow the driver to go on their way as soon as they are able to verify that the driver can operate the vehicle (and, all too often, as soon as the police give a ticket). But police are also allowed to ask off-topic questions to probe for potential criminal activity or ask the driver to get out of their car and wait in the patrol car while they run criminal records, all in the context of a simple traffic violation. An argument can be made that, in the context of police violence and alongside the fact that police are not always required to let individuals know they have the right to refuse a search, many consent searches are not truly free of coercion and thus are not constitutional. [Extracted from the article]
Virginia Law Review. Sep2020, Vol. 106 Issue 5, p1031-1106. 76p. 1 Diagram.
Public administration, Municipal courts, Justice administration, and Civil procedure
Local courts are, by far, the most commonly used courts in our justice system. Cases filed in local courts outnumber those filed in federal court by a factor of over two hundred. Few litigants who receive localcourt judgments appeal the matter further. The justice we possess is thus largely the justice created by local courts, but they are largely absent from the law school curriculum. We know astonishingly little about them. This Article begins to remedy that absence by providing a structural account of local courts that situates them as distinct institutions within the justice system. Because local courts are influenced by all levels of government--federal, state, and local--they exhibit a radical diversity--not just between states but within them, and not just in the way that they operate but in their organizing principles. The Article links the many problems experienced by local courts--chronic underfunding and a lack of oversight cause problems that run deep-- with the state and federal structures that shape local-court function and administration. On the state side, the Article analyzes hand-coded, raw survey data from the National Center for State Courts to describe the interactions between local courts and administrative bodies within state judicial branches. Although states differ, administrative distance between state and local institutions joined with the rarity of appeals from local-court judgments makes local courts meaningfully independent from the state system. Federal law compounds this independence by sheltering local courts from external scrutiny. Judicial federalism doctrines like preclusion, abstention, and habeas corpus require federal courts to defer to the legal and factual findings of local courts. Federal enforcement doctrines like standing and immunity protect local courts from legal reform efforts. The Article then reevaluates our theories of judicial federalism in light of the diversity and problems of local courts. It argues that the values of judicial federalism invoked by both courts and scholars rely on the fiction that state courts are monoliths. In fact, the reality of state courts--including the diversity and relative obscurity of local courts-- frustrate these values. Instead, the Article argues that the more valuable conceptual function of local courts is not normative but rather descriptive: they provide us with an understanding of the justice we have, not the justice we aspire to or the justice required by law. They-- and not federal courts--are the starting points from which we should define and evaluate our system of justice. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Michigan Law Review. Oct2020, Vol. 119 Issue 1, p71-146. 76p.
Scholarships, Justice administration, Scholars, Debate, Legal self-representation, and Subpoena
This article develops an approach to discovery that is grounded inregulatory theory and administrative subpoena power. The conventional judicial and scholarly view about discovery is that it promotes fair and accurate outcomes and nudges the parties toward settlement. While commonly held, however, this belief is increasingly outdated and suffers from limitations. Among them, it has generated endless controversy about the problem of discovery costs. Indeed, a growing chorus of scholars and courts has offered an avalanche of reforms, from cost shifting and bespoke discovery contracts to outright elimination. Recently, Judge Thomas Hardiman quipped that if he had absolute power, he would abolish discovery for cases involving less than $500,000. These debates, however, are at a standstill, and existing scholarship offers incomplete treatment of discovery theory that might move debates forward. The core insight of the project is that in the private-enforcement context—where Congress deliberately employs private litigants as the main method of statutory enforcement—there is a surprisingly strong case that our current discovery system should be understood in part as serving regulatory goals analogous to administrative subpoena power. That is, discovery here can be seen as an extension of the subpoena power that agencies like the SEC, FTC, and EPA possess and is the lynchpin of a system that depends on private litigants to enforce our most important statutes. By forcing parties to disclose large amounts of information, discovery deters harm and, most importantly, shapes industry-wide practices and the primary behavior of regulated entities.This approach has a vast array of implications for the scope of discovery as well as the debate over costs. Scholars and courts should thus grapple with the consequences of what I call “regulatory discovery” for the entire legal system. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
JUSTICE administration, ELECTRONIC records, CRIMINAL procedure, CRIMINAL sentencing, and COURT records
In the United States, the public has a constitutional right to access criminal trial proceedings. In practice, it can be difficult or impossible for the public to exercise this right. We present JUSTFAIR: Judicial System Transparency through Federal Archive Inferred Records, a database of criminal sentencing decisions made in federal district courts. We have compiled this data set from public sources including the United States Sentencing Commission, the Federal Judicial Center, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, and Wikipedia. With nearly 600,000 records from the years 2001—2018, JUSTFAIR is the first large scale, free, public database that links information about defendants and their demographic characteristics with information about their federal crimes, their sentences, and, crucially, the identity of the sentencing judge. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]