Caseloads at the nation’s federal courts got a smidgen heavier in 2008. There were more sex offenders and illegal immigrants in court, but there were also fewer drugs. September 11 cases waned in New York, but asbestos surged in Pennsylvania.
The new batch of numbers comes courtesy the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which this week released its caseload statistics for fiscal year 2008. For the period ending September 30 last year, litigants filed 267,257 civil cases in U.S. District Courts, a 3.8 percent rise from FY 2007. Prosecutors filed 70,896 criminal cases, making for a 3.8 percent increase.
Appeals cases rose 5 percent to 61,104, fed by higher numbers of criminal appeals, prisoner petitions, and administrative agency reviews.
According to a statement released by the office, the number of civil cases in district courts was buoyed by more than 19,500 personal injury cases filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania over asbestos and diet drugs. On the other hand, the Southern District of New York finally got a reprieve from September 11 related cases, which helped drop personal injury federal question filings by 46 percent.
Copyright cases plummeted 27 percent.
Criminal stats got a major boost from 21, 313 immigration related filings, which represented a 27 percent spike from the year before. At 2,674, there were 9 percent more sex offense cases over FY 2007, more than half of which were for sexually explicit materials. Drug cases slipped 7 percent.
Criminal case filings have increased steadily over the past decade, climbing 18.3 percent since 1999.