U.S. District Courts

Authored by: Christina L. Boyd , Ethan D. Boldt

Routledge Handbook of Judicial Behavior

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138913356
eBook ISBN: 9781315691527
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315691527.ch15

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Abstract

U.S. district courts are the courts of first instance for most cases in the federal court system and hear over 350,000 cases per year. This chapter provides an overview of the state of research on these essential courts. This includes an examination of the relevant research on the decision to file (or not) district court cases and on compromise outcomes, like settlement and plea bargaining. It also covers influential theories and findings regarding district court judging, such as the effects of judicial preferences and the judicial hierarchy on district judge behavior and the importance of examining all types of district court judicial decisions, including those that do not lead to published opinions. The chapter concludes by looking to the future in the study of district courts, highlighting new data collection efforts and modeling techniques to better capture the dynamics of litigation and the interactions of judges, litigants, and lawyers.

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