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Effective Case Monitoring and Timely Dispositions: The Experience of One California Court

NCJ Number
Judicature Volume: 76 Issue: 5 Dated: (February-March 1993) Pages: 254-257
M L Goodman
Date Published
4 pages
In January 1991, the Orange County (California) Superior Court implemented a case monitoring system known as Differential Case Management (DCM), which replaced the Expedited Trial Program (XTP). A primary goal for both programs was to meet the time standards for case disposition set by the American Bar Association: 90 percent of general civil cases within 12 months of filing, 98 percent within 18 months, and 100 percent within 24 months.
Disposition trends were measured for all DCM cases filed in January 1991, based on data collected a year later. The DCM trends were compared with those for cases filed under XTP during January of 1988, 1989, and 1990. The disposition results showed a disparity between the two systems, with the DCM system rating far lower than that of the XTP. One explanation for the difference was the inclusion of personal injury cases in the new case management program. DCM also suffered from an inadequate case tracking system, while in XTP, effective case monitoring was the rule, rather than the exception. The results showed that the evaluation system used in DCM, like the XTP 90-day conference, was the court's most powerful management tool in early case disposition. This author argues that the primary obstacle to DCM's success was legislation that mandated inefficient case management techniques. 5 figures