The Influence of Structure on Caseload Composition is Clear

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Caseload composition describes a caseload in terms of its case categories. Displayed are the percentages of total incoming caseloads comprising the five major categories of Civil, Domestic Relations, Criminal, Juvenile, and Traffic/Violations cases for single-tiered courts, general jurisdiction courts, limited jurisdiction courts, and the combined total. Whether a state has a single- or two-tiered system clearly influences composition, as seen in the differences exhibited between single-tiered and general jurisdiction courts. While both are courts of general jurisdiction, Traffic/Violations cases are processed in the same court as all other cases in a single-tiered system, whereas most two-tiered systems consign Traffic/Violations cases to limited jurisdiction courts. As a result, general jurisdiction caseloads in two-tiered systems typically consist of higher percentages of the four remaining categories.