In the 2004 report of the Judicial Conference of Virginia, the following was written about the proposal for a third judge for the 28th Circuit:
Caseload data for 2003 show that 5,107 cases were commenced in the Twenty-eighth Circuit during the year, an increase of 24.3% or 998 cases from 2002 levels. This growth was due to a rise of 0.4% in civil cases and an increase of 37.8% in criminal cases. The total number of cases concluded rose 16.7% during the year, from 3,636 in 2002 to 4,245 in 2003. The number of juries impaneled fell 42.9% from 35 in 2002 to 20 last year. The circuit judges averaged 11 jury trial days each during the year while the number of criminal defendants increased by 48 (or 6.2%) from 778 to 826. The two judges in the Twenty-eighth Circuit averaged 2,554 commenced cases each in 2003, ranking 3rd among the 31 circuits. The Twenty-eighth averaged 2,123 concluded cases per judge, 8th highest in the state in 2003. The number of commenced cases per judge was 723 above the state average of 1,831 and 560 above the rural average of 1,994. The number of concluded cases per judge (2,123) was 361 above the state average (1,761) and 205 above the rural average (1,918).
At the end of 2003, pending cases in the Twenty-eighth totaled 4,510, an increase of 29.0% over 2002 levels. The number of pending cases per judge stood at 2,255, 4th in the state among the circuits.
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Of the 1,352 civil cases concluded in 2003, 28.4% were concluded prior to trial by settlement or voluntary dismissal. Bench trials accounted for 23.4% of concluded civil cases while 0.7% were concluded by a jury trial. Statewide, 30.0% of civil cases settled prior to trial in 2003, 20.1% were concluded by bench trial and 0.9% ended by a trial by jury.
Approximately 66.4% of civil cases concluded reached termination with 12 months of filing. Statewide, 71.3% of civil cases ended within that time frame. About 77.2% reached conclusion within two years while 9.3% actually took five years or longer. The Judicial Council's voluntary case processing time guidelines establish a goal of concluding 90% of civil cases within one year and 100% within two years.
The two judges in the Twenty-eighth Circuit averaged 746 civil cases each in 2003, ranking 8th among the 31 circuits. The state average for the year totaled 696 civil cases per judge, and the average for judges in rural circuits was 658 civil cases per judge.
The judges of the Twenty-eighth Circuit averaged 1,808 criminal cases each in 2003, 4th among the 31 circuits. This was 673 above the average for judges statewide (1,135) and 471 above the average for judges in rural
circuits (1,337 criminal cases each).
Based on historical data, the number of cases commenced in the Twenty-eighth Circuit is forecast to increase 4.9%, from 5,107 cases in 2003 to 5,356 in 2004. The number of cases concluded is expected to rise 4.2%, from 4,245 to 4,424. At the forecast caseload levels for 2004, the two judges in the Twenty-eighth Circuit would each average 2,678 commenced cases and 2,212 concluded cases. This number of commenced cases per judge would be 871 cases above the projected state average for 2004 of 1,807 cases per judge. The number of concluded cases per judge would be 478 cases above the projected state average of 1,734 cases per judge. If the additional judgeship is granted, the number of commenced cases per judge for the three judges would fall to 1,785, 22 cases below the projected state average of 1,807 cases per judge and 209 less than the 2003 average for rural circuits of 1,994. The number of concluded cases per judge would total 1,475, 259 less than the forecast average for judges statewide (1,734) and 443 fewer than the 2003 average for rural circuits (1,918 cases per judge).