The Rhode Island Court System saw a decline in both civil and criminal cases in 2009 as compared to 2008. The number of civil jury verdicts was down as was the number of Superior Court felony filings. To no surprise, the Worker’s Compensation Court also saw a heavy decrease in activity. Given that 10-15% of the State is unemployed, one would expect to see a drop in work-related injuries.
Unfortunately, there was an increase in domestic abuse filings. This may be attributed to our poor economy and high level of unemployment. The current atmosphere creates high level of family tension and drives some people to drink heavily which can lead to an increase in domestic abuse. The Supreme Court also saw an increase in the number of appeals filed.
Some numbers from the annual report are available here.
The numbers are not greatly different and the decline can be attributed, most likely, to the usual ebb and flow that occurs year to year. As a matter of fact, there have already been a great number of civil jury verdicts in the first half of this year as compared to 2009.