The Aging Case Index relates to the court's expeditious and timely
processing of cases. This measure is an adaptation of the more traditional
"backlog" measure. The traditional backlog measure is simply the number of
"old" cases that are still pending, as a percent of all pending cases. For
example, if a guideline sets a goal for 100% of the cases to be disposed
within 365 days, but out of 1,000 total pending cases, 50 have been pending
for over 365 days, the Backlog measure would be 5% (50/1000). This traditional
measure is available by clicking on "statistical data" on the bottom of each screen.
The Aging Case Index used in the CPMS is the number of "old" cases that are
still pending, as a percent of "caseload," where "caseload" for this purpose
is defined as the number of pending cases plus the number of disposed cases
in the past year. For example, if a guideline sets a goal for 100% of the
cases to be disposed within 365 days, but out of 1,000 total pending cases,
50 have been pending for over 365 days, and during the past year the court
disposed of 500 cases, the Aging Case Index would be 3% -- 50/(1000+500).
(This adaptation in effect adds the number of disposed cases to the
denominator of the traditional backlog measure. This was adopted because,
arithmetically, the traditional backlog measure can come out worse for a
court that disposed of many cases, compared to a court that disposed of few
cases, even if each court has the same number of "old" pending cases. It was
decided that no measure should offer a disincentive to dispose of cases; the
revised Aging case Index was adopted experimentally. For questions or comments,
contact the AOC's Research and Planning Division
The specific definition of an "old" case is the goal set by the guidelines
for 100% of the cases to be disposed. The time is different for each case
type, because different case types need different amounts of time. For
example, it takes more time to dispose of the average felony than the average
traffic case. For a list of specific
time guidelines click here.
As explained for the on-time processing measure, a 0% Backlog or Aging Case
Index is not realistic as a practical matter or a fair measure of justice
considering the unusual cases that need more time. There will always be
some cases that take longer to dispose of than the time in the guidelines.
However, if over time this measure is consistently high, and after implementing
administrative and other improvements in case processing consistent with the
full and fair administration of justice (so that litigants are afforded their
full and fair day in court), the need for more court resources is indicated.