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January 1, 2004, 12:01 a.m. E.S.T.
2003 YEAR-END REPORT
ON THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY
This Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary is my 18th.
I am pleased to report that the Senate confirmed 55 District Court judges during 2003, leaving only 27 vacancies out of 680 judgeships. At the same time, 13 Court of Appeals judges were confirmed, but 17 nominations remain pending.
Unfortunately, Congress failed this year to raise judicial salaries significantly. I would like to thank all of the people -- including the President and his staff, certain Members of the Senate and House (from both sides of the aisle) and their staffs, judges, staff at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the Volcker Commission, bar associations, law school deans and others outside of government -- who worked so hard during the last year to get Congress to increase the pay of judges beyond a modest cost-of-living adjustment. We came remarkably close, but will have to continue the effort in 2004.
The Fiscal Year 2004 budget process has been a difficult one, and the Judiciary's appropriation for the fiscal year that began on October 1 will not be enacted until sometime in January, 2004, at the earliest. The delay in enacting an appropriations bill has disrupted the Judiciary and forced it to operate at inadequate levels of funding under continuing resolutions.
We appreciate that, for Fiscal Year 2004, the omnibus appropriations bill currently pending includes $222 million for new courthouse construction and $248 million to repair existing courthouses. The Judiciary's funding for Fiscal Year 2004 included in the omnibus appropriations bill, however, is inadequate.
The continuing uncertainties and delays in the funding process have necessitated substantial effort on the part of judges and judiciary managers and staff to modify budget systems, develop contingency plans, cancel activities, and attempt to cut costs. Many courts may face hiring freezes, furloughs, or reductions in force. I hope that the Congress will soon pass a Fiscal Year 2004 appropriation for the Judiciary, and that in future years the Judiciary's budget is enacted prior to the beginning of the fiscal year.
In this report, I will focus on the relationship between the Judicial Branch and the Legislative Branch.
II. Relations Between the Congress and the Judiciary
During the last year, it seems that the traditional interchange between the Congress and the Judiciary broke down when Congress enacted what is known as the PROTECT Act, making some rather dramatic changes to the laws governing the federal sentencing process.
It is well settled that the definition of what acts shall be criminal is a legislative function, as is the prescription of what sentence or range of sentences shall be imposed on those found guilty of such acts. Congress indicated rather strongly, by the PROTECT Act, that it believes there have been too many downward departures from the Sentencing Guidelines. It has taken steps to reduce that number. Such a decision is for Congress, as was the enactment of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 nearly 20 years ago that laid the basis for the current regime of guideline sentencing.
But the PROTECT Act was enacted without any consideration of the views of the Judiciary. It is, of course, the prerogative of Congress to determine what to consider in enacting a statute. But it surely improves the legislative process at least to ask the Judiciary its views on such a significant piece of legislation. It is Congress's job to legislate; but each branch of our government has a unique perspective, and taking into account these diverse perspectives improves the process. That was the point of the Judicial Conference's resolution of last September concerning the PROTECT Act.
Among the provisions in the Act that many find troubling is that requiring the collection of downward departure information on an individual judge-by-judge basis. Congress may, of course, change the rules under which judges operate. And there can be no doubt that collecting information about how the Sentencing Guidelines, including downward departures, are applied in practice could aid Congress in making decisions about whether to legislate on these issues. Collecting downward departure information on a judge-by-judge basis, however, seems to me somewhat troubling. For side-by-side with the broad authority of Congress to legislate and gather information in this area is the principle that federal judges are not to be removed from office for their judicial acts. The subject matter of the questions Congress may pose about judges' decisions, and whether they target the judicial decisions of individual federal judges, could appear to be an unwarranted and ill-considered effort to intimidate individual judges in the performance of their judicial duties. In any event, the Justice Department, through the United States Attorneys' Offices, can obtain judge-specific information on an informal basis. And the Department can choose to appeal downward departures that it feels are unwarranted.
Obtaining the views of the Judiciary before the PROTECT Act was enacted would have given all members of Congress the benefit of a perspective they may not have been aware of on this aspect of the legislation and other aspects that deal with a delicate process that judges understand very well. Congress may well have enacted these provisions of the PROTECT Act in any event. But at least judges would have known that the process included a meaningful opportunity to have their views heard.
In 1939, on the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of our government, the Congress invited Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes to address a joint session of Congress. He paid tribute to the legislators before him and to those who had preceded them.
In thus providing the judicial establishment, and in equipping and sustaining it, you have made possible the effective functioning of the department of government which is designed to safeguard with judicial impartiality and independence the interests of liberty. But in the great enterprise of making democracy workable we are all partners. One member of our body politic cannot say to another -- "I have no need of thee." We work in successful cooperation by being true, each department to its own function, and all to the spirit which pervades our institutions. . . . 1
The history of co-operation between Congress and the Judiciary in drafting such laws bears out Hughes' observations. In 1891, Congress enacted the Evarts Act, which established the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals. The circumstances in the federal courts before passage of the Evarts Act would seem familiar today. The nation's growth after the Civil War, along with the expansion of federal jurisdiction, strained the appellate capacity of the system, while the trial courts struggled to deal with serious delays.
Reform was necessary, but "[s]tubborn political convictions and strong interests . . . made the process of accommodation long and precarious." 2 By the end of the 1880's, Chief Justice Morrison Waite, Justice John Harlan, and Justice Stephen Field all spoke out publicly urging Congress to take action to relieve the Supreme Court of its crushing burden, and, more broadly, to make federal courts accessible to litigants. In 1890, Congress began to take serious steps to remedy the crisis.
That year, the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by William Evarts of New York, reported out of committee a bill that created intermediate federal appellate courts, which Supreme Court Justices favored, while retaining as much of the traditional federal court structure as possible, as favored by many of the lawyers in and represented by Congress. After seven months of wrangling over the final form of the legislation, the Evarts bill was signed by the President in March 1891 -- establishing a new tier of appellate courts and making the district courts full-fledged trial courts. By working together with the Judiciary, Congress enacted a decisive remedy. During the Supreme Court's 1890 Term, 623 new cases had been docketed. During its 1892 Term, only 275 new cases were filed.
Throughout the last century, Congress took many steps to alter the federal judicial system, some at the urging of federal judges, some not, but almost always in consultation. During the 1920's, when the Supreme Court was still housed in the Capitol Building, Chief Justice Taft and other members of the Court were visible to many legislators -- too visible in the minds of some -- promoting certain ideas and resisting others.
Congress agreed with Taft to create the Conference of Senior Circuit Judges (now the Judicial Conference of the United States). It passed the Certiorari Act of 1925, sometimes called "the Judges' Bill" because members of the Court had such a strong hand in crafting it. That statute addressed the very serious caseload congestion in the Court by giving the Court more discretion as to which cases to hear. Some members of Congress were doubtful -- why shouldn't every litigant have a right to get a decision on his case from the Supreme Court? Chief Justice Taft responded that in each case, there had already been one trial and one appeal. "Two courts are enough for justice," he said. To obtain still a third hearing in the Supreme Court, there should be some question involved more important than just who wins this lawsuit.
The Certiorari Act greatly reduced the number of decisions in either state courts of last resort or federal appeals courts that parties could appeal to the Supreme Court as a matter of right. It greatly expanded the cases in which parties could seek review only by filing a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Court, leaving it for the Court to decide whether or not to grant the petition and hear the case. This authority made the single biggest difference in the Supreme Court's docket. No longer did the Court have to hear almost every case an unhappy litigant presented to it. Instead, for the most part, the Court could select only those relatively few cases involving issues important enough to require a decision from the Supreme Court.
Congress, however, hardly gave Chief Justice Taft all he sought. It rejected his proposal for "judges-at-large," whom the Chief Justice could assign to districts with serious backlogs, favoring instead what is now our system of temporary assignments. Taft's labeling his idea a "flying squadron of judges" probably did little to convince members of Congress of its merits. Similarly, Congress resisted his and others' efforts to establish uniform rules of procedure in federal courts, although that basic idea was adopted in the next decade.
Also, in the 1930's, interplay between the three branches brought about the basics of our current system of federal court governance. President Roosevelt's original idea of replacing the Justice Department as federal court administrator with a "proctor" appointed by the Supreme Court was transformed by legislative-judicial consultation into the statute creating the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which functions under the direction and supervision of the Judicial Conference. Similarly, in the 1960's, Congress, with the advice of the Judicial Conference and Chief Justice Warren, created the Federal Judicial Center to provide the Judiciary with independent research and education programs to improve judicial administration. The FJC provides both initial training and a sort of continuing education for judges and court staff. It publishes manuals, conducts research and, along with the Administrative Office, has made a real difference in improving judicial administration.
The legislation I have described above, and many other statutes -- and proposed statutes -- over the years, have not necessarily been the product solely of harmonious judicial-legislative cooperation. Members of Congress and judges bring different perspectives to the same problems, and those different perspectives can create different conclusions and disagreements over both ends and means. That is inherent in our system of government.
Congress, by design, is accountable to the people and, in a Republic, has a responsibility to hold other branches accountable as well. Members of Congress, and their constituents, may see the administration of justice and operation of the courts from different perspectives than do judges, and judges are bound to respect those perspectives. Judges, though, have a perspective on the administration of justice that is not necessarily available to members of Congress and the people they represent. Judges have, again by Constitutional design, an institutional commitment to the independent administration of justice and are able to see the consequences of judicial reform proposals that legislative sponsors may not be in a position to see. Consultation with the Judiciary will improve both the process and the product.
III. The Year in Review
The Supreme Court of the United States
This year we broke ground on our long-anticipated building modernization program. It is my hope that we remain on schedule and complete the project under budget.
The total number of case filings in the Supreme Court increased from 7,924 in the 2001 Term to 8,255 in the 2002 Term - an increase of 4 percent. Filings in the Court's in forma pauperis docket increased from 6,037 to 6,386 - a 5.8 percent rise. The Court's paid docket decreased by 17 cases, from 1,886 to 1,869 - a 1 percent decline. During the 2002 Term, 84 cases were argued and 79 were disposed of in 71 signed opinions, compared to 88 cases argued and 85 disposed of in 76 signed opinions in the 2001 Term. No cases from the 2002 Term were scheduled for re-argument in the 2003 Term. This year the Court reconvened a month earlier than usual to hear a full day's argument in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act cases. Written opinions deciding the cases were handed down in December.
The Federal Courts' Caseload
In Fiscal Year 2003, the federal courts experienced record highs in filings in most program areas, and a decline in only one. Filings in the 12 regional courts of appeals grew 6 percent from 57,555 to 60,847, a record number.3 Criminal case filings increased 5 percent to an all-time high of 70,642, surpassing the previous record reported in 1932, the year before the Prohibition Amendment was repealed.4 In contrast, civil filings declined 8 percent to 252,962.5 Filings in the U.S. bankruptcy courts increased 7 percent from 1,547,669 to 1,661,996, the second consecutive year filings have set a record.6 The number of persons on probation and supervised release went up by 2 percent to an all-time high of 110,621.7 There was a 7 percent gain in the number of defendants activated by pretrial services.8
IV. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts
The Administrative Office of the United States Courts serves as the central support agency for the administration of the federal court system. One of the biggest challenges facing the Administrative Office in 2003 was working to secure adequate funding for the Judiciary from Congress so that the federal courts can carry out their critical mission.
The Administrative Office also plays a pivotal role in identifying and promoting efficient practices, systems, and programs in the Judiciary. More than ten years ago, Director Leonidas Ralph Mecham implemented a budget decentralization program that allocates funds based on equitable formulas, and gives court managers considerable flexibility regarding the expenditure of those funds. Courts send back any funds they do not need in a given year so the funds can be used where they are most needed. This budget approach eliminates the "use it or lose it" concept that applies in many federal organizations. It has generated substantial savings, which has reduced the amount the Judiciary has had to request of Congress. Under this program, the courts now manage annually about $2 billion. This past year, contractors performed an independent assessment of the budget decentralization program and concluded that it has been enormously successful for the courts and might serve as a model for other federal agencies.
In 2003, the courts and the Administrative Office made substantial progress in implementing new electronic case management systems (known collectively as CM/ECF systems) that enable federal courts to receive and process case filings electronically. The ability to file case documents over the Internet and to access court records electronically is a significant achievement that will make it easier for attorneys and others to do business with the courts. Such a system currently is operating in two-thirds of the bankruptcy courts nationwide, and a district court system is now operating in a third of the federal districts. The design of an appellate court system is well underway. More than 10 million cases are on CM/ECF systems and over 40,000 attorneys nationwide have filed documents in federal courts over the Internet.
The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system allows users to obtain case and docket information, such as a listing of all parties and participants in a case, a chronology of case events and court opinions, from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts via the Internet. This inexpensive, fast and comprehensive system has proven to be very popular, and there are nearly 300,000 registered users. This past year, the Judicial Conference, based on a successful pilot program, endorsed a new policy permitting electronic access to criminal case files to the same extent as public access to criminal case files at the courthouse (the Conference had previously adopted policies regarding access to appellate, civil, and bankruptcy case files). Administrative Office staff currently are working with Conference committees to develop guidance for the courts to implement this policy.
Courtroom technology systems, including video evidence-presentation systems, video conferencing systems, and electronic means of taking the record (e.g., realtime reporting capabilities), have been installed nationwide. Agency staff are completing the deployment of a modern financial accounting system throughout the Judiciary. A new case-management system for probation and pretrial services offices has been installed in more than 60 districts, and a new human resources/payroll system for court employees was implemented.
Court security continues to be a high priority. With assistance from Administrative Office staff, most federal courts have developed or are in the process of developing continuity-of-operations plans. The Administrative Office is currently working with experts and court officials to design a program for conducting simulated emergency exercises that will test individual court plans. Several key enhancements were made this past year to national communications systems that provide judges and court administrators with reliable communications links with the Administrative Office, other federal agencies, and local police and fire departments.
V. The Federal Judicial Center
The Federal Judicial Center is the federal courts' statutory agency for education and research. In September, Judge Fern M. Smith stepped down after four successful years as Center director and returned to the Northern District of California. The Center's Board, which I chair, selected Judge Barbara J. Rothstein of the Western District of Washington as the Center's ninth director. She assumed her duties in September.
A few highlights of the Center's work in 2003 include:
Civil litigation. Among its efforts to help judges handle civil litigation fairly and effectively, the Center completed the fourth edition of its Manual for Complex Litigation. An impetus for this new edition was the growing number of claims for damages allegedly caused by defective products, often referred to as "mass torts." I am grateful to Judge Stanley Marcus of Miami, who chaired the Board of Editors that worked with the Center to produce this new edition.
In the same vein, the Center has added to the illustrative class action notices that it has developed at the request of the Judicial Conference's Civil Rules Advisory Committee. Class action notices advise prospective class members about the litigation and their rights in respect to it. The Committee asked the Center to develop illustrative notices to help lawyers comply with a recently imposed requirement in the Civil Rules that notices "concisely and clearly state" information about the action "in plain, easily understood language." The most recent additions include Spanish-language versions of some previously released notices. All are available on the FJC's Web site (www.fjc.gov).
Research performed for the Civil Rules Committee includes an examination of the incidence of sealed settlement agreements in federal district courts and the circumstances surrounding the sealing of settlement agreements. Center researchers are also working with the Committee to develop an amendment to clarify, given current information technology, what constitutes a "document" or "data compilation" subject to discovery under Rule 34. This is an extension of the Center's work on civil discovery of documents stored in electronic, and sometimes inaccessible, formats.
Criminal litigation. The Center this year reported its positive evaluation of the Judicial Conference pilot program referenced earlier involving public electronic access to documents in criminal cases. In September, the Conference approved continuation of the program, with Center monitoring, until the Conference approves specific guidance for system-wide implementation.
Judgeships and judges. The Center has under way intensive efforts to develop revised "case weights" for both the federal district and bankruptcy courts. The weights represent the relative burden imposed by different types of cases and are essential for the Judicial Conference's determination of the need for new judgeships in the various districts.
In a related project, the Center is assisting the Judicial Conference's Bankruptcy Committee in developing guidelines, model questionnaires, and alternative approaches that bankruptcy judges can use to obtain interim reviews from attorneys who practice before them regarding their performance in areas that the courts of appeals are to consider, pursuant to statute, in connection with the reappointment of bankruptcy judges who have served their 14-year terms.
Education for federal judges and court personnel. In 2003, the Center provided orientation and continuing education to at least 13,000 federal judge and support staff participants through 400 national, regional, and local seminars. Over 800 federal defenders, assistant defenders, and their staffs attended five Center programs. FJC programs on the Judicial Branch's television network reached an estimated 17,000 viewers. These, along with publications, Web-based programs, and video and audiocassettes, covered topics as diverse as terrorism and the law, employment discrimination, court managers' legal and financial responsibilities, and probation officer supervision of offenders with mental disorders.
Assistance to foreign judiciaries. Center experts participated in several technical assistance projects (funded by other agencies) such as a seminar on distance education for the judicial branch, sponsored by the Russian Academy of Justice in Moscow.
VI. The United States Sentencing Commission
During the last year, the United States Sentencing Commission spent much of its time responding to a number of congressional directives related to major crime legislation. The Commission unanimously approved amendments to the federal Sentencing Guidelines implementing provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act regarding terrorism offenses, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act involving white collar frauds, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act concerning election law violations, the Homeland Security Act regarding cybersecurity and attacks on critical infrastructure, and the PROTECT Act.
Along with the amendment implementing the PROTECT Act directive, the Commission submitted a report to Congress that closely examines the rate of downward departure from the guidelines. The Act directed the Commission "to ensure that the incidence of downward departures are substantially reduced" and to allow for early disposition programs as authorized by the Attorney General. The report concluded that the downward departure rate has increased from 5.8 percent in Fiscal Year 1991 to 18.1 percent in Fiscal Year 2001. Approximately 40 percent of the downward departures granted in Fiscal Year 2001 were government initiated. If all of the government initiated downward departures were excluded, the departure rate would be about 10.9 percent. In preparing the report, the Commission considered an analysis of the sentencing documents submitted to it by the courts, the case law involved, the record from a series of public hearings held by the Commission, public comments received from solicitations published by the Commission in the Federal Register, and the input of the bench and bar in several parts of the country where the Commission conducted training sessions for judges and practitioners.
Two ad hoc advisory groups, one on the organizational Sentencing Guidelines and one on Native American sentencing issues presented their final reports and recommendations to the Commission last fall. The Organizational Guidelines Group, chaired by former United States Attorney B. Todd Jones of Minnesota, recommended amending the existing organizational guidelines in order to reflect contemporary legislative, regulatory, and corporate governance requirements. On November 5, the Commission voted to publish for public comment a proposed Sentencing Guideline's amendment that incorporates the specific recommendations of the advisory group with final action anticipated by May 1, 2004.
The Advisory Group on Native American Sentencing Issues was chaired by Chief Judge Lawrence Piersol of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota and included a number of individuals who are enrolled tribal members. The advisory group was formed in response to concerns regarding the impact of the federal Sentencing Guidelines on Native Americans sentenced under the Major Crimes Act. The group's final report concludes that the sentencing impact on Native Americans resulting from federal criminal prosecution varies from offense to offense and among jurisdictions. The report and recommendations of each group can be found on the Commission's Web site (www.ussc.gov).
On September 2, 2003, the Commission adopted its policy priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2004. The priorities include responding to the PROTECT Act directive and consideration and implementation of the recommendations made by the two ad hoc advisory groups. The Commission also is continuing its work in a number of other areas, including terrorism, manslaughter and assault, sex offenses and child pornography, immigration offenses, public corruption, and criminal history, as well as its work on a study geared toward analyzing the guidelines in light of the goals of sentencing reform described in the Sentencing Reform Act and the statutory purposes of sentencing set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2).
Based upon a recent General Accounting Office report, Federal Drug Offenses: Departures from Sentencing Guidelines and Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Fiscal Years 1999-2001 (October 2003), that recommended improving document submission and tracking by the courts and the Commission, a coordinated effort is underway by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the Federal Judicial Center, and the Sentencing Commission to review relevant standardized documents and training of court personnel.
Two preexisting vacancies on the Commission were filled on June 25, 2003, when United States District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael E. Horowitz were sworn in as Commissioners. On October 31, 2003, the terms of one other Commissioner, Michael E. O'Neill, and two Vice Chairs, United States District Judge Ruben Castillo and Chief Judge William K. Sessions, III, expired. The President nominated Chief Judge Sessions for reappointment, and the nomination was approved by the full Senate on December 10, 2003. Commissioner O'Neill and Vice Chair Castillo continue to serve under the governing statute until Congress adjourns sine die or new Commissioners are appointed. I encourage the President to complete the nomination process for the remaining two positions and hope the Senate will timely act on the appointments.
I am proud of the job our courts continue to perform, year in and year out. I want to thank all of the federal judges and court staff around the country whose hard work and commitment ensure that our courts continue efficiently to dispense justice.
The year just passed stands out by reason of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq that began in March. We have all been touched by the fighting in Iraq, and having several employees of the Supreme Court called to serve in the military brought it closer to home. My condolences go out to those who have been injured, and to their families and the families of those who have been killed.
I extend to all my wish for a happy New Year.
1 Cong. Record, House, March 4, 1939 at 2250.
2 Felix Frankfurter and James M. Landis, The Business of the Supreme Court, The MacMillan Company, 1928, p. 85.
3 Administrative agency appeals surged 73 percent, bankruptcy appeals increased 7 percent, and criminal appeals increased 3 percent, which more than offset declines in original proceedings (down 7 percent) and civil appeals (down 3 percent). A continued influx of immigration administrative agency appeals related to the Board of Immigration Appeals' effort to clear its backlog of cases was responsible for the overall rise. Appeals filings have increased 26 percent since 1994.
4 Filings increased in 63 districts, and 35 districts received at least 10 percent more filings than they did in 2002. Since 1993, criminal case and defendant filings have risen in each year with the lone exception of 2001. The growth in filings this year caused criminal cases per authorized judgeship to climb from 101 in 2002 to 104 in 2003, despite the 15 additional judgeships authorized by Congress that became effective on July 15, 2003. In 2003, the overall growth in the criminal caseload stemmed primarily from immigration and firearms cases, as filings for these offenses reached their highest levels ever. Immigration filings jumped 22 percent to 15,400 cases to surpass the previous record set in 1954 when the Immigration and Naturalization Service began a repatriation project to remove illegal Mexican immigrants. Firearms filings climbed 23 percent to 9,075 cases pursuant to the expansion of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Filings of drug cases declined 1 percent nationally, but still increased in 50 districts. Fraud cases related to nationality laws increased 26 percent to 301 cases, and passport fraud cases rose 57 percent to 411 cases. Criminal filings have risen 55 percent since 1994.
5 Filings related to personal injuries dropped 33 percent, primarily as a result of decreases in personal injury/product liability cases involving asbestos (such filings had soared 98 percent the previous year). Excluding personal injury cases, civil filings otherwise were relatively stable, falling 1 percent.
Total private civil filings fell 8 percent as federal question filings related to asbestos dropped 99 percent. Overall filings involving federal question jurisdiction fell 13 percent, chiefly because personal injury cases decreased 80 percent. Much of this decline can be attributed to asbestos filings, which plummeted by nearly 24,000 cases as far fewer plaintiffs filed cases alleging injuries from asbestos.
Filings involving the United States as plaintiff fell 24 percent, largely due to a 52 percent decrease in student loan cases, which continued a trend that began in 2001 following the implementation of administrative measures by the Department of Education to improve the collection of these debts. Filings with the United States as defendant decreased 3 percent, mostly because of a 6 percent decrease in Social Security cases related to disability insurance and supplemental security income. Diversity of citizenship filings rose 8 percent, with personal injury cases accounting for the bulk of the increase. Over the last ten years, civil filings have increased 7 percent.
6 Nonbusiness filings increased 8 percent and business petitions fell 7 percent. Filings increased under all chapters except chapter 11, surging 117 percent under chapter 12, climbing 9 percent under chapter 7, and increasing 5 percent under chapter 13. Bankruptcy filings under chapter 11, which comprised less than 1 percent of all petitions filed, declined 13 percent. Bankruptcy filings have increased 34 percent during the last ten years.
7 Persons serving terms of supervised release following their release from prison totaled 75,680 on September 30, 2003, and constituted 68 percent of all persons under supervision, while the number of individuals on parole declined 8 percent to 3,129 persons and comprised only 3 percent of those under supervision. The number of persons on probation declined 2 percent to 30,602, due to a drop in both the number of persons on probation imposed by judges and by magistrate judges. Of the 110,621 persons under supervision, 44 percent had been convicted of a drug-related offense, up 1 percent from one year ago. There are now 24 percent more persons under supervision than there were in 1994.
8 The number of defendants in pretrial services system cases opened in 2003, including pretrial diversion cases, increased 7 percent to 97,317, and the number of pretrial reports prepared also rose 7 percent, while the number of defendants interviewed increased 5 percent.
In conjunction with all pretrial services cases closed during the year, a total of 221,199 pretrial hearings were held, an increase of 7 percent over the total in 2002. During the past ten years, pretrial services cases activated have increased 67 percent.