Data: The most productive judges

According to TRAC:

Billy Roy Wilson of the Eastern District of Arkansas closed 3,008 civil cases in the twelve-month period ending June 30, 2014 — more than any other federal district court judge in the country — according to the latest data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.


On Wilson’s heels for the most closed cases are three other judges handling multidistrict litigation: Alabama North’s Inge P. Johnson (2,619 closures), Illinois South’s David R. Herndon (2,307) and Minnesota’s John R. Tunheim (1,878).

Excluding the judges who were assigned large numbers of cases as the result of MDL bundling, Arizona District Chief Judge Raner C. Collins closed the most cases (1,368) in the year ending June 30. Part of the reason for Collins’ productivity may be related to the type of case Collins tends to hear — 95.2 percent of the cases he closed were prisoner petitions. That is a significantly higher mix than the average judge in his district (69.3%) and in the country, for whom about a quarter (23.4%) of closed cases comprise prisoner petitions.


Collins said that the bulk of the cases were filed by a single prisoner in Arizona:

“My closings look more impressive than they should as most of them come from one prisoner who filed more than 2,000 cases by himself,” Collins said. “I had an excellent pro se law clerk who helped process those cases. So regardless of the numbers, I do not believe I am the hardest working judge in the country. I am sure I am not.”

CFA: The American Political Science Association Pracademic Fellowship

The American Political Science Association announces the inauguration of a new Pracademic Fellowship for faculty members for the academic year 2015-16.

About the program

Over the past several decades, there have been limited opportunities for faculty members in public management, public policy, and related fields to move between the academy and the world of practitioners. This program is designed to create opportunities for newer faculty members to recreate the historical experience of joining theory and practice. Read more about the Pracademic Fellowship here.

The inaugural year of the program will place selected individuals in federal government agencies in the Washington, DC area. They would be assigned to work closely with a decision-maker involved in a program of their interest to get a first-hand vantage point of a decision making environment.

The inaugural fellows will be closely involved in crafting subsequent fellowships through regular feedback with APSA on their experiences. As such, inaugural fellows will have the opportunity to grow their own experience and help shape the direction of the program for future participants.

About the 2015-2016 Fellowship

The fellowship will be available for either one semester or a full year. Faculty members from a range of departments and fields are eligible for the program, for example faculty in political science departments, public administration, public management, public policy, federalism/IGR and related fields. Participants in the program are expected to be midcareer, likely at the associate professor level. Fellowship funding is expected to come from a variety of sources — sponsoring agencies, an APSA program, and, potentially, sending institutions. Specific arrangements will be tailored to the individual candidates.

Applications for the program are due December l5 and should include the following:

· A curriculum vitae
· A two page statement that includes information about how this experience would contribute to an individual’s teaching and research.
· An explanation of the relationship between the individual’s research and the proposed experience.
· Any initial conversations with a host organization or host individual.

Please email application packages to For more information on the program or for any enquiries, please contact Betsy Super at

Data: Trademark Lawsuits

New from TRAC:

The latest available data from the federal courts show that during September 2014 the government reported 705 new Trademark civil filings. Those cases had the nature of suit classified by the court system under “Property Rights” along with Patent and Copyright cases. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 145% over the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 288.


Most of this increase appears to be due to retired football players who brought suit against the National Football League (NFL), alleging that the NFL used their likenesses to generate income without their permission or compensation. Over 450 such cases were filed in district court in Minnesota in September, more than all trademark lawsuits in any month in the last five years.



October 16, 2014

Dear Colleague,

In light of the recent emergence of the lethal Ebola virus in the US, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical care research that can be used immediately to better understand how to model and understand the spread of Ebola, educate about prophylactic behaviors, and encourage the development of products, processes, and learning that can address this global challenge.

I invite researchers to use the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism, which allows NSF to receive and review proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment, as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events.

Complete guidance on submitting a RAPID proposal may be found here:


Dr. France A. Córdova

CFP: Advancing the Field(s) of Nonprofit Management: New Structures, New Solutions


Junior faculty members with a promising research agenda in nonprofit management are invited to attend a conference exploring how nonprofit organizations are facing new challenges and taking on new structures in the wake of the Great Recession.

Advancing the Field(s) of Nonprofit Management: New Structures, New Solutions is hosted by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, April 16-18, 2015. The conference will bring many of the nation’s pre-eminent senior nonprofit management scholars together with promising junior faculty to foster understanding of how cross-sector relations vary across fields of activity or social settings, and how lessons from one field apply to others.

Proposals are due on December 1, 2014. Visit the call for papers website for more details and to submit a proposal (

Read more

Data: Workloads for Judges Vary Widely

From TRAC:

Civil and criminal filings in the federal district courts are substantially higher than they were 20 years ago — rising 28 percent since FY 1993.

But the number of federal judges provided by Congress to handle these filings has barely changed, growing by only 4 percent in the same two-decade period.

As a consequence, the time required for handling both civil and criminal cases has increased.

Since the growth in incoming federal matters varies greatly in different parts of the country, the resulting workloads for the judges also vary widely. In some districts, for example, the per-judge workload is now four times heavier than the average for the nation.

These findings by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University are based on an extensive study of information drawn from two major sources. One is the complex statistical information developed over the years by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The second is TRAC’s first-ever systematic analysis of hundreds of thousands of case-by-case court and administrative records from every federal judicial district in the nation.

Data: Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons, 2000-2012

October 9, 2014
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Statistical Tables

Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons, 2000-2012 – Statistical Tables is now available at
Presents national and state-level data on the number of inmate deaths that occurred in local jails and state prisons, the distribution of deaths across jails, and the aggregate count of deaths in federal prisons.

Data: BJS Data Analysis Tools

October 7, 2014
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Data analysis tools

Today, BJS updated three dynamic online tools:

NCVS Victimization Analysis Tool (NVAT) provides data from 1993 to 2013. You can examine data on both violent and property victimization by selected victim, household, and incident characteristics.

Arrest Data Analysis Tool provides data from 1980 to 2012. You can view national arrest estimates, customized either by age and sex or by age group and race, for many different offenses. This tool also enables you to view local arrests.

Federal Criminal Case Processing Statistics provides data from 1998 to 2012. You can generate data on federal law enforcement, prosecution, courts, and incarceration, or search by title and section of the U.S. Criminal Code.

Data: Lower Sentences for DOJ Convictions

From TRAC:

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2014 the government reported 13,265 new convictions. On these, only 3,706 of the defendants — 28 percent, or just over one in four — were reported to have received prison sentences of one year or more. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), the number of defendants receiving prison sentences of at least one year is down 1 percent over the previous month and down 10.4 percent from five years ago.

On the other hand, the total number of criminal convictions has been nearly constant, falling by only 1.0 percent in the same five year period.

The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.

“A Conceptual Framework for Analysis of Goal Ambiguity in Public Organizations”

Recommended. New from Hal Rainey and Chan Su Jung, now available on JPART Advance Access. The abstract:

Prominent authors have claimed that government organizations have high levels of goal ambiguity, but these claims have needed clarification and verification. We discuss the complexities of organizational goals and their analysis, and review many authors’ observations about public agencies’ goal ambiguity and its good and bad effects. Then, we propose a conceptual framework to organize and make explicit the observations, as a set of interrelated propositions about relations among concepts that influence organizational goal ambiguity and that are influenced by it. Then, to verify or falsify these propositions, one needs to define and measure organizational goal ambiguity and other concepts in the framework. We describe research that has done so and that supports propositions in the framework, with emphasis on research that has analyzed organizational goal ambiguity using measures of three dimensions of goal ambiguity. We describe research using these dimensions, as well as other studies and translate these findings into additional propositions that extend the conceptual framework.