release by the State Court Administrator’s Office early this year showing the
number of jury trials in the state from 1994-2013 demonstrates a continuing
decline in these trials. Another release from the court administrator’s office
provides a look at 2013 jury trials by county.
that resulted in a jury verdict entered totaled 799 for 2013. That compares
with 842 the previous year, and 848 the year before that.
figures are significantly lower than the mid-1990s when total jury trials were
in the 1,400s. A 2009 change in the definition of "jury trial” from "any
disposed case in which a jury had been selected (even if the case settled or a
defendant pleaded guilty before a witness was sworn in)” to "only cases with a
jury verdict entered” may account for some of the decline.
table and graph demonstrating the overall trend, plus a breakdown of cases by
civil, indictable criminal and simple misdemeanor can be found here.
breakdown of jury trials by county for 2013, which can be found by clicking on
this link, shows that 14
counties did not have any jury trials during the year. Polk County had the most
with 90 criminal and 48 civil jury trials. Black Hawk County was second with 49
and three, and Scott County was third with 61 and 12, respectively.