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STATE SUPERIOR COURT FILINGS UP 3 PERCENT SACRAMENTO � State superior court filings rose 3 percent during fiscal year 2003-2004, while Supreme Court filings decreased 3 percent, according to information released by the California Judicial Council on Tuesday. During the same time, appellate court filings rose by 4 percent � the highest hike in three years. The increase in superior court filings � to more than 8.8 million � encompasses a 4 percent year-over-year decline in civil case filings and a 5 percent increase in criminal case filings. “I think that filings are up both as a result of population changes � that affects them,” said William Vickrey, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. “And I suspect we are seeing some change as a result of trying to achieve improved access to the courts for those who can’t afford counsel � with the self-help desk and so forth.” Court statistics are compiled and released under Article VI of the California Constitution. The figures are derived from monthly reports made to the AOC by the state’s trial courts. &# 151 Jill Duman

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