May 26, 2022

New Data Released: 2015 Reports on U.S. Federal Courts Caseload and AO Activities

From the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts:

Reports on the 2015 caseload of the federal courts and the activities of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts were released today.

The 2015 Judicial Business of the United States Courts shows that caseloads in the courts of appeals, district, and bankruptcy courts decreased; the number increased for persons under post-conviction supervision and serving terms of supervised release.

A series of statistical tables detail federal cases filed by circuit, district, offense or nature of suit, commenced, terminated and pending, among other data reports. A multi-year comparison of judicial caseload indicators is included.

The Annual Report of the Director, also released today, highlights the 2015 activities and programs of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Caseload Highlights

U.S. Courts of Appeals

  • In the regional courts of appeals, filings dropped 4 percent to 52,698.
  • Appeals involving pro se litigants, which amounted to 51 percent of filings, fell 4 percent.
  • Civil appeals decreased 7 percent.
  • Criminal appeals increased 3 percent.
  • Appeals of administrative agency decisions grew 3 percent

U.S. District Courts

  • Combined filings for civil cases and criminal defendants in the district courts dropped 5 percent to 359,105.

Civil Filings

  • Civil case filings fell 6 percent to 279,036.
  • Cases involving diversity of citizenship declined 14 percent.
  • Federal question cases rose 1 percent.
  • Filings with the United States as defendant dropped 7 percent.
  • Filings with the United States as plaintiff decreased 10 percent.

Criminal Filings

  • Filings for criminal defendants (including those transferred from other districts) remained relatively stable, dropping 1 percent to 80,069.
  • Defendants prosecuted for immigration violations fell 5 percent nationwide and 3 percent in the southwestern border districts, which accounted for 79 percent of total immigration defendant filings.
  • Defendants charged with property offenses (including fraud) declined 6 percent.
  • Drug crime defendants grew 2 percent and accounted for 32 percent of criminal filings.

U.S. Bankruptcy Courts

  • Bankruptcy petition filings dropped 11 percent to 860,182.
  • Consumer (i.e., largely nonbusiness) petitions decreased 11 percent, and business petitions declined 12 percent.
  • Filings fell 14 percent under chapter 7, 8 percent under chapter 11, and 3 percent under chapter 13.
  • Fewer petitions were filed in 89 of the 90 bankruptcy courts.

Federal Probation and Pretrial Services System

  • The total of 135,468 persons under post-conviction supervision on September 30, 2015, was 2 percent greater than the total one year earlier.
  • Persons serving terms of supervised release on that date after leaving correctional institutions increased 3 percent to 114,961 and accounted for 85 percent of all persons under supervision.
  • Cases opened in the pretrial services system this year, including pretrial diversion cases, declined 5 percent to 95,013.
About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.