Municipal Court Caseloads
Data regarding municipal court caseloads were obtained from the Administrative Office of the Court in each state, as well as other sources. Details are contained in the notes to the Appendix in Criminal Municipal Courts (Table 2, available below).
Municipal Court Characteristics
Municipal courts in each state have their own set of characteristics: they may or may not require judges to be attorneys, for example, or they may or may not be part of a unified state judicial system. Comprehensive data regarding court characteristics for each state can be found in the Appendix to Criminal Municipal Courts (Table 1, available below).
Municipal Court Collections
Municipal courts collect billions of dollars in fines and fees, but data are difficult to obtain. Criminal Municipal Courts (Table 3, available below) contains data regarding $1.9 billion in direct court collections in 10 states.
Fines and Forfeits
The U.S. Census collects data on city revenues derived from criminal case fines and forfeits, sometimes referred to as fines and fees, through its Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances. City fine-and-forfeit revenues are not identical to city court collections since cities may share their revenue with the state and/or receive revenue from additional non-court sources, but the data nevertheless provides a useful metric. Using 2018 census data, the Harvard Law School library extracted spreadsheets of state-wide city fine-and-forfeit revenue totals for the thirty states that have municipal courts: those spreadsheets can be accessed below. You can also access the census data directly, or explore the Government Finance Data website at Willamette University which collects and shares this type of data.