The Washington appellate courts and legislature have acted vigorously in recent years to discourage frivolous appeals, to provide mechanisms for the early disposition of appeals that are clearly without merit, and to establish procedures for swifter resolution of appeals.’ It is too early to tell if these actions have had an impact on the exploding appellate caseload in Washington, but it is clear why these steps, and perhaps other legislative and judicial actions, are necessary.
While it would perhaps be possible to deal with the significant caseload problem of the Washington appellate courts by drastically restricting access to the appellate courts or by adding new judges to the court of appeals or supreme court neither option is particularly attractive from the standpoint of the public good, nor necessary.
This article explores the dimensions of the serious growth in caseloads in the Washington appellate courts and discusses devices such as motions to dismiss appeals as frivolous, motions on the merits, and settlement conferences that may be used to expedite the appellate process. Finally, this article explores some possible approaches for dealing with the growing appellate caseload.
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