The Oregon Judicial Department has changed much since the early days of statehood, when it consisted of four circuit court judges who doubled as Supreme Court justices.
As of the end of 2007, the Judicial Department consisted of seven Supreme Court justices, 10 Court of Appeals judges, one Tax Court judge and three Tax Court magistrates, and 175 circuit court judges, with 1911 full-time employees (or equivalent).1 The circuit courts, the workhorses of the Department, had 605,753 cases filed, while they closed 605,185 cases.2
The budget for the Oregon Judicial Department in the 2007-2009 biennium was $359.4 million. That is less than 1% of the total statewide budget for the same period ($48 billion).3
The future, particularly the development of technology, promises more change. The Judicial Department is currently implementing a technological initiative known as Oregon eCourt. Oregon eCourt will use the Internet to make the courts available around the clock -- allowing parties to file documents, pay fees and fines, and access public records electronically. Phase 1, now nearing completion, will provide eCourt for the appellate courts. Phase 2, scheduled to begin in April of 2009, will implement eCourt in five pilot counties.4
Oregon has changed much since it first became a state in 1859, and the shape of the Oregon Judicial Department has changed with it. But one thing will not change -- the commitment of the Oregon Judicial Department to providing timely, cost-effective, impartial justice for and on behalf of the people of Oregon.