As increasing appellate caseloads strain judicial and support resources available to appellate courts, the incentive for streamlining and expediting the appellate process to accommodate the needs of courts, counsel and litigants also increases. Traditional means for increasing work output, such as addition of judgeships and legal and clerical support staff, are often compromised by general funding problems facing many state jurisdictions, as well as the federal government. As a consequence, alternative means for expediting are sought, including reduction of judicial time involved for review of individual cases, restriction of oral argument and limitations on discretionary review. At the same time, fiscal pressures have focused attention on reduction of costs of reproduction of the record of trial as a means of recovering and rediverting financial resources toward the disposition process. One approach in addressing the overall picture, which includes the problems posed by delay, record production costs and scarcity of judicial resources, lies in the creation of summary disposition procedures. The summary calendaring of cases, relied on heavily by the New Mexico Court of Appeals in managing its criminal docket, may be seen as an important step in expediting the appellate process with attendant reductions in direct economic costs and allocation of judicial resources. However, the system poses serious constitutional questions for the integrity of the appellate process in criminal cases, as argued in this article.
J. Thomas Sullivan, New Mexico's Summary Calendar for Disposition of Criminal Appeals: An Invitation for Inefficiency, Ineffectiveness and Injustice, 24 N.M. L. Rev. 27 (1994).