How is your local federal court doing? The answer could yield a decent story. Kind of like, come to think of it, the piece my Fresno Bee colleague John Ellis and I did recently about the long wait for justice in the Eastern District of California. Yay, us! http://www.mcclatchydc.com/staff/michael_doyle/story/51875.html
Here's the lede:
Do a little reporting-by-wandering-around, and see what can be found in the annual report of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Court: http://www.uscourts.gov/judbus2007/contents.html
"Federal justice requires considerable patience, as Gary Condit and Baskin-Robbins can now testify.
The ice cream chain and the former San Joaquin Valley congressman have been waiting 11 months for a judge's verdict in a civil lawsuit. Delay may be frustrating. In federal courthouses, it's also commonplace."
So, for example: In the District of Columbia, the median time interval between the filing of a civil case and its non-jury resolution is 44 months. In Maryland, which had about twice as many non-jury cases resolved, the median time was but 17 months. Yo, city desk!