California Supreme Court Review

Understanding Appellate Decision Making

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Yesterday, we took a look at the Court’s unanimity rate in civil cases (60.18% in 1,223 cases).  Today, we’re looking at the criminal docket.  From 1990 to 2017, the Court decided 1,590 criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile and disciplinary cases, with a unanimity rate ten points higher than on the civil side – 70.25%. Just as was true in the civil docket, for the years 1990-1996, the criminal unanimity rate was below the long-term average – sometimes…
This week, we’re turning our attention to a new issue, tracing how the Court’s unanimity rate has changed over time.  Between 1990 and 2017, the Court decided 1,223 civil cases, 60.18% of those by a unanimous vote. From 1990 to 1996, the Court’s unanimity rate in civil cases was consistently below this long-term average: 41.03% in 1990, 45% in 1991, 44.23% in 1992, 41.3% in 1993, 45.1% in 1994, 47.37% in 1995 and 56.67% in…
Yesterday, we began our comparison of the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ criminal dockets for the past twenty-eight years.  We covered the years 1990 through 2003.  Today, we’re looking at the years 2004 to 2017. From 1990 to 2003, the Illinois Supreme Court wrote more criminal decisions than the California Supreme Court did.  Since that time, the numbers have flipped.  Between 2004 and 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down 353 criminal decisions, while the…
Earlier this week, we began a multi-day crossover post at the Illinois Supreme Court Review, comparing the dockets of the Illinois and California Supreme Courts for the past twenty-eight years (1990-2017), and tracing how those Courts’ caseloads have evolved over that period.  In our first two posts, we addressed the Courts’ civil caseloads.  In this post and tomorrow, we’ll be addressing the Courts’ criminal dockets. We begin with the Illinois Supreme Court, 1990-1996.  Given…
Yesterday, we looked at the Court’s history since 1990 with civil arbitration cases.  Today, we’re back on the criminal side of the docket, taking a closer look at the Court’s decision making in cases involving property crimes such as robbery, forgery and theft. Between 1990 and 2017, the Court’s cases were almost evenly split between prosecution wins from the Court of Appeal and defense wins – of the Court’s thirty-four cases involving property crimes, 48.65%…
Last week, we reviewed the year-by-year totals for the Court’s arbitration cases and cases involving property crimes.  Today, we’re taking a closer look at the data for arbitration cases. The Court’s 41 arbitration cases since 1990 have been almost equally split between defendants’ and plaintiffs’ wins – defendants’ wins from the Court of Appeal have been 51.22% of the total.  The Court has reversed 52.38% of the defendants’ wins – a few points below their…
Yesterday, we reviewed the yearly numbers of arbitration cases on the Court’s civil docket.  Today, we’re on the criminal side, looking at cases involving property crimes such as robbery, forgery and theft.  Since 1991, the Court has decided thirty-four cases involving the elements and defenses to property crimes. The Court decided one case per year in 1991, 1994 and 1995. The Court decided one case in 1998, three in 1999, five in 2000, one in…
This week, we’re continuing our review of the Court’s case work, one area of law at a time, with two new subjects: today, civil arbitration cases, and tomorrow – cases involving the elements and defenses to property crimes.  Arbitration cases have taken on increased importance in recent years with a stream of decisions from the United States Supreme Court.  Since 1991, the Court has decided forty-one arbitration cases (more than double the total decided by…
Yesterday, we took a close look in the civil docket at the Court’s record since 1991 with employment law cases. Today, we’re on the criminal side of the docket, taking a further look at the Court’s cases involving sexual offenses. Over the entire twenty-seven year period, 52.38% of the Court’s criminal cases involving sexual offenses were won by the prosecution at the Court of Appeal. Of those prosecution wins, the Court reversed only 27.27%. The…
Last week, we addressed the Court’s year-by-year history with employment law cases. Today, we’re taking a closer look: (1) does the Court tend to take a disproportionate share of cases won by one side or the other at the Court of Appeal? (2) does the Court reverse either side’s wins at an unexpectedly high (or low) rate? and (3) how often does the Court reverse employment law decisions in general in comparison to the rest…