Appellate

Last time, we looked at how often Chief Justice Anne Burke voted with the minority in civil cases – a proxy for how closely in sync with the philosophy of the other Justices she has been throughout her career.  Today, we’re addressing the same number for Justice Garman. The Chief Justice has been in the minority in 6.91% of civil cases since joining the Court in 2006.  Justice Garman’s overall percentage is nearly identical – 6.84%.  Looking at time trends, she was below that baseline from 2004 through 2011 except for 2006 (11.11%).  Between 2014 and 2017, she was above…
Yesterday, we showed that Justice Garman has voted with the minority in 6.84% of her civil cases since joining the Court, slightly below Chief Justice Burke’s percentage.  Justice Theis’ percentage is almost identical: she has voted with the minority in 6.83% of her civil cases since joining the Court in 2010.  There are no strong time trends in her data.  She was above baseline in 2012 (7.69%) and 2014 (11.11%), but below in 2013 (6.06%).  She was below in 2016 (3.57%) and 2018 (4.55%), but above it in 2017 (11.54%) and 2019 (11.76%).  Justice Theis was well below her career…
This time, we’re beginning our review of the voting record of Justice Michael Burke, who took his seat on March 1, 2020, replacing the retired Justice Robert R. Thomas.  Previously, Justice Burke had served for twelve years as a Justice of the Second District Appellate Court. During 2020, Justice Michael Burke voted in 19 civil cases.  He voted to affirm in 10 of those cases – 52.63%.  He voted to reverse in 7 cases, or 36.84%.  He cast one split vote to affirm in part and reverse in part and cast one vote to deny. Join us back here next…
With this post, we’re addressing a new question in our ongoing review of the Justices’ voting records: how often each Justice is in the minority.  The question serves as an indication of how closely in sync with the majority of the Court an individual Justice is philosophically, and during a Justice’s term as Chief Justice, it offers some indication of how much influence the Justice has over her or his colleagues. Since joining the Court in 2006, Chief Justice Anne Burke has voted in 463 civil cases.  She has been in the minority in only 32 of those cases –…
Today, we’re examining the voting record of one of the newer members of the Supreme Court, Associate Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr.  Justice Neville took his seat on June 15, 2018, succeeding Justice Charles Freeman.  Prior to joining the Court, Justice Neville sat on the First District Appellate Court from 2004 to 2018. During his tenure, he served as Presiding Justice of the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions. Since joining the Court and through the end of 2020, Justice Neville has voted in 68 civil cases.  His votes to affirm and reverse are nearly evenly split.  He has voted to…
Today, we’re beginning our examination of the voting record of Chief Justice Anne M. Burke.  Chief Justice Burke took her seat on July 6, 2006.  Through the end of 2020, she had voted in 463 civil cases. It’s reasonable to suppose that the distribution of a Justice’s votes between affirmance and reversal might tell us something about what a vote to hear a particular case from that Justice might mean.  Does she see the Court’s function as reining in one or more Appellate Courts?  Does a vote from that Justice to allow a petition for leave to appeal suggest that…
Today, we’re taking a look at Justice Theis’ voting record since joining the Court in late October 2010. In her just over ten years on the Court, Justice Theis has voted in 322 civil cases.  Like Justice Garman, the distribution of those cases reflects the diminishing of the Court’s docket.  She cast 177 votes in her first five years on the Court (2011-2015) and 142 between 2016 and 2020. Justice Theis has cast 121 votes to affirm and 137 to reverse.  Like Justice Garman’s numbers, there is a time trend.  Between 2011 and 2015, Justice Theis voted to reverse in…
This week, we’re taking the first steps in a more detailed analysis, one Justice at a time, of the Justices’ voting records.  First up is Justice Garman’s record in civil cases. From joining the Court in 2001 until the end of 2020, Justice Garman has voted in 760 civil cases.  The distribution of votes reflects the downwards trend in the Court’s docket: Justice Garman cast 435 votes in civil cases between 2001 and 2010, and only 325 from 2011 to 2020. Those votes are almost evenly split between votes to affirm and reverse – 305 votes to affirm, 304 to…
The last couple of weeks, we’ve looked at reversal rates for the Appellate Court in cases at the Supreme Court.  But the difficulty which few people talk about is that reversal rates are nearly always a composite statistic – either “all cases,” or at most all civil cases or all criminal.  But mathematically, a high reversal rate can be explained by one of two results: (1) a very high rate in a couple of areas of law, and far lower rates in other areas; or (2) reversal rates around the baseline composite rate in a host of different areas.  The…
This time, we’re taking a closer look at what might be driving the reversal rate for criminal cases from the Third District. First, let’s take a look at the subject breakdown of the criminal cases which have reached the Supreme Court.  A large share of the cases was in two areas: criminal procedure (57 cases) and constitutional law (50 cases).  Then it dropped off sharply: sentencing (27 cases), habeas corpus (18 cases) and juvenile justice (15 cases).  The eight remaining areas of law were minor players, accounting for fewer than ten cases apiece. Next, we review the reversal rates in…
Last time, we reviewed the reversal rates at the Supreme Court in criminal cases for the Divisions of Chicago’s First District of the Appellate Court.  This time, we’re looking at the reversal rates across the rest of the state. The Third District fared worst from 1990 to 2020, with a collective reversal rate of 64.18%.  The Fourth and Fifth Districts were almost tied – the 4th at 56.89% and the 5th, 56.25%.  The Second District fared best, with a reversal rate of 52.88%. The distribution of cases across these Districts is interesting.  The Second District accounts for 208 criminal cases,…
This week, we’re reviewing the reversal rates for the Appellate Court in criminal cases since 1990.  First up, the six Divisions of Chicago’s First District of the Appellate Court. Since 1990, Division One of the First has fared worst, with a reversal rate in criminal cases of 57.14%.  Division Three was next at 56.52%.  The reversal rate in Division Two was 56.25%.  Division Four’s reversal rate 1990-2020 was 55.56%.  The best two Divisions were Five, with a reversal rate of 50%, and Six, where 47.62% of criminal decisions were reversed. Division Three was significantly more common on the Supreme Court’s…
This week, we’re returning to perhaps the most often-written-about statistics in judicial analytics: reversal rates.  First up, the Divisions of Chicago’s First District of the Appellate Court in civil cases. The overall numbers for Divisions One through Six are reported in Table 1695.  All six Divisions are relatively close.  The highest reversal rate 1990-2020 was Division 2 at 61.18%.  Division Three’s civil decisions have been reversed 59.09% of the time.  Division Six’s reversal rate is 57.83%.  Division Five’s is 56.94%.  Division One is at 55.17%.  Division Four fared the best at 51.65%. In the past thirty-one years, the most active…
Today, we’re discussing the civil reversal rates from 1990 to 2020 for the Districts of the Appellate Court outside of Chicago – Two, Three, Four and Five. Not surprisingly to long-time readers of this blog, the Fifth District leads with a reversal rate in civil cases of 72.43%.  The other three districts are quite close – Third District, 57.14%, Fourth District, 55.36% and Second District, 54.25%. The Second District was most common on the Court’s docket, with 212 cases.  The Court decided 185 cases from the Fifth District, 168 cases from the Fourth District and only 126 cases from the…
This week, we’re addressing a new issue: does the lag time from the grant of a party’s petition for leave to appeal to a final decision from the Supreme Court tell us anything about what the result is likely to be?  We begin with the civil docket for the years 2011 through 2020. What we see in Table 1693 is that there does seem to be at least a mild relationship between lag time and result in civil cases (in the Table, “A” is affirmances, “R” is reversals, and “AR” is split results – affirmed in part, reversed in part). …
Last time, we showed that there is a mild relationship between the total time pending from the grant of the petition for leave to appeal until final decision by the Supreme Court and the ultimate case result in civil cases: more often than not, affirmances took longer.  Below, we’re reviewing the Court’s criminal cases. In criminal cases, there is a quite strong relationship between lag time and case result, but the relationship goes in the opposite direction: in nine of the past ten years, criminal reversals have been pending longer than affirmances. Once again, the differences were typically not trivial.…