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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.…
Now we turn our attention to the criminal docket.  First, we review the data for complete reversal – divided decisions from the Court of Appeal versus unanimous decisions.  In six of the past thirty-one years, the reversal rate for unanimous Court of Appeal decisions has exceeded that for divided ones.  The rest of the time, divided decisions are more likely to be reversed, although we should note that the numbers are frequently fairly close. Next we turn to our combined figure – the percentage reversed outright plus the share reversed in part.  The share is about the same: in six…
Last week, we addressed the frequently heard claim that seeking Supreme Court review of an unpublished decision from the Appellate Court is a hopeless task.  This week, we’re addressing a similar claim – that the Supreme Court doesn’t review unanimous decisions.  Below, we’ll address the data from civil cases, and in our next post, we’ll look at the criminal cases. In Table 1689, we report the percentage of the Court’s civil decisions every year that had a dissent below.  If the claim we’re analyzing is correct – that only divided decisions get reviewed – then the number should be somewhere…
Last time, we reviewed the year-by-year percentage of the Supreme Court’s civil caseload that is drawn from Appellate Court cases with a dissenter to evaluate the claim that a petition for leave to appeal from a unanimous decision is a hopeless exercise.  This time, we’re looking at the Court’s criminal cases.  Just like last time, the graph reports the percentage of cases with a dissenter below, so if the Court only reviews divided decisions, it should be close to 100%. It isn’t.  The share of divided Appellate Court decisions was 21.74% in 1990 and 25.86% in 1991, but fell for…
Like most sectors of the bar, there are certain items of “conventional wisdom” in the appellate bar that everyone has heard (or said themselves).  In both Illinois and California, one of those claims is that it’s pointless to seek Supreme Court review of a decision that wasn’t published by the lower court.  After all, if the Appellate Court didn’t think the decision was important enough to publish, why would the Supreme Court think it was important enough to decide?  On the other hand, if the Supreme Court actually is frequently reviewing Rule 23 Orders, it can be argued that one…
Last time, we demonstrated that notwithstanding the frequently heard claim that seeking review of a Rule 23 (unpublished) decision from the Appellate Court is a hopeless task, anywhere from ten to forty percent of the Court’s civil docket has consisted of Rule 23 orders for the past thirty years.  So what about criminal cases? It turns out publication is nearly irrelevant to assessing a criminal decision’s chances of getting Supreme Court review.  In 1990, 44.93% of the criminal docket was unpublished below.  From 1991 to 2003, the unpublished share was over half every year, reaching a high of 77.78% in…
This week we’re concluding our trip through the Justice-by-Justice oral argument analytics data to determine whether it’s possible to predict when a particular Justice is dissenting (although Justice Michael Burke replaced Justice Thomas earlier this year, there is too little data so far to reach any conclusions about his arguments).  Today and tomorrow, we’re looking at Justice Neville’s numbers, first for civil cases, then for criminal cases. So far, Justice Neville has not been particularly active in civil cases.  When he’s voting with the majority to affirm, he averages 0.1 questions to appellants and 0.05 to appellees.  When he’s joining…
Yesterday, we reviewed the data on Justice Neville’s question patterns since joining the Court in civil cases.  Today, we’re looking at the criminal side. Justice Neville has not been a particularly active questioner thus far in criminal cases.  He more heavily questions the eventual loser when he’s in the majority of criminal cases, although the difference isn’t large.  He averages 0.1 questions to appellants, 0.05 to appellees in affirmances; and 0.28 to appellees, 0.12 to appellants when he’s in the majority of a reversal.  When he joins a split result, he averages 0.13 questions to appellees and none to appellants. …
This week, we’re reviewing Justice Theis’ history in oral arguments in civil cases.  Having established that the party which gets more questions at argument overall is likely to lose, we’re trying to determine (1) whether each individual Justice follows that same pattern when she or he agrees with the majority; and (2) when he or she dissents, does the Justice more heavily question the side the Justice thinks should lose, or the side the majority believes should lose?  This week, we’re looking at the data for Justice Theis, civil cases first. When Justice Theis agrees with the majority in a…
This time, we’re reviewing the data for Justice Theis’ question patterns in criminal cases. When Justice Theis agrees with the majority in an affirmance, she follows the expected pattern, averaging 3.22 questions to appellants and only 1.38 to appellees.  However, she breaks from the pattern in reversals, more heavily questioning the winner – 3.02 to appellants, 2.66 to appellees.  When Justice Theis joins the majority in a split result – affirmed in part, reversed in part – her numbers are almost identical – 2.3 questions to appellants, 2.23 to appellees. Once again, in most cases where Justice Theis breaks with…
For the past few weeks, we’ve been reviewing the oral argument data on individual Justices, trying to determine whether it’s possible to predict from the analytics whether a particular Justice is likely to dissent.  This week, we’re looking at the numbers for Chief Justice Burke. When the Chief Justice is in the majority, we see the expected patterns.  In an affirmance, she averages 2.74 questions to appellants and 1.24 to appellees.  In a reversal, she averages two questions to appellees and 1.78 to respondents.  When she joins the majority in a split result (“affirmed in part, reversed in part”), she…