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Today, we’re beginning another inquiry in our ongoing look at the amicus data at the Court.  We’re looking at two questions, one decade at a time: (1) are amici supporting appellants or appellees more often on the winning side; and (2) one area of law at a time, do amici supporting appellants or amici supporting appellees have the higher winning percentage?  Thus, we take another incremental step (but not the final one) toward determining where amicus briefs are most effective. Between 1990 and 1999, 178 amicus briefs were filed supporting appellants in civil cases and 78 were filed supporting appellees. …
Last time, we reviewed the data on the civil side for the years 1990-1999, looking at whether amici supporting appellants or appellees more frequently won in each area of civil law.  This time, we’re looking at the data from the criminal side for the same decade. For the years 1990-1999, there were only 28 amicus briefs filed in criminal cases – 16 supporting appellants and 12 supporting appellees.  Appellants’ amici had a winning percentage of 60%, while 50% of appellees were on the winning side. Nineteen of those 28 briefs were in constitutional law cases.  Amici were almost evenly matched…
This week, we’re concluding our review of the amicus data by areas of law, asking (1) which areas of law generated the most amicus briefs; and (2) how many amicus briefs on average per case were filed attacking the decision and supporting it? Between 2010 and 2020, more amicus briefs were filed in tort cases than in any other area of law – 25 cases in all.  Twenty-two cases involved government and administrative law.  There were 12 civil procedure cases and 11 constitutional law cases.  Nine cases involved domestic relations issues, five each were in workers comp and tax law…
This time, we’re reviewing the data on amicus briefs in criminal cases between 2010 and 2020. Seven constitutional law cases drew at least one amicus brief.  Four habeas corpus cases drew at least one amicus brief.  Three juvenile justice cases drew one or more amici.  Two criminal procedure cases did.  One case each involving sentencing law and mental health issues drew at least one amicus brief. Ten amicus briefs were filed in habeas corpus cases – only 1 supporting appellants, 9 supporting appellees.  Nine briefs were filed in constitutional law cases – six supporting appellants, only three for appellees.  Four…
This week, we’re continuing our deep dive into the data on amicus briefs, looking at two questions.  First, given that Illinois only ranks midway through the list of states on the frequency of amicus briefs, what areas of law, civil and criminal, are generating amici?  And second, for those areas of law, are most amicus briefs offensive – i.e., attacking an adverse decision from the Appellate Court – or defensive, defending the Appellate Court decision?  This week, we’re reviewing the data for the years 2000 through 2009. For the decade of the 1990s, the top area of law by a…
Last time, we looked at the data for the years 2000 through 2009 on the civil side, looking at (1) which areas of law drew the most amicus briefs; and (2) were most of the briefs filed attacking or defending the Appellate Court decision.  This time, we’re looking at the data for criminal cases across the same years. A grand total of six criminal cases drew one or more amicus briefs during these years.  Half of them involved issues of constitutional law.  One each involved criminal procedure, juvenile issues and violent crimes. All of the constitutional law amici were defensive…
This week, we’re digging deeper on the data on for amicus briefs.  We’re asking two questions: (1) what areas of law have led to amicus brief filings; and (2) in those areas, are more briefs filed for appellants and appellees?  This will shed some light on several questions.  First, given that Illinois is roughly in the middle of the pack as far as frequency of amicus filings, what areas of law – both civil and criminal – spark filings in this state?  And second, are more amicus briefs offensive – attacking Appellate Court decisions the filers don’t like – or…
This time, we’re reviewing the same questions on the criminal side that we looked at yesterday on the civil: (1) what areas of law tend to draw the most amicus briefs; and (2) in those areas, do amicus briefs tend to be offensive (filed on behalf of appellants) or defensive (filed in support of appellees)?  This week, we’re reviewing the data for the 1990s. As we saw a couple of weeks ago, amicus briefs are quite rare on the criminal side in Illinois.  For the decade – not surprisingly – constitutional law was far and away the most frequent area…
Today, we’re looking at the amicus filing data on criminal cases for the years 2005 through 2020. Just as in our earlier period, amicus briefs were few and far between in criminal cases.  None were filed in 2005, 2007-2008, 2010 or 2016.  Four percent had extra briefs in 2006.  That rose to six percent in 2011 and a bit higher the following year (to 6.06%), but fell for several years after that.  In 2017, 21.43% of criminal cases drew at least one amicus brief.  That fell to 7.69% in 2018 and 4.76% in 2019, but rose a bit to 10.71%…
When we left off our study, one-third of the Supreme Court’s civil cases were drawing at least one amicus brief.  In 2005, 27.08% of civil cases did.  That figure rose to 34.69% in 2006 before falling by nearly half but rose back to 31.58% in 2011 and 32.35% in 2013.  In 2017, 61.54% of the Court’s civil cases had at least one amicus brief.  In 2018, 27.27% did.  In 2019, 41.18% did, and the share was 37.5% in 2020. Appellants averaged one-third of an amicus brief per case in 2005.  After a one-year spike in 2006, that fell to 0.1463…
Just as we did for civil cases in the last post, we begin by addressing the percentage of criminal cases which drew at least one amicus brief for the years 1990 through 2004. As we see in Table 1744, the answer is: not many.  In 1990, only 2.9% of criminal cases drew at least one extra brief.  That rose to 4.62% in 1994 and 5.56% in 1996 but fell back to 13.89% in 1998.  There were no criminal amicus briefs at all filed between 2000 and 2003.  In 2004, 3.23% of criminal cases had at least one amicus brief. Not…
In the past twenty years, several academic researchers have extended the study of amicus briefs to state courts of last resort.  In 2001, Professors Paul Brace and Kellie Sims Butler published “New Perspectives for the Comparative Study of the Judiciary: The State Supreme Court Project,” 22 The Justice System Journal 3 (2001).  They assembled data for amicus filings in all fifty state courts of last resort for all cases decided between the years 1990 and 2001.  They concluded that in a total of nineteen states (Arkansas, South Dakota, Idaho, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Arkansas,…
This week, we’re wrapping up our analysis of unanimity and votes to affirm in cases not affirmed unanimously.  First up, the likelihood, District by District, that civil decisions will be affirmed unanimously for the years 2010 to 2020. In 2010, 60% of decisions from Division Four of the First were affirmed unanimously, as were half of decisions from Division One and one third from Division Three and the Third District.  In 2011, four courts had half their decisions affirmed unanimously – the Second and Third Districts and Divisions Two and Four of the First.  In 2012, half the decisions from…
This time, we’re looking at the data for average votes to affirm in cases not affirmed unanimously. In 2010, Division Four averaged 5.5 votes to affirm in cases not unanimously affirmed.  The Second District averaged 2.5 votes and the Fourth averaged 2.33.  In 2011, the Third District averaged 3.5 votes and the Fourth averaged three.  In 2012, the Fourth District averaged four votes to affirm, while Division Four of the First averaged 2.33.  In 2013, Division Five of the First averaged five votes.  The Second District averaged 2.75 and Division Three of the First averaged 2.33.  In 2014, Division Six…
Today we’re continuing our two-part analysis of each District of the Appellate Court’s performance at the Supreme Court since 1990.  Question 1, which we address below, is how likely is a civil decision from each part of the Appellate Court to be affirmed unanimously?  Question 2, which we’ll look at for the next post, is among the rest of the civil cases – all cases not affirmed unanimously – what’s the average votes to affirm the Appellate Court?  This week we’re looking at the years 2000 through 2009. In 2000, all the civil cases decided by the Court from the…
This time, we’re looking at the second part of our analysis for the years 2000 through 2009 – excluding unanimous affirmances, how many votes to affirm the Appellate Court did each District and Division average? In 2000, decisions from the Second District fared best, averaging 2.5 votes to affirm.  The Fourth District and the Second and Fourth Divisions of the First averaged 2 votes.  In 2001, Division Three of the First District averaged 4.5 votes to affirm.  In 2002, Division Five of the First District averaged 3.5 votes to affirm, while Divisions Two, Three, Four and Six of the First…