Do Affirmances Take Longer in Non-Death Criminal Cases (2000-2007)?

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Over the past two weeks, we’ve demonstrated that in criminal cases as a whole, affirmances are pending substantially longer between grant of review and oral argument than reversals are – roughly 900 days more between 2000 and 2007, and more than 1000 days more between 2008 and 2016.  So I wondered – to what extent is the enormous margin explained by the very high affirmance rate in death penalty cases?  We recalculated the criminal case statistics, dividing the data into non-death penalty and death penalty cases.

Between grant of review and oral argument, affirmances were pending longer for non-death penalty cases than reversals.  Affirmances took an average of 515.43 days from grant to argument, while reversals were pending for 468.6 days.  The data is quite variable – the standard deviation for affirmances between grant and oral argument is 300.68, and the standard deviation for reversals is 235.35.

Table 183

The relationship between the variables is similar for the lag time between oral argument and the decision.  Affirmances averaged 70.45 days from argument to decision between 2000 and 2007.  Reversals averaged 68.59 days.  Not surprisingly, the data for lag times from argument to decision does not vary widely.  The standard deviation for affirmances is 16.05.  The standard deviation for reversals is 17.49.

Table 184

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Court’s death penalty cases between 2000 and 2007.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jim G. (no changes).

Are Longer-Pending Cases More Likely to Be Affirmances in the Criminal Docket? (Part 2 – 2008-2016)

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Yesterday, we showed that affirmances in civil cases between 2008 and 2016 have tended to be pending for longer both between the grant of review and oral argument, and between argument and decision, than reversals were.  Today, we address the Court’s criminal cases between 2008 and 2016.

Our database contains 304 affirmances and 209 reversals.  Affirmances have averaged 2,255.743 days from allowance of the petition for leave to appeal to oral argument, but only 1,117.471 days for reversals from allowance to argument.  The standard deviation for affirmances from allowance to argument was 1,732.426 days, suggesting that a not-insubstantial portion of the Court’s criminal docket were pending for as little as 520 days from grant to argument.  The standard deviation for reversals was 1,404.52 days.

Table 181

We report the average time from argument to decision in Table 182 below.  This is the only measure for which reversals took slightly longer than affirmances – reversals averaged 74.148 days, while affirmances averaged 72.878 days.  Interestingly, there’s considerably more variation in the data for reversals than there is or affirmances.  The standard deviation for affirmances is 17.219, while the standard deviation for reversals was 59.0584.

Table 182

Join us back here on Tuesday as we address another aspect of the lag time data.

Image courtesy of Flickr by the_tahoe_guy (no changes).

Are Longer-Pending Cases More Likely to Be Affirmances in the Civil Docket? (Part 2: 2008-2016)

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Last week, we demonstrated that the time from grant to oral argument and argument to decision was longer between 2000 and 2007 for affirmances than it was for reversals, both in civil and criminal cases.  This week, we look at the Court’s civil and criminal cases between 2008 and 2016.  We begin with the Court’s civil docket.

Our civil case database includes 104 affirmances and 179 reversals.  From grant of review to argument, the Court averaged 624.9712 days in affirmances, and 589.5556 days in reversals – so about five weeks more for affirmances.  The lag time data was widely scattered; the standard deviation for affirmances was 263.4742 days, and the standard deviation for reversals was 249.5901 days.

Table 179

In Table 180 below, we report the data for reversals in civil cases.  Once again, affirmances took longer, although the difference was very slight.  Affirmances averaged 70.1731 days from argument to decision.  Reversals averaged 69.55 days.  The standard deviation for affirmances from argument to decision was 16.98101 days, while the standard deviation for reversals was 23.60962.

Table 180

Join us back here tomorrow as analyze the Court’s criminal cases from 2008 through 2016.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Damian Gadal (no changes).

 

Are Longer-Pending Cases More Likely to be Affirmances in Criminal Cases? (Part 1 – 2000-2007)

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Yesterday, we showed that between 2000 and 2007, affirmances took somewhat longer in civil cases than reversals did.  Today, we address the Court’s criminal cases for the same years.

We report the data for lag time from grant of review to oral argument in Table 177 below.  As the chart reflects, once again, affirmances took longer than reversals did – in the case of criminal cases, substantially longer.  Our data includes 273 affirmances and 209 reversals.  Affirmances averaged 1,641.99 days from grant of review to oral argument, while reversals averaged only 752.62 days.  That said, the data is widely variable; the standard deviation for affirmances from grant to argument is 1,372.49, while the standard deviation for reversals is 1,010.499.

 

Table 177A

In Table 178 below, we report the data for criminal cases from oral argument to decision.  Once again, affirmances took slightly longer.  Affirmances averaged 72.27 days from argument to decision.  Reversals took 69.67 days.  Not surprisingly, given the ninety-day statutory limit, the standard deviation is not high.  The standard deviation for affirmances is 14.86.  The standard deviation for reversals is 20.11.

Table 178A

Join us back here next Thursday as we look at the Court’s docket between 2008 and 2016.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Nick Ares (no changes).

 

Are Longer-Pending Cases More Likely to be Affirmances in Civil Cases? (Part 1 – 2000-2007)

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For the past two weeks, we’ve been reviewing the average time civil and criminal cases have remained pending from grant of review to argument to decision.  This week and next, we’ll be addressing whether there is any correlation between the lag time of the Court’s cases and the ultimate result.  In other words, do affirmances (or reversals) tend to take longer to decide?

Our data includes 157 affirmances and 230 reversals between 2000 and 2007.  The average time from grant of review to oral argument in affirmances is 583 days.  The average time from grant of review to oral argument in reversals in 558.28 days.  There is major variability in the data.  The days from grant to argument in affirmances had a standard deviation of 245.54, while days from grant to argument in reversals was 199.34.

Table 175

We report the average days from oral argument to decision for affirmances and reversals in Table 176 below.  Because the Court is required, with very limited exceptions, to decide cases within ninety days of oral argument, there’s comparatively little variation in this data (although affirmances take slightly longer).  Civil affirmances averaged 72.33 days to 71.67 days for reversals.  For affirmances, the standard deviation from argument to decision is 15.99.  For reversals, it’s 19.95.

Table 176

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the data for criminal cases between 2000 and 2007.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ken Lund (no changes).

 

How Long Have Criminal Cases Lasted From Grant to Argument to Decision (Part 2 – 2008-2016)?

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Yesterday, we analyzed the lag times – from grant of review to oral argument, and oral argument to decision – in the Court’s civil docket from 2008 to 2016.  Today, we’ll address the data for the criminal docket.  One definition – for cases such as the death penalty docket where there is no grant of review, we use the date on which counsel is appointed as the closest possible proxy.

Like the civil docket, there is evidence that lag times are increasing on the criminal side.  The mean time from grant to oral argument only exceeded 1,600 days one year between 2000 and 2007.  Since that time, it’s only fallen below 1,600 once.  In 2008, the mean days from grant to argument was 1,717.46 days.  For 2009, it was down to 1,620.92, and for 2010, it was down to 1,575.08, but the lag has increased since then.  In 2011, the average was 1,870.53 days.  In 2012, it fell to 1,648.13.  In 2013, it was up to 1,763.52, and increased further to 1,947.33 in 2014.  In 2015, the average fell a bit to 1,883.8, but it was up sharply in 2016 to 2,420.79 days.

Table 173

We report the mean lag time from argument to decision for the same years in Table 174 below.  With the exception of the past two years, the average time from argument to decision in criminal cases has been flat for years – 70.24 in 2008, 70.74 in 2009, 20.6 in 2010, 70.22 in 2011, 72.81 in 2012, 70.96 in 2013 and 70.36 in 2014.  It increased to 90.95 in 2015 – the result of a few outlier cases – before falling back to 77.5 days last year.

Table 174

Join us back here next Thursday as we turn our attention to a new topic in our ongoing study.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Nick Ares (no changes).

How Long Have Civil Cases Lasted From Grant to Argument to Decision (Part 2 – 2008-2016)?

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Last week, we began addressing the issue of the average lag time from grant of review to oral argument and from argument to decision, analyzing the data for the civil and criminal dockets from 2000 to 2007.  This week, we’ll address the data for 2008 through 2016, beginning today with the civil docket.

There is substantial evidence that the average time from grant of review to oral argument is continuing to drift upwards.  As we saw last week, for most of the first half of our study period, the average lag was between 500 and 600 days, only moving north of that figure in 2007.  In 2008, the average lag from grant to argument was 672.8 days.  The number dropped over the next three years, to 558.09 in 2009, 560.9 in 2010 and only 461.33 in 2011.  The average was up significantly in 2012 to 631.08 days.  It fell to 558.63 days in 2013, but has risen every year since: to 610.04 in 2014, 627.56 in 2015 and to a new high of 680.03 in 2016.

Table 171

In Table 172, we report the mean days from oral argument to decision for the same period.  For 2008, the average time was 71.53 days.  That number fell for the three years following – to 68.25 in 2009, 65.31 in 2010 and 61.33 in 2011.  The mean rose to 69.5 in 2012, and was flat the following year at 69.69.  But like the lag from grant of review to argument, it has increased every year since – to 70.48 in 2014, 72.13 in 2015 and 78.97 in 2016.

Table 172

Join us back here tomorrow as we look at trends in lag times for the Court’s criminal docket during the same period.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ken Lund (no changes).

How Long Do Criminal Cases at the California Supreme Court Tend to Last?

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Yesterday, we analyzed the average lag time from grant of review to oral argument, and oral argument to decision, in civil cases between 2000 and 2007.  Today, we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal docket for the same years.

For the entire period, the average lag time from grant of review to oral argument in criminal cases was roughly double the lag time in civil cases.  For 2000, the average criminal case lasted 1,114.38 days from grant to argument.  The next year, the average dropped to 1,015.897.  For 2002, the average dropped further to 908.871.  The average increased substantially for the rest of the period.  In 2003, the average was 1,260.194.  The next year, it was slightly higher – 1,288.836.  For 2005, the average was 1,689.574.  The next year, the average was down slightly at 1,583.491.  For 2007, the average was 1,458.836.

Table 169

For 2000, the average lag time from oral argument to decision in criminal cases was 8 days.  For 2001, the average was down a bit to 65.914 days.  For 2002, the average was up to 71.029 days, and the next year, it was 73.419 days.  For 2004, the average was 74.082 days.  The average dropped for 2005 to 72.738 days, but it increased to 75.245 days in 2006.  For 2007, the average lag time from oral argument to decision to its lowest level since 2001 at 69.967 days.

Table 170

Join us back here next Thursday as we analyze the Court’s average lag times in civil cases from 2008 to 2016.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Harold Litwiler (no changes).

How Long Do Civil Cases at the California Supreme Court Tend to Last?

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This week, we begin a new phase of our analysis: how long does the average case remain pending at the California Supreme Court from grant of review to oral argument to decision, and what are the differences between civil, criminal and death penalty cases?

In Table 167 below, we report the mean number of days, year by year, from grant of review to oral argument in civil cases.  In 2000, the Court averaged 559.959 days per case from grant to argument.  The following year, the average had dropped to 510.313.  For 2002 and 2003, the average remained flat – 511.75 in 2002, and 511.455 in 2003.  But for 2004, the average lag time from grant to argument rose about 10% to 568.434 days.  For 2005, the average rose even further to 602.451.  The days from grant to argument was relatively flat in 2006 at 599 days, before rising to 637.714 days in 2007.

Table 167

In Table 168, we report the mean number of days from oral argument to decision for the same years.  In 2000, the average civil decision took 76.347 days from argument to decision.  That figure dropped to 70.25 days for 2001 before rising to 75.458 days in 2002 and 74.045 days in 2003.  In the years since, the average has dropped slightly, to 71.981 days in 2004, 69.9804 days in 2005, 68.396 days in 2006 and 69.875 days in 2007.

Table 168

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal docket between 2000 and 2007.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Robert Bejil (no changes).

What Impact Does a Pro Tem Justice Have on the Court’s Voting Patterns in Criminal Cases?

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This week, we’ve been taking a look at the voting patterns of pro tem Justices on the California Supreme Court since 2000. Yesterday, we showed that pro tem Justices have tended in civil cases to vote most similarly to what most would call the liberal wing of the Court –Justices Moreno and Liu. Justice Werdegar was third and Chief Justices George and Cantil-Sakauye were fourth and fifth, respectively. The two Justices whose voting records were most dissimilar to pro tems in civil cases were Justices Brown and Mosk. Today, we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal cases over the same period.

Once again, we begin by putting aside the Justices who voted in only a few cases where pro tems were sitting: Justices Kruger, Cuellar and Mosk. We see in Table 166 below that the voting patterns in criminal cases are to some degree exactly the reverse as the patterns in civil cases. Justice Brown, one of the lowest agreement rates in civil cases, was tied with Chief Justice George for the highest agreement rate at 92.86%. Pro tems agreed with Justice Baxter 92.38% of the time in criminal cases, and with Justice Moreno in 90.38%. They agreed with Justice Chin in 87.12% of criminal cases, with Justice Corrigan in 87% and with Justice Werdegar in 85.16%. The three lowest agreement rates for criminal cases were Justice Kennard (84.27%), Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye (83.56%) and Justice Liu, who had one of the two highest agreement rates on the civil side, but agreed with pro tems in only 74.47% of criminal cases.

 

Table 166A

Join us back here next Thursday as we turn our attention to a new issue in our continuing analysis of the California Supreme Court’s decision making.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ken Lund (no changes).

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