The Areas of Law From Which the California Supreme Court Draws Its Criminal Docket – Overall Conclusions

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Today, we conclude our analysis of the areas of law comprising the California Supreme Court’s criminal docket.

In Table 82 below, we report the numbers of cases falling in each area of law from 2000 to 2015.  Automatic death penalty appeals accounted for 331 of the Court’s 969 criminal cases.  The Court decided 154 criminal procedure cases, and 122 cases in sentencing law.  The Court heard 104 cases in constitutional law.

Table 82

In Table 83, we report the same data, one area of law at a time, as a percentage of the criminal docket.  Automatic death penalty appeals accounted for 34.16% of the criminal caseload from 2000 to 2015.  Criminal procedure produced 15.89% of the cases, followed by sentencing law at 12.59% and constitutional law at 10.73%.  Violent crimes accounted for 6.81%, with habeas corpus cases at 5.26% and juvenile issues producing 4.75% of the cases.  Sex crimes produced 3.61% of the cases, property crimes were 2.37%, and attorney admission and disciplinary cases and drug crimes accounted for 1.44% each.  The rarest areas on the criminal docket were vehicle crimes (0.21%), conspiracy crimes (0.31%) and political crimes (0.41%).

Table 83

Join us back here next Wednesday as we turn our attention to a new area – how important are dissents at the Court of Appeal if you want to wind up on the Supreme Court’s docket?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Chris Hunkeler (no changes).

The Areas of Law From Which the California Supreme Court Draws Its Civil Docket – Overall Conclusions

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For the past six weeks, we’ve been analyzing the year-by-year evolution of the areas of law covered by the California Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets.  I once read a quote from an appellate judge who commented that every jurisdiction completely restates its law every twenty years.  Since our data library covers nearly that long – sixteen years – let’s gather the data together for some overall conclusions.

In Table 80 below, we report the total number of cases in each area of law for the civil docket.  Of the 671 civil cases heard by the Court since 2000, 103 were tort law.  Government and administrative law was right behind at 99 cases, followed by 83 civil procedure cases, 78 employment law cases and 73 constitutional law cases.  After that, the number dropped sharply, as the next most common area is insurance law at 42 cases.

Table 80

In Table 81 below, we report the same data as a percentage of the civil docket.  Tort law amounted to 15.35% of the civil docket, followed by government and administrative law at 14.75%, civil procedure at 12.37%, employment law at 11.62% and constitutional law at 10.88%.  Insurance law accounted for 6.26% of the docket.  Arbitration law produced 4.77% of the cases, followed by domestic relations (3.28%), environmental law (3.28%), workers’ compensation and tax law (2.83% each), commercial law (2.53%), consumer law (2.24%) and contract law (2.09%).  The six least common issues on the civil docket were secured transactions and riparian law (0.15%), election law (0.45%), construction law (0.6%) and wills and estates and property law (1.79% each).

Table 81

Join us back here tomorrow as we gather together our analysis for the criminal docket.

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What Areas of Law Does the California Supreme Court Draw Its Criminal Docket From (2013-2015)?

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Today, we conclude our review of the areas of law which the California Supreme Court draws its civil and criminal dockets from with a look at the Court’s criminal docket over the past three years.

In 2013, automatic death penalty appeals accounted for 35.29% of the criminal docket.  As always, the next most frequent area produced less than half as many cases: criminal procedure at 15.69%.  Sentencing law accounted for 11.76% of the docket.  Sex crimes and drug offenses were next, each accounting for 7.84% of the cases.  Violent crimes produced 5.88% of the docket.  Constitutional law was way down, accounting for only 3.92% of the cases, as did conspiracy law.  Juvenile law, attorney admission and disciplinary cases, political crimes and judicial disqualification each produced one case, or 1.96% of the docket.

Table 77

In 2014, the Court decided twenty-four automatic death penalty appeals, for 44.44% of the criminal docket.  Only one other area – criminal procedure at 18.52% – accounted for more than ten percent of the criminal docket.  Sentencing law cases produced 9.26% of the docket.  Violent crimes were next, producing 7.41% of the cases.  Constitutional law, property crimes, sex crimes and habeas corpus cases were next, each producing 3.7% of the docket.  Finally, juvenile issues, attorney admission and disciplinary cases, and vehicle crimes, each accounted for one case, or 1.85% of the docket.

Table 78

For 2015, automatic death penalty appeals accounted for 38.64% of the caseload.  Sentencing law and criminal procedure were the only other areas of law accounting for more than ten percent of the docket at 25% and 18.18%, respectively.  Constitutional law produced 6.82% of the cases.  Five areas – violent crimes, juvenile offenses, attorney admission and disciplinary issues, sex crimes and habeas corpus cases – produced 2.27% of the cases each.

Table 79

Join us back here next Thursday as we turn to a new phase of our analysis – does a dissent at the Court of Appeal help in getting Supreme Court review?

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What Areas of Law Does the California Supreme Court Draw Its Criminal Docket From (2010-2012)?

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For the past several weeks, we’ve been reviewing the areas of law from which the California Supreme Court has drawn its civil and criminal docket in the years since 2000.  Today and tomorrow, we’ll address the criminal docket in the years 2010 through 2015.

In Table 74 below, we report the breakdown for the Supreme Court’s criminal docket in 2010.  Automatic death penalty appeals dominated the docket, as they always do; 32.43% of the Court’s criminal, juvenile and disciplinary docket consisted of death penalty appeals.  Sentencing cases accounted for 17.57% of the docket, and 16.22% were criminal procedure cases.  Constitutional law and habeas corpus cases accounted for 9.46% apiece of the docket.  Violent crimes, sex crimes and drug crimes accounted for 4.05% apiece.  Five areas of law – juvenile law, attorney admission and discipline, property crimes, political crimes and conspiracy crimes – produced one case each, or 1.35% of the docket.

Table 74

In 2011, automatic death penalty appeals were even more dominant, accounting for 45.61% of the docket.  No other area of law produced as much as ten percent of the caseload.  Four areas – criminal procedure, constitutional law, juvenile law and attorney admission and discipline – accounted for 8.77% of the docket each.  Sentencing law, violent crimes, sex crimes and habeas corpus cases produced 3.51% of the docket apiece.  Political crimes, fraud and financial crimes and drug crimes accounted for one case apiece – 1.75% of the caseload.

Table 75

The data for 2012 is reported below in Table 76.  Automatic death penalty appeals produced 30.49% of the docket.  Sentencing and constitutional law produced less than half as many cases, each accounting for 13.41% of the docket. Criminal procedure produced 10.98% of the caseload.  Four areas – violent crimes, juvenile issues, attorney admission and discipline and habeas corpus cases – produced 6.1% of the cases apiece.  Sex crimes accounted for 3.66% of the cases, followed by property crimes at 2.44% and drug crimes at 1.22%.

Table 76

Join us back here tomorrow as we wrap up our analysis with a look at the criminal docket between 2013 and 2015.

Image courtesy of Flickr by John Morgan (no changes).

What Areas of Law Does the California Supreme Court Draw Its Civil Docket From (2013-2015)?

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Today, we wrap up our analysis of the areas of law which have comprised the California Supreme Court’s civil docket over the past sixteen years, focusing on the civil docket for the years 2013 through 2015.

Government and administrative law jumped to the top spot in the civil docket for 2013, accounting for 18.92% of the docket.  Civil procedure was up slightly, producing 13.51% of the caseload.  Employment law was down and consumer law was up, as each accounted for 8.11% of the docket in 2013. Seven different areas of law – constitutional, tort, arbitration, contract, tax law, property and secured transactions – produced 5.41% of the docket apiece.  Finally, the Court decided one case each in domestic relations, workers compensation, commercial law, tax and wills and estates.

Table 71

Tort law, traditionally quite high on all appellate dockets, was the most common area of law on the Court’s 2014 civil docket, accounting for 20.83% of the cases. Employment and civil procedure were next, producing 16.67% of the cases apiece.  Government and administrative law contributed 12.5% of the docket.  Tax law was up slightly at 8.33%, followed by constitutional law, domestic relations, insurance, arbitration, contract law and environmental law, each accounting for 4.17%.

Table 72

Government and administrative law dominated the civil docket last year, accounting for fully 40% of the cases, with all other areas of the law far behind.  Constitutional law, employment, insurance, workers compensation, commercial law, arbitration and contract law each accounted for 5.71% of the cases.  Civil procedure, domestic relations, tort, tax, wills and estates, property law and secured transactions accounted for 2.86% of the docket apiece.

Table 73

Join us back here next week as we complete our tour through the areas of law on the California Supreme Court’s docket by reviewing the criminal docket between 2010 and 2015.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Chris Hunkeler (no changes).

 

 

What Areas of Law Does the California Supreme Court Draw Its Civil Docket From (2010-2012)?

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For the past several weeks, we’ve been reviewing the areas of law which the California Supreme Court has drawn its civil and criminal dockets from during the years 2000 to 2015.  This week, we address the civil docket between 2010 and 2015.

For 2010, employment was far in front of every other area, contributing nine cases, or 20.93% of the caseload.  Tort and government and administrative law produced only four cases each, but were nevertheless second most frequent at 9.3% of the docket apiece.  The Court decided three cases each – 6.98% of the civil docket – in constitutional law, civil procedure, insurance, arbitration, contract and environmental law.  Commercial law contributed 4.65% of the docket, and the Court decided one case each in construction, domestic relations, consumer law, tax, wills and estates and election law.

Table 68

The docket reshuffled in 2011, with civil procedure accounting for 20.59% of the cases.  Tort was next at 17.65%, followed by employment law, which produced four cases, or 11.76% of the docket.  Constitutional law and government and administrative law were next, with each accounting for three cases, or 8.82% of the docket.  Environmental and consumer law each produced 5.88% of the civil docket.  The rest of the caseload was widely scattered, with insurance, workers compensation, arbitration, contract law, tax law, property and secured transactions each contributing one case.

Table 69

The docket shifted again in 2012, with tort law accounting for 23.08% of the civil docket.  Employment law was back up in 2012, this time accounting for 19.23% of the cases.  Civil procedure and government and administrative law were next, each producing 11.54% of the caseload.  Environmental law accounted for 7.69% of the cases, and seven different areas – insurance, consumer law, arbitration, contract law, tax law, wills and estates and election law – each contributing 3.85% of the docket.

Table 70

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the civil docket during the years 2013 through 2015.

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What Areas of Law Does the California Supreme Court Draw Its Criminal Docket From (2008-2009)?

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Today, we continue our analysis of the areas of law covered by the California Supreme Court in its civil and criminal dockets by addressing the criminal dockets during the years 2008 and 2009.

In 2008, the Court decided 26 automatic death penalty appeals, but with the criminal side of the docket slightly busier, the death penalty’s share of the docket was virtually flat at 38.24%.  Criminal procedure was next, accounting for 17.25% of the caseload.  Constitutional law contributed 11.76% of the cases, followed by sentencing law at 10.29%.  Habeas corpus cases were 8.82% of the docket.  The rest of the docket was de minimis – juvenile issues, property crimes and drug crimes each accounted for 2.94% of the cases, and violent crimes, attorney admission and fitness and sex crimes each contributed 1.47%.

Table 66 CSCR

For 2009, automatic death penalty appeals reached their highest level since 2005 as a fraction of the docket, accounting for 40.98% of the cases.  Only two other areas of the law added more than 10% of the docket – sentencing law, at 14.75%, and violent crimes, adding 11.48%.  Juvenile issues were up sharply in 2009, adding 9.84% of the docket.  Criminal procedure and constitutional law, on the other hand, were down sharply, each contributing 8.2% of the caseload.  Habeas corpus cases were another 3.28%, and the Court heard one case each arising from property law and vehicle crimes.

Table 67 CSCR

Join us back here next Thursday as we tackle the areas of law decided by the Court in the civil docket between 2010 and 2015.

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What Areas of Law Does the California Supreme Court Draw Its Criminal Docket From (2005-2007)?

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For the past two weeks, we’ve been reviewing the areas of law covered by the California Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets, year by year, beginning in 2000.  Today and tomorrow, we address the criminal docket between 2005 and 2009.

Death penalty appeals were up sharply in 2005.  The Court decided 25 automatic death penalty appeals, for 40.98% of the criminal docket.  Criminal procedure and constitutional law were next, each accounting for 11.48% of the cases.  The Court heard six habeas corpus cases – 9.84% of the criminal docket. Sentencing law was next, accounting for 8.2% of the docket, and violent crimes accounted for 6.56%.  Juvenile matters and sex crimes were next, each contributing 3.28% of the docket.  Finally, the Court heard one case each arising from attorney admission and fitness, property crimes and drug crimes.

Table 63 CSCR

The data for 2006 is reported in Table 64 below.  Death penalty appeals were down slightly, but still accounted for the largest single share of the criminal docket at 35.19%.  Constitutional law and criminal procedure were once again next, contributing 18.52% and 14.81% of the cases, respectively.  Sentencing law was up slightly, adding 11.11%.  Violent crimes accounted for 7.41% of the Court’s criminal cases, while habeas corpus contributed 5.56%.  Juvenile matters were essentially flat, adding 3.7% to the Court’s criminal docket.  Finally, the Court heard one case each in the areas of financial crimes and drug crimes.

Table 64 CSCR

Death penalty appeals were up slightly in 2007, again accounting for the biggest single share of the criminal docket at 37.7%.  Violent crimes, sentencing and constitutional law were tied in second place, each contributing 13.11% of the criminal docket.  Criminal procedure was close behind at 11.48%.  The rest of the docket was concentrated in only two more subjects, with juvenile law accounting for 8.2% of the docket, and habeas corpus cases 3.28%.

Table 65 CSCR

Join us back here tomorrow as we address the criminal docket in 2008 and 2009.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Don McCullough (no changes).

What Areas of the Law Does the California Supreme Court Draw Its Civil Docket From (2008-2009)?

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Last year, we looked at the areas of law which the California Supreme Court drew its civil docket from between 2005 and 2007.  Today, we turn to the final two years of this second five-year period, 2008 and 2009.

Arbitration law, well down on the docket in previous years, shot to the top in 2008 with 15% of the civil docket.  Tort law remained near the top, accounting for 12.5% of the caseload.  Employment law, government and administrative law and contract law each contributed 12.5% as well.  Environmental law was up sharply, contributing four cases, or 10% of the docket.  Civil procedure and constitutional law were next, accounting for 7.5% of the civil docket each.  The rest of the docket was scattered among various areas accounting for one case each – domestic relations, consumer law, workers’ compensation and tax law (2.5% of the docket each).

Table 61

We conclude by looking at the civil docket for 2009.  Tort and employment law were at the top of the docket for 2009, accounting for 15.91% of the docket apiece.  Civil procedure was not far behind with five cases, or 11.36% of the docket.  Insurance law was next, accounting for 9.09% of the cases.  Government and administrative law, constitutional law and commercial law were next with three cases each, or 6.82% of the civil docket.  Consumer law, environmental and property law were next, contributing 4.55% of the docket apiece.  The rest of the docket was widely scattered, with domestic relations, workers’ compensation, arbitration, contract law, tax law and wills and estates accounting for 1 case apiece – 2.27% of the civil docket.

Table 62

Join us back here next Thursday and we take a close look at the Court’s criminal docket between 2005 and 2009.

Image courtesy of Flickr by dlcau58 (no changes).

 

What Areas of the Law Does the California Supreme Court Draw Its Civil Docket From (2005-2007)?

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Today, we continue our analysis of the areas of law involved in the California Supreme Court’s docket with a look at the civil docket between 2005 and 2007.

Tort law was down somewhat from 2004 to 2005, amounting to only 14% of the civil docket.  The Court heard six cases each – 12% of the civil docket – in three areas of law: constitutional law, civil procedure and insurance.  This represented a slight decline for constitutional law, but a sharp increase in the concentration of insurance law cases.  Government and administrative law was down by one third from 2004, accounting for ten percent of the docket.  Employment law was up significantly, also contributing ten percent of the docket.  The Court heard four cases each in domestic relations and arbitration law – eight percent of the civil docket. Finally, environmental law accounted for four percent of the docket, and the Court heard one case each in consumer law, workers’ compensation, property law and secured transactions.

Table 58

2006 was an unusual year for the Court’s civil docket.  Government and administrative law, generally first or second on the Court’s civil docket, had the biggest single share of the docket at 16.13%, but the Court heard nine cases involving questions of consumer law – 14.52% of the docket.  Tort, employment and civil procedure were next, accounting for 9.68% of the docket apiece.  Constitutional law, insurance law and tax law contributed four cases each – 6.45% of the civil docket. The Court decided two cases apiece in construction law, domestic relations, commercial law, wills and estates and environmental law.   Finally, the Court decided one case apiece in arbitration, property and election law.

Table 59

The data for 2007 is reported in Table 60 below.  Tort law returned to its usual spot at the top of the docket with 17.19% of the cases.  Government and administrative law was right behind, contributing ten cases for 15.63% of the docket.  Consumer law remained common on the Court’s docket, producing 14.06% of the Court’s civil docket.  The Court decided eight cases each in constitutional law and civil procedure – 12.5% of the docket.  Employment law was next, accounting for 7.81% of the caseload, followed by arbitration law with 4.69% of the cases.  The Court decided two cases each in domestic relations, workers’ compensation, commercial law and environmental law.  Finally, the Court heard one case each in insurance and tax law.

Table 60

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Court’s civil docket in 2008 and 2009.

Image courtesy of Flickr by GPS (no changes).

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