Which Side Tends to File the Most Amicus Briefs in Criminal Cases (Part 2)?

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Yesterday, we looked at the court’s experience with amicus briefs in criminal cases for the first half of our study period, 1994-2005.  Today, we look at the data for the second half of the period.

For the most part, the relationship between the sides was the same – petitioners tend to get more amicus support in criminal cases than do respondents.  In 2006, amicus briefs were quite rare on the criminal side – 0.09 per case supporting petitioners to 0.04 for respondents.  In 2007, petitioners averaged 0.16, while respondents got the support of 0.23 briefs per case.  In 2008, petitioners averaged 0.3 briefs per case to 0.11 for respondents. In 2009, petitioners were down slightly, averaging 0.28 briefs per case, while respondents averaged 0.16.  In 2010, briefs supporting petitioners reached their highest level of the period, as petitioners averaged 0.59 amici per case.  Respondents averaged 0.1.

2011 was another very light year – petitioners averaged 0.08 briefs, while respondents averaged 0.06.  Amici were up a bit on both sides in 2012 – 0.21 briefs for petitioners and 0.16 for respondents.  In 2013, petitioners averaged 0.1 amicus briefs per case to 0.16 for respondents.  In 2014, petitioners averaged 0.22 amici per case to 0.46 for respondents.  In 2015, petitioners averaged 0.4 briefs per case, and respondents dropped to almost nothing, averaging only 0.07 amici per case.  Last year, petitioners averaged 0.31 amici per case, while respondents averaged 0.19.

Table 210

Join us back here next Thursday as we continue our examination of the Court’s experience with amicus briefs.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Mike Oliver (no changes).

Which Side Tends to File the Most Amicus Briefs in Criminal Cases (Part 1)?

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Last week, we reviewed the year-by-year data since 1994 for amicus briefs, looking at whether more amici tend to support the petitioner or the respondent.  This week, we’re looking at the Court’s experience with amicus briefs in criminal cases.

The primary lesson of the data is the obvious one: amicus briefs are far less commonplace in criminal cases than in civil cases.  Nevertheless, the relation between the sides was the same between 1994 and 2005: in every year but one, there were more amici supporting the petitioner than supporting the respondent.

In 1994, petitioners averaged 0.51 amicus briefs to 0.39 for respondents.  That was the highest level amicus briefs reached on each side over the following decade. In 1995, petitioners averaged 0.16 amici to 0.14 for respondents.  In 1996, petitioners averaged 0.38 amicus briefs supporting them to 0.36 for respondents.  In 1997, petitioners averaged slightly fewer briefs – 0.32 per case – but respondents tailed off even more, to 0.18.  Amicus briefs were fairly steady in 1998 and 1999 – petitioners averaged 0.24 and 0.27 briefs per case, while respondents averaged 0.13 and 0.17, before decreases on both sides in 2000, when petitioners averaged only 0.11 to 0.07 per case for respondents.

Briefs for petitioners were up a bit in 2001 to 0.22 per case, while briefs supporting respondents were flat at 0.07.  In 2002, briefs were up on both sides, averaging 0.37 per case supporting petitioners to 0.32 for respondents.  In 2003, petitioners averaged 0.27 per case to 0.11 for respondents.  In 2004, petitioners averaged 0.19 to only 0.07 per case supporting respondents.  2005 was the only year in the period when respondents averaged more amici than petitioners.  That year, petitioners averaged 0.21 briefs per case to 0.25 supporting respondents.

Table 209

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the data from 2006 through 2016.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ed Bierman (no changes).

Which Side Tends to File the Most Amicus Briefs in Civil Cases (Part 2)?

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Yesterday, we looked at the year-by-year data in civil cases, dividing total amicus briefs up by the side supported – petitioner, respondent, and neither side/can’t determine.  We discovered that three quarters of the time between 1994 and 2005, the petitioner averaged more amicus briefs than the respondent.  So what about the second half of the period, between 2006 and 2016?

The same, only more so – in each of the past eleven years, petitioners have averaged more amicus briefs than respondents.  We report the data in Table 208 below.  In 2006, petitioners averaged 1.79 briefs to 1.4 supporting respondents.  The following year, petitioners were down a bit, averaging 1.71 briefs, while respondents averaged 1.58 briefs.  For 2008, petitioners and respondents were both up significantly, with petitioners averaging 2.64 briefs and respondents 2.28.

Petitioners’ briefs stayed close to that same level until 2015.  For 2009, petitioners averaged 2.77 briefs to 1.73 for respondents.  In 2010, petitioners averaged 2.24 extra briefs, to 1.31 for respondents. In 2011, petitioners were flat – again averaging 2.24 briefs.  Respondents averaged 1.48 amicus briefs.  In 2012, petitioners were up to 2.96 extra briefs, their highest level of the period.  Respondents averaged 2 amicus briefs per civil case.   In 2013, petitioners averaged 2.28 amicus briefs, but respondents were down too, to 1.69.  For 2014, petitioners were up to 2.78 briefs per case, and respondents averaged 2.04.  For 2015, both sides were down – petitioners averaged 1.81 amicus briefs, while respondents averaged 1.69.  Last year, petitioners averaged 2 amicus briefs per civil case.  Respondents averaged 1.89.

Table 208

Join us back here next week as we track the data on amicus briefs in criminal cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Greg Gjerdingen (no changes).

Which Side Tends to File the Most Amicus Briefs in Civil Cases (Part 1)?

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For the past several weeks, we’ve been reviewing the Supreme Court tenure of soon-to-retire Justice Kathryn Werdegar.  This week, we begin a new topic.  Several weeks ago, we tracked the average number of amicus briefs filed, case by case, from year to year.  But with the expansion of our data library, we can now track the average number of amicus briefs filed according to which side the amicus supported.  So who averages more briefs, petitioners or respondents?  We begin today by reviewing the yearly data for civil cases between 1994 and 2005.

We report the data in Table 207 below, divided up by average briefs supporting the petitioners, the respondents, and briefs which either took no side, or which couldn’t be definitively assigned based on the online docket.  We see that three quarters of the time between 1994 and 2005, petitioners tended to average more amicus support than respondents did.  The yearly averages were surprisingly stable on both sides of the case.  In 1994, petitioners in civil cases averaged 1.61 amicus briefs.  The following year, the average was 1.56.  In 1996, the average was 1.23.  For the same period, the averages for respondents were 0.98, 1.37 and 1.17, respectively.

In 1997, petitioners averaged 2.1 additional briefs to 1.24 for respondents.  The following year, petitioners’ briefs had fallen sharply to 1.17, while respondents’ briefs were relatively flat at 1.21 – one of the few years when respondents averaged more.  For 1999, petitioners averaged 2.02 briefs to 1.37 for respondents.  For 2000, petitioners received the support of 2.18 amici to 1.65 for respondents.  For 2001, petitioners’ support had fallen to an average of 1.6, while respondents got 1.44 amicus briefs on average.

For 2002, respondents averaged slightly more amicus briefs than petitioners in civil cases – 1.46 for respondents, 1.42 for petitioners.  But the following year, petitioners were up to an average of 2.7, while respondents were flat at 1.5.  For 2004, petitioners had fallen to an average of 1.58 amicus briefs, while respondents were up a bit at 1.77.  For 2005, petitioners were up about 50%, to 2.22 briefs per case.  Respondents averaged 2.04 briefs per case.

Table 207

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the data on briefs per side in civil cases between 2006 and 2016.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Prayitno (no changes).

Where is Justice Werdegar on the Ideological Spectrum for Criminal Law Cases?

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Last week, we continued our analysis of Justice Werdegar’s career by reviewing her majority opinions in criminal cases.

We report Justice Werdegar’s dissents in criminal cases, year by year, in Table 204.  Justice Werdegar wrote two dissents in 1995, five in 1997, three in 1998, two in 1999 and three in 2000.  Justice Werdegar wrote two dissents in 2002 and 2003, one in 2004, two in 2005, six in 2006, two in 2007 and one in 2008.  She wrote four dissents in 2010, six in 2011, three in 2012, two in 2013, one in 2014, three in 2015 and one in 2016.

Table 204

We report Justice Werdegar’s dissents in criminal cases by area of law in Table 205.  During her twenty-three years on the Court, she has written two dissents in cases involving juvenile issues, fourteen in constitutional law cases and thirteen in death penalty cases.  She has written five relating to criminal procedure, four involving the elements of violent crimes, seven involving sentencing law, one involving habeas corpus law, four involving sexual offenses and one involving driving offenses.

Table 205

In Table 206, we report the percentage of Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions in criminal cases, subject by subject, in which the prosecution prevailed.   The prosecution prevailed in 88.24% of Justice Werdegar’s death penalty majority opinions.  The prosecution won 85.71% of Justice Werdegar’s cases involving the elements of violent crimes. The prosecution won two-thirds of Justice Werdegar’s cases involving juvenile issues, 58.33% of constitutional law cases, 100% of case involving property crimes, financial crimes and sexual offenses, 76.67% of cases involving criminal procedure, 52.94% of cases involving sentencing law, sixty percent of habeas corpus cases, half of cases involving drug offenses, and none of the majority opinions involving political offenses and mental health issues.

Table 206

Join us back here next Thursday as we turn our attention to another aspect of Justice Werdegar’s career.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Prayitno (no changes).

Which Area of Criminal Law Has Justice Werdegar Written the Most Majority Opinions In?

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Last week, we analyzed Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions in civil cases.  This week, we’ll look at Justice Werdegar’s opinions in criminal cases.

We report Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions, year by year, in criminal cases in Table 202.  Justice Werdegar’s high points have come in 1996, 2007 and 2008, with ten majority opinions each year.  She wrote eight majority opinions in criminal cases in 1995, four in 1997, five in 1998, six in 1999, eight in 2000 and five in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.  She wrote five majority opinions in 2005 and five in 2006.  In 2009, she wrote seven majority opinions in criminal cases.  She wrote eight majorities in 2010, seven in 2011, nine in 2012, six in 2013, seven in 2014, nine in 2015, eight in 2016 and one in 2017.

Table 202

In Table 203, we report Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions in criminal cases, divided by area of law.  Justice Werdegar has written fifty-five majority opinions in death penalty appeals and thirty-two majorities in criminal procedures cases.  She has written nine opinions in cases involving juvenile issues, twelve in constitutional law cases, three in property crimes cases, seven in cases involving the elements of violent crimes, seventeen in sentencing cases, fifteen in habeas corpus cases, one in a case involving financial crimes, two in cases involving sexual offenses, two in cases involving drug crimes, one in a case involving political crimes, and one in a case involving mental health issues.

Table 203

Join us back here tomorrow as we continue our analysis of Justice Werdegar’s voting record in criminal cases.

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

Where is Justice Werdegar on the Ideological Spectrum, Area of Law by Area of Law

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Our statistical retrospective of Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar’s tenure on the California Supreme Court continues today with an analysis of Justice Werdegar’s dissents and an analysis of the ideological distribution of Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions.

In Table 200 below, we report Justice Werdegar’s dissents divided by area of law.  Justice Werdegar has written two dissents in arbitration law, five in constitutional law, nine in tort law, one in domestic relations, ten in government and administrative law, eight in employment law and one in workers’ compensation.  Justice Werdegar has written seven dissents in civil procedure, one in insurance, two in commercial law, two in tax law, one in election law and one in secured transactions.

Table 200 A

In Table 201 below, we report the fraction of Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions in each area of law in which the defendants prevailed.

Justice Werdegar has found for defendants more than fifty percent of the time in five areas of law: taxation (66.67%), tort (56%), arbitration (55.56%), government and administrative law (55.56%), employment law (52.94%) and workers’ compensation (50%).

Justice Werdegar has found for defendants less than half the time in eight areas of law.  Her majority opinions in environmental law have found for defendants 45.45% of the time.  She’s found for defendants 42.86% of the time in domestic relations cases.  Defendants have prevailed in 35.71% of the civil procedure cases for which Justice Werdegar has written the majority opinion.  The defendant has prevailed in one-third of insurance, contracts and wills and estates cases.  The defendant prevailed in 26.32% of constitutional law cases and in 14.29% of commercial law cases.

Table 201

Join us back here next Thursday as we continue our analysis of Justice Werdegar’s tenure on the Court.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Olaf Gradin (no changes).

Which Area of Law Has Justice Werdegar Written the Most Civil Majority Opinions In?

22717550045_d34ebc28a4_zLast week, we began our statistical retrospective of Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar’s twenty-three years on the California Supreme Court.  Today, we further consider Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions and dissents in civil cases.

In Table 198, we once again report Justice Werdegar’s year-by-year majority opinions in civil cases.  She wrote five majority opinions in 1995, four in 1996, eight in 1997, nine in 1998 and seven in 1999.  In 2000, she wrote nine majority opinions.  In 2001, she wrote seven majority opinions, and wrote nine each in 2002 and 2003.  In 2004, she wrote fourteen majority opinions.  The next year, she wrote six majority opinions.  The following year, she wrote twice as many majorities, and a further ten in 2007.  In 2008, she wrote seven civil majority opinions.  She wrote six each in 2009 and 2010, nine in 2011 and five in 2012 and 2013.  In 2014, Justice Werdegar wrote four majority opinions in civil cases.  She wrote seven in 2015, five in 2016 and one majority opinion to date in 2017.

Table 198

In Table 199 below, we divide up Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions by area of law.  Over her career to date, Justice Werdegar has written nine majority opinions in arbitration.   She’s written nineteen opinions in constitutional law, twenty-five in tort law, seven in domestic relations and six in wills and estates. She’s written nineteen majority opinions on government and administrative law and sixteen about employment law.  Justice Werdegar has written twenty-seven majority opinions in civil procedure, six in insurance law, eight in commercial law, three about contract law, three about tax law and eleven opinions arising from environmental law.

Table 199

Join us back here tomorrow as we look further at Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions.

Image courtesy of Flickr by V. V. Nincic (no changes).

Justice Werdegar By the Numbers, Part 2: Voting to Reverse and Joining the Court Majority

48039758_ab2d1a452a_z (1)Yesterday, we began our retrospective of the tenure of Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, who will retire on August 31, 2017.  We tracked the total number of cases, both civil and criminal, in which Justice Werdegar has participated, as well as looking at how frequently she filed opinions – majorities, concurrences and dissents – from year to year in civil and criminal cases.

Today, we consider two more statistics which suggest how Justice Werdegar’s voting patterns compare to the other Justices she has served with during her twenty-three years on the Court.  In Table 194 below, we plot the percentage of civil cases each year in which Justice Werdegar voted to reverse against the Court’s overall reversal percentage.  Overall, Justice Werdegar has voted to reverse in whole or in part in 542 of the 969 civil cases she has participated in – quite close to the Court-wide reversal rate.  She has stayed quite close to the Court’s majority for most of her tenure, as her personal reversal rate has seldom strayed more than a few points above or below the courtwide average.

Table 194

In Table 195, we plot the percentage of criminal cases each year in which Justice Werdegar voted to reverse against the Court’s overall reversal percentage on that side of the docket.  Overall, Justice Werdegar has voted to verse in whole or in part in 526 of the 1,286 criminal cases in which she has participated – 40.9% of the time.  Although the gap betweeen Justice Werdegar’s reversal rate and the Courtwide average has occasionally gotten a bit higher than on the civil side, for most of her tenure the same conclusion applies – Justice Werdegar’s voting patterns have been quite close to the Court’s majority view.

Table 195

In Table 196, we consider the year-by-year percentage of civil cases in which Justice Werdegar has been in the majority.  Overall, Justice Werdegar has voted with the majority in 888 of 969 civil cases – 91.64%.  In sixteen of her twenty-three years, she has voted with the majority in at least nine of every ten cases (1994-95, 1997-99, 2002-05, 2008-09, 2011-13, 2015 and 2017).  Her lowest-ever percentage of majority votes was in 2001, when she still voted with the majority 76.6% of the time.

Table 196

Finally, in Table 197, we report the percentage of criminal cases in which Justice Werdegar has voted with the majority.  Overall, she has voted with the majority in 1,201 of 1,286 criminal and quasi-criminal matters – 93.39%.  In eighteen of her twenty-three years, her majority percentage has been 90% or more (1994-1996, 1998, 2001-04, 2007-10 and 2012-2017).  Justice Werdegar’s lowest-ever percentage of majority votes in criminal cases was in 2011, when she voted with the majority 74% of the time, while she voted with the majority in every criminal case in 1996 and so far in 2017.

Table 197

Join us back here next Thursday as our analysis of Justice Werdegar’s voting record continues.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Kai Schreiber (no changes).

Justice Werdegar By the Numbers (Part 1 in a Series)

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Early last month, Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar announced that she will retire from the California Supreme Court, effective August 31, 2017. Justice Werdegar’s retirement caps a distinguished twenty-three year career on the Supreme Court. Prior to her elevation to the Supreme Court, Justice Werdegar served as as Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three.

With Justice Werdegar’s upcoming retirement, Governor Jerry Brown will have an opportunity to nominate his fourth member of the Court, turning a four-to-three majority of Republican nominees into a four-to-three Democratic majority. We begin our analysis of how Justice Werdegar’s retirement might affect the Court with a retrospective of Justice Werdegar’s career.

Justice Werdegar took her seat on the Court on June 3, 1994, replacing Justice Edward Panelli. From that day to now, she has cast votes in 2,255 cases – 969 civil cases and 1,286 criminal, quasi-criminal and disciplinary matters. She has written 324 majority opinions – 166 in civil cases and 158 in criminal cases. Justice Werdegar’s most active years in terms of majority opinions were 2004, when she wrote fourteen majority opinions in civil cases, 2006 (twelve majorities in civil cases), 2007 (ten majorities in civil cases, ten in criminal cases) and 2008 (ten majorities in criminal cases).

Table 191

She has filed 125 concurring opinions – 53 in civil cases and 72 in criminal cases.

Table 192

She has also filed 101 dissents – 50 in civil cases, 51 in criminal cases.

Table 193

Comparing these numbers to Justice Werdegar’s overall caseload shows that she filed concurrences in 5.47% of civil cases she participated in and 5.6% of criminal cases. She filed dissents in 5.16% of civil cases and 3.97% of criminal cases.

Join us back here tomorrow, when we’ll compare Justice Werdegar’s voting over her career to the Court as a whole.

Image courtesy of Flickr by James Brewins (no changes).

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