How Do the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ Criminal Dockets Compare (Part 2)?

Yesterday, we began our comparison of the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ criminal dockets for the past twenty-eight years.  We covered the years 1990 through 2003.  Today, we’re looking at the years 2004 to 2017.

From 1990 to 2003, the Illinois Supreme Court wrote more criminal decisions than the California Supreme Court did.  Since that time, the numbers have flipped.  Between 2004 and 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down 353 criminal decisions, while the California Supreme Court published 441. 

In Table 622, we review the Illinois Supreme Court’s criminal cases from 2004 to 2010.  With the death  penalty docket almost entirely wound down, the leading issue on the Court’s criminal docket was criminal procedure (98 cases), followed by constitutional law (91), habeas corpus (48), sentencing law (28) and juvenile issues (23).

Between 2004 and 2010, the top issue on the California Supreme Court’s criminal docket was, as usual, death penalty appeals – 162 cases.  Following that was criminal procedure (69), sentencing law (51), constitutional law (47) and habeas corpus (34).

In Illinois, criminal procedure was up sharply as a share of the docket, from 15.45% in 1997-2003 to 27.77% in 2004-2010.  Constitutional law was essentially flat during these years, rising only from 24.68% of the docket to 25.78%.  Habeas corpus was down significantly, falling from 19.96% of the docket to 13.6%.  Sentencing law was down somewhat, from 8.58% to 7.93%.  Juvenile issues were up slightly, from 5.79% of the docket to 6.52%.   Among the less common areas of law, attorney disciplinary cases fell from 2.15% to 1.13%.  Death penalty cases were down sharply, from 15.24% of the docket to only 4.53%.  Sexual offenses were up from 1.93% to 3.97%.  Mental health issues rose from 0.64% to 1.42%.  Drug offenses doubled, from 0.64% to 1.42% of the docket.

Death penalty cases were sharply up as a share of the docket in California, from 24.2% of the docket from 1997 to 2003 to 36.73% from 2004 to 2010.  Criminal procedure was down several points, from 21.54% to 15.65%.  Sentencing law was fairly flat, from 12.77% to 11.56%.  Constitutional law was down slightly too – from 11.97% of the docket in 1997-2003 to 10.66 from 2004-2010.  Habeas corpus cases were up significantly, from 5.05% to 7.71%.  Among the less common areas of law on the Court’s criminal docket, cases involving sexual offenses were down substantially, from 4.25% of the docket to 1.81%.  Cases involving property crimes were down from 3.99% to 1.59%, as were attorney disciplinary cases – 2.66% to 0.68%.

Finally, we reach the years 2011 to 2017.  Once again, the California Supreme Court was much more active in criminal cases – 368 in California to 252 in Illinois.  The five most common issues on the Illinois Supreme Court’s criminal docket were the same, but with issues 3, 4 and 5 swapping places.  The Court decided 66 criminal procedure cases, 62 constitutional law cases, 31 sentencing law cases, 24 cases involving juvenile issues, and 22 habeas corpus cases.

The caseload in California shifted somewhat.  Death penalty appeals dominated, accounting for 144 cases for the seven years.  Criminal procedure was next (54), then sentencing (46), constitutional law (31) and violent crimes (23).

Criminal procedure was down slightly in Illinois, from 27.77% of the docket in 2004-2010 to 26.19% for 2011-2017.  Constitutional law was down a bit too, from 25.78% to 24.6%.  Sentencing law was up significantly, from 7.93% in 2004-2010 to 12.3% for 2011-2017.  Juvenile issues rose too, from 6.52% to 9.52%.  Habeas cases were down, falling from 13.6% of the docket to 8.73%.  Among the lesser players, death penalty appeals left the docket with statewide abolition from 4.53% for 2004-2010 to zero in the past seven years.  Property crimes doubled, from 1.13% to 2.38%.  Sexual offenses were up about fifty percent, from 3.97% to 5.56%.

Turning back to California, we find that death penalty appeals were only slightly up over the past seven years, from 36.73% of the docket in 2004-2010 to 39.13% in 2011-2017.  Criminal procedure cases actually fell a bit, from 15.65% to 14.67%.  Sentencing law was virtually flat, from 11.56% to 12.5%.  Constitutional law was down a bit, from 10.66% to 8.42%.  Among the less common areas of law, habeas corpus cases were down substantially, from 7.71% of the docket to 3.8%.  Sexual offense cases rose from 1.81% to 3.8%.  Political offenses and driving offenses were both up significantly, but both remained very small pieces of the Court’s docket (0.23% to 1.09% political offenses, 0.23% to 0.54% driving offenses.

Join us next Tuesday at the Illinois Supreme Court Review, and here on Thursday as we turn our attention to a new subject.  And if you’d like to check out the three previous parts of our cross-over post, see below and at ISCR.

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

How Do the Illinois and California Supreme Court’s Criminal Dockets Compare (Part 1)?

Earlier this week, we began a multi-day crossover post at the Illinois Supreme Court Review, comparing the dockets of the Illinois and California Supreme Courts for the past twenty-eight years (1990-2017), and tracing how those Courts’ caseloads have evolved over that period.  In our first two posts, we addressed the Courts’ civil caseloads.  In this post and tomorrow, we’ll be addressing the Courts’ criminal dockets.

We begin with the Illinois Supreme Court, 1990-1996.  Given that the Illinois Supreme Court outpaced the California Supreme Court in civil decisions for the period, it might be logical to expect that the California Supreme Court was more active in criminal cases.  But it was not – the Illinois Supreme Court handed down 461 decisions, while the California Supreme Court handed down 386.  The leading area of law on the Court’s criminal docket was the death penalty in these pre-repeal days (119 cases), followed by constitutional law (96), criminal procedure (78), habeas corpus (61) and sentencing law (30).

The California Supreme Court’s docket was skewed during these years.  Before 1992, the court was still issuing full-blown opinions in a great many attorney disciplinary and admissions cases (regular readers of this blog will have noticed that we define this half of the docket as criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile and attorney discipline cases).  The Court decided sixty-three attorney disciplinary cases in 1990 and 1991 alone – the most common subject in 1990’s criminal docket, and the second most common in 1991.  After that, the Court virtually stopped issuing such opinions, disposing of most disciplinary cases in unpublished orders.  For the entire seven years, the most common subject on the court’s docket was the death penalty (129 cases), followed by attorney discipline (67), criminal procedure (64), sentencing (32), constitutional law (25) and habeas corpus (24).  So the top five most common areas of criminal law in the Illinois Supreme Court’s docket for these years occupy five of the top six slots in California.

Across these first seven years, death penalty cases accounted for 25.81% of the Illinois Supreme Court’s criminal docket, followed by constitutional law (20.82%), criminal procedure (16.92%), habeas corpus (13.23%) and sentencing law (6.51%).  Attorney disciplinary cases, the second most common item on the California Supreme Court’s docket, were sixth in Illinois at 5.21% of the docket.

In California during these years, the death penalty represented slightly over one-third of the criminal docket – 33.42%.  Attorney discipline cases were next, almost entirely on the strength of their predominance in 1990 and 1991 – 17.36% of the docket for 1990-1996.  Following that were criminal procedure (16.58%), sentencing law (8.29%), constitutional law (6.48%) and habeas corpus (6.22%).

For the years 1997 to 2003, the Illinois Supreme Court once again outpaced the California Supreme Court on the criminal side, 466 decisions to 376.  The docket shifted emphasis as the state began its glide path to death penalty abolition.  For these years, constitutional law was the most common criminal law subject (115 cases), followed by habeas corpus (93), criminal procedure (72), the death penalty (71) and sentencing law (40).

There were changes in the top five in California too.  Once again, the death penalty was the most common subject, with ninety-one cases.  But criminal procedure was close behind, accounting for 81 cases.  After that came sentencing law (48), constitutional law (45) and violent crimes (28).

Overall in Illinois, constitutional law was up only slightly, from 20.82% of the docket for 1990-1996 to 24.68% in 1997-2003.  Habeas corpus was up sharply, from 13.23% to 19.96%.  Criminal procedure was down slightly, from 16.92% to 15.45%.  Of course, the death penalty was way down as a share of the docket, from 25.81% to 15.24%.  Sentencing law was up a bit, from 6.51% to 8.58%.  Among the less common areas of law, attorney disciplinary cases fell from 5.21% of the docket to only 2.15%.  Property crimes fell from 1.3% to 0.64%.  Sexual offenses accounted for a larger share, from 0.65% to 1.93%.  Juvenile offenses were way up too, from 1.3% to 5.79%.

For the years 1997-2003, death penalty cases fell as a share of the California Supreme Court’s criminal docket, from 33.42% to 24.2%.  Although criminal procedure was right behind in absolute numbers, it actually was down a bit as a share of the docket, from 16.92% to 15.45%.  Sentencing law cases rose from 6.51% to 8.58% of the criminal docket, while constitutional law rose from 6.48% to 11.97%.  Violent crimes cases increased their share of the docket from 3.63% to 7.45%.  Most of the lesser areas of law on the docket were relatively flat as a share of the total caseload with the exception of sexual offenses and property crimes, both of which significantly increased their share – sexual offenses went from 1.04% in 1990-1996 to 4.25% in 1997-2003, and property crimes cases shot up from 0.78% to 3.99%.  Attorney disciplinary cases fell from 17.36% of the docket to only 2.66% for 1997-2003.

Join us back here tomorrow as we conclude our four-part series comparing and contrasting the dockets of the Illinois and California Supreme Courts.

Image courtesy of Flickr by StantonTCady (no changes).

How Has the Court Decided Cases Involving Property Crimes Since 1990?

Yesterday, we looked at the Court’s history since 1990 with civil arbitration cases.  Today, we’re back on the criminal side of the docket, taking a closer look at the Court’s decision making in cases involving property crimes such as robbery, forgery and theft. Between 1990 and 2017, the Court’s cases were almost evenly split between prosecution wins from the Court of Appeal and defense wins – of the Court’s thirty-four cases involving property crimes, 48.65% were won by the prosecution below.  The Court has a somewhat higher-than-expected reversal rate on prosecution wins – 61.11% have been reversed in whole or in part. The Court affirmed one prosecution win per year in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2004, two in 2008 and one in 2009. The Court reversed one prosecution win per year in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, and reversed two in 2016. The Court’s reversal rate of defendants’ wins has been considerably higher.  Since 1990, the Court has reversed 84.21% of the cases it’s heard won by defendants below.  The Court has affirmed only three defendants’ wins – one each in 1998, 2012 and 2016. On the other hand, the Court reversed one defendant’s win in 1991, one in 1994, two in 1999, three in 2000, one in 2001, four in 2002 and one per year in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2012. Overall, the Court has reversed outright in 58.82% of its property crimes cases.  When we add in the partial reversals, the reversal rate goes to 76.47%.  Between 1990 and 1995, the Court reversed two of three cases and partially reversed the third decision.  Between 1996 and 2000, the reversal rate was 77.78%.  Between 2001 and 2005, the Court’s reversal rate was 87.5%.  Between 2006 and 2010, the Court reversed in only two of five cases.  Since 2010, the Court has reversed completely in seven of nine cases for a reversal rate of 77.78%. Join us back here next Thursday as we start work on two new areas of law. Image courtesy of Flickr by Lisa Williams (no changes).

How Has the Court Decided Arbitration Cases Since 1990?

Last week, we reviewed the year-by-year totals for the Court’s arbitration cases and cases involving property crimes.  Today, we’re taking a closer look at the data for arbitration cases.

The Court’s 41 arbitration cases since 1990 have been almost equally split between defendants’ and plaintiffs’ wins – defendants’ wins from the Court of Appeal have been 51.22% of the total.  The Court has reversed 52.38% of the defendants’ wins – a few points below their trend across all cases.

The Court affirmed two defense wins in 1992, one in 1993, one each in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 and one in 2016.

The Court reversed one defense win per year in 1994, 1997 and 200, two in 2005, and one per year in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2017.

The Court has been far more likely to reverse plaintiffs’ wins from the Court of Appeal in arbitration cases than cases won by the defendants below.  Since 1990, the reversal rate for plaintiffs’ wins is 75%.  The Court affirmed one plaintiffs’ win in 2000, two in 2003 and one in 2013 and 2016.

The Court reversed a plaintiff’s win a year in 1996, 1999 and 2005, two in 2007 and 2008, one in 2009, two in 2010, one per year in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and two in 2015.

In Table 608, we report the Court’s overall reversal and partial reversal rate, irrespective of which party won below.  Since 1990, the Court has reversed 75.61% of the arbitration decisions it has reviewed.  The Court reversed in two of four cases between 1990 and 1995.  The Court reversed in four of six cases from 1996 to 2000.  Between 2001 and 2005, the Court reversed in five of eight cases – 62.5%.   Between 2006 and 2010, the Court reversed in twelve of thirteen cases – 92.31%.  All but one of those twelve cases were complete reversals, not reversals in part.  Since 2010, the Court has reversed in eight of ten arbitration cases.  All eight reversals were complete rather than partial.

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Court’s cases involving property crimes.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Gregory Varnum (no changes).

How Many Cases Involving Property Crimes Does the Court Decide a Year?

Yesterday, we reviewed the yearly numbers of arbitration cases on the Court’s civil docket.  Today, we’re on the criminal side, looking at cases involving property crimes such as robbery, forgery and theft.  Since 1991, the Court has decided thirty-four cases involving the elements and defenses to property crimes.

The Court decided one case per year in 1991, 1994 and 1995.

The Court decided one case in 1998, three in 1999, five in 2000, one in 2001, four in 2002 and one in 2003.

The Court decided one case per year in 2004, 2005 and 2006, two in 2008 and one each in 2009 and 2010.

The Court decided two cases in 2011, two more in 2012, one each in 2013 and 2014 and three in 2016.

Join us back here next Thursday as we take a more detailed look at the Court’s arbitration decisions.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Heather Paul (no changes).

How Many Arbitration Cases Does the Court Decide a Year?

This week, we’re continuing our review of the Court’s case work, one area of law at a time, with two new subjects: today, civil arbitration cases, and tomorrow – cases involving the elements and defenses to property crimes.  Arbitration cases have taken on increased importance in recent years with a stream of decisions from the United States Supreme Court.  Since 1991, the Court has decided forty-one arbitration cases (more than double the total decided by the Illinois Supreme Court during a similar period).

The Court had no arbitration cases in 1991 but decided two in 1992 and one each in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997.

The Court decided one arbitration case in 1999, three in 2000 and three more in 2003.

The Court decided one arbitration case in 2004, four in 2005, two in 2006, three in 2007, four in 2008, one in 2009 and three in 2010.

The Court decided one arbitration case in 2011 and 2012, two in 2013, one in 2014, two each in 2015 and 2016 and one in 2017.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the Court’s cases involving property crimes.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Mark Gunn (no changes).

How Has the Court Decided Criminal Cases Involving Sexual Offenses Since 1991?

Yesterday, we took a close look in the civil docket at the Court’s record since 1991 with employment law cases. Today, we’re on the criminal side of the docket, taking a further look at the Court’s cases involving sexual offenses.

Over the entire twenty-seven year period, 52.38% of the Court’s criminal cases involving sexual offenses were won by the prosecution at the Court of Appeal. Of those prosecution wins, the Court reversed only 27.27%.

The Court affirmed one prosecution win in 1992, two in 1999, three in 2001, one in 2002, two in 2003 and 2004, one in 2011, three in 2012 and one in 2013.

The Court reversed one prosecution win in 1999, one in 2001, one in 2002, two in 2004 and one in 2010.

The Court’s overall reversal rate when reviewing cases won by the defendants at the Court of Appeal is 95%. Because of the rarity of affirmances, we present both results in Table 594 below. The Court reversed one defense win per year in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 2001. In 2002, the Court affirmed won, but reversed two. The Court then reversed two cases in 2005, one each year from 2010 to 2012, three in 2013, two in 2014 and one each in 2015 and 2017.

Overall, the Court has reversed 59.52% of criminal judgments involving sexual offenses (curiously, all but one of the reversals was complete as opposed to reversed-in-part). From 1991 to 1995, the Court reversed 75% of the time. From 1996 to 2000, the Court reversed in two of four cases. From 2001 to 2005, the reversal was once again 50% – nine of eighteen cases. From 2006 to 2010, the Court decided only two such cases, reversing in both. Since 2011, the Court has reversed in 64.29% of its cases.

Join us back here next Thursday as we turn our attention to two new areas of law.

Image courtesy of Flickr by DocentJoyce (no changes).

How Has the Court Decided Employment Law Cases Since 1991?

Last week, we addressed the Court’s year-by-year history with employment law cases. Today, we’re taking a closer look: (1) does the Court tend to take a disproportionate share of cases won by one side or the other at the Court of Appeal? (2) does the Court reverse either side’s wins at an unexpectedly high (or low) rate? and (3) how often does the Court reverse employment law decisions in general in comparison to the rest of the civil docket?

Since 1991, the Court has taken slightly more employers’ wins from the Court of Appeal than employees’ wins – 54.74% of the total cases. However, the reversal rate on employers’ wins is reasonably close to the Court’s overall trends – 55.77%.

The Court has affirmed twenty-three employer wins over the entire twenty-seven year period: two in 1998, one each in 1999 and 2000, two in 2002 and 2005, one in 2006, two in 2008, five in 2009, three in 2010, one in 2011, two in 2012 and one in 2013.

The Court reversed one employer win in 1995, two in 1997, one in 1999, two in 2000, one in 2001, two each year from 2002 to 2004, one in 2005, two in 2006 and 2007, one in 2008 and 2009, two in 2010, one in 2011, 2012 and 2014, two in 2015 and one in 2016 and 2017.

The Court’s reversal rate on employee wins from the Court of Appeal is slightly higher: 58.14%. The Court affirmed two employee wins in 1992, one in 1994, three in 1996, one in 1998, 2001 and 2003, two in 2004, one in 2005, two in 2008, and one per year in 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2016.

The Court reversed one employee win in 1993, two in 1994 and 1995, one in 1998 and 2000, two in 2002, three in 2003, one in 2005, three in 2006, two in 2007, one in 2008, three in 2010 and one per year in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Overall, the Court has reversed in 57.89% of its employment law cases since 1991. The Court reversed in two-thirds of its cases from 1991 to 1995, 46.67% from 1996 to 2000, 56.52% from 2001 to 2005, 59.38% from 2006 to 2010, and 62.5% of its employment law cases since 2011.

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the criminal law docket for a review of the Court’s cases involving sexual offenses.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Scrubhiker (no changes).

How Many Cases Involving Sexual Offenses Does the Court Decide a Year (1991-2017)?

Last time, we reviewed the Court’s year-by-year load of employment law cases. Today we’re on the criminal side of the docket, looking at the Court’s history with sexual offense cases. Since 1991, the Court has decided forty-two cases which primarily involved such issues.

The Court had no such cases in 1991, two in 1992 and one each in 1994, 1995 and 1997.

The Court decided three cases in 1999, five in 2001 and 2002, two in 2003 and four in 2004.

The Court decided two cases in 2005 but had none from 2006 through 2009. The Court decided two cases each in 2010 and 2011.

The Court had four cases in 2012, four more in 2013, two in 2014 and one each in 2015 and 2017.

Join us back here on Thursday as we take a closer look at the Court’s recent history with employment law cases.

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

 

How Many Employment Law Cases Has the Court Decided a Year Since 1991?

Last week, we wrapped up our two-week consideration of the Court’s history with tax cases and attorney disciplinary matters.  This week and next, we’re turning to two new topics: on the civil side, the Court’s history with employment law.  On the criminal side, the Court’s cases primarily involving sex offense issues.

Since 1991, the Court has decided ninety-seven employment law cases.  The Court had none in 1991, but two in 1992, one in 1993, three per year in 1994, 1995 and 1996 and two in 1997.

The Court decided four cases in 1998, two in 1999, five in 2000, two in 2001, six in 2002 and 2003 and four in 2004.

The Court decided five employment law cases in 2005, six in 2006, four in 2007, six in 2008, seven in 2009, nine in 2010 and four in 2011.

The Court decided three cases in 2012, two in 2013, four in 2014, two in 2015, three in 2016 and two in 2017.

Join us back here tomorrow as turn our attention to the Court’s history with prosecutions for sex offenses.

Image courtesy of Flickr by K Conkling (no changes).

LexBlog