Yesterday, we reviewed the variables which make up our sixteen year database. Today, we turn to our first question – comparing the jurisdictional sources of the California Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets.

We report the breakdown for the civil docket in 2000 in Table 2 below. Final judgments appealed under C.C.P. 904.1(a)(1) comprised 77.55% of the civil docket – 38 cases. This would turn out to be the biggest share of the docket accounted for by final judgments in this first six years of our period of study. The next biggest element was writs of mandate – 4 cases, or 8.16% of the civil docket. The Court decided two petitions for writ of administrative mandate (C.C.P. 1094.5) and two certified questions (currently Rule 8.548). The remainder of the Court’s docket was scattered, with one order denying arbitration, a workers’ compensation case and an original petition for writ of mandate.

Table 2

Appeals from final judgments were somewhat down in 2001, falling to 58.33% of the civil docket. Petitions for writs of administrative mandate rose to second place, accounting for 8.33% of the caseload. Right behind that were three traditional petitions for writ of mandate and three more certified questions from the Ninth Circuit. In 2001, the Court decided two workers’ compensation cases, or 4.16% of the civil docket. The remainder of the docket consisted of one case each in five different areas.

Table 3

Final judgments under C.C.P. 904.1(a)(1) were up slightly as a share of the civil docket in 2002 to 64.58% of the docket. Petitions for writ of mandate to courts (C.C.P. 1085) were back in second place at 14.58%, followed by certified questions and petitions for writ of administrative mandate at 8.33% each (4 cases). The Court also decided two appeals from orders on anti-SLAPP motions, accounting for the final 4.17% of the civil docket.

Table 4

In 2003, final judgments edged down slightly to 59.09% of the civil docket (26 cases). The Court decided five petitions for writ of administrative mandate, the only other jurisdictional category to command 10% or more of the civil docket at 11.36%. The Court decided four appeals from arbitration orders (9.09%) and two appeals from injunction orders (4.55%). The rest of the docket was scattered among various provisions accounting for one case each.

Table 5

Although the Court heard five more appeals from final judgments in 2004, as a fraction of the civil docket, the level was static at 59.62% of the civil docket. Once again, petitions for writ of mandate were the next biggest source of the Court’s business, with 15.38% of the civil docket coming from petitions directed to lower courts and 11.54% from petitions for writ of administrative mandate. The Court heard two appeals from post-judgment orders under C.C.P. 904.1(a)(2), and two more anti-SLAPP motions (3.85% of the civil docket each).

Table 6

Finally, in 2005, the Court decided 30 appeals from final judgments, or 61.22% of the civil docket. Petitions for writ of mandate comprised another one-fifth of the docket – 12.24% from petitions for writ of administrative mandate and 10.2% from petitions directed to courts. The Court also decided three more arbitration cases, two cases under C.C.P. 904.1(a)(10) (probate and family law appeals), and one each from three areas: certified questions from the Ninth Circuit, workers’ compensation, and injunction orders.

Table 7

Join us back here later today as we contrast the data above to the Court’s docket of criminal and quasi-criminal cases for the same period.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Kevin Stanchfield (no changes).