Yesterday, we continued our analysis of the civil and criminal dockets at the California Supreme Court over the past sixteen years with a look at the jurisdictional sources of the civil docket between 2006 and 2010. Today, we turn to the criminal docket during those same years.
As we showed last week, review of final judgments is consistently less dominant a part of the criminal docket than it is on the civil side. In 2006, final judgments weren’t even the largest single share of the docket. The Court decided 22 death penalty appeals, or 41.51% of the criminal docket, and 19 appeals from final judgments (35.85%). The Court heard five appeals from guilty pleas, accounting for another 9.43% of the docket. Another 5.66% of the docket consisted of appeals from habeas petitions in death penalty cases, followed by 3.77% from Penal Code Section 1238, which enumerates certain pre- and post-trial orders which are appealable as of right, and another 3.77% in juvenile cases.
For 2007, final judgments were slightly up and death penalty appeals were somewhat down. Appeals from final judgments accounted for 37.7% of the criminal docket, with 26.23% arising from death penalty appeals. The rest of the docket was widely scattered. Petitions for original writs and appeals from guilty pleas comprised 8.2% apiece of the docket. Section 1238 was another 4.92%. The Court heard two death penalty habeas appeals and several more under various provisions of the Welfare and Institutions Code governing the juvenile courts.
The following year, the criminal docket was concentrated in a somewhat more limited number of areas. Final judgments and death penalty appeals accounted for 71% of the docket (40.3% and 31.34%, respectively). The only other category accounting for more than 10% was petitions for original writs, at 10.45%. The Court heard three appeals from guilty pleas, and three habeas petitions each in death penalty and non-death cases.
Both of the leading areas were relatively flat in 2009, with final judgments accounting for 40.98% of the criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile and disciplinary docket, and death penalty appeals amounting to another 34.43%. The Court decided another three appeals from guilty pleas under Penal Code Section 1237.5 (4.92%) and three appeals from habeas petitions – two in death cases, one in a non-death case. Another 1.64% of the docket consisted of appealable orders under Penal Code Section 1238, and the Court decided several juvenile cases as well.
In 2010, appeals from final judgments and in death penalty cases were once again almost even. The Court decided 24 appeals from final judgments (32.88% of the docket), and 23 death penalty appeals (31.51%). Non-death habeas appeals accounted for 12.33% of the docket, and petitions for original writs were another 9.59%. Habeas appeals in death cases and Section 1238 appeals accounted for 4.11% of the docket apiece. The Court also decided two appeals from guilty pleas (2.74%).
Join us back here next Thursday, as we turn our attention to the years 2011 through 2015.