Yesterday, we began our consideration of a new issue, reviewing the originating jurisdictions for the Court’s civil docket between 2000 and 2004. We showed that with the exception of Los Angeles leading the way, there seemed to be relatively little relationship between the Court’s docket and population. Today, we consider the Court’s criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile and disciplinary dockets during the same five-year period.
Los Angeles dominates the criminal docket even more than it does the civil side. The Court decided 25 criminal cases originating in Los Angeles in 2000, 20 in 2001, 19 in 2002 and 2003, and 16 in 2004. Although San Francisco had an outsized influence on the civil docket during these five years, it’s nowhere to be seen in the criminal docket, contributing one case in 2000 and 2002, and none at all the other years. For most of this period, the second most common county on the criminal docket was Orange, the third most populous county in the state. The Court decided four criminal cases from Orange County in 2000, five in 2001, six each in 2002 and 2003, and five in 2004. San Diego, a relatively minor contributor to the civil docket during these years, was tied for the third most common county on the criminal docket, accounting for thirteen cases between 2000 and 2004. Surprisingly, the other county contributing thirteen cases was Shasta, which is nowhere to be found on the list of ten most populous counties. The Court heard one criminal case from Shasta County in 2000, two each in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and six in 2004. Santa Clara – the sixth most populous county – was next, producing three criminal cases in 2000, and two per year from 2001 through 2004. Kern County, which like Shasta does not make the top ten counties in population, was next on the list, producing one criminal case in 2000, two in 2001, three each in 2002 and 2003, and two in 2004. Riverside and Alameda Counties, which are fourth and seventh, respectively, in population, were tied for sixth in criminal cases, producing ten each. In both cases, this was to a considerable degree the product of a one-year spike, as Riverside produced half its ten cases in 2001, and Alameda produced five criminal cases in 2002.
Although the California Supreme Court’s civil docket is geographically varied, the criminal docket is even more so. The Court heard criminal cases originating in 16 different jurisdictions in 2000, twenty in 2001, twenty-six different jurisdictions in 2002, twenty-three in 2003 and 24 in 2004.
Join us back here next Thursday, as we turn our attention first to the California Supreme Court’s death penalty docket from 2000 and 2004, and then to the geographical sources of the dockets between 2005 and 2009.