Today, we conclude our analysis of the originating jurisdictions for the California Supreme Court’s civil, criminal and death penalty dockets between 2000 and 2015.
We began our analysis by reviewing the top ten counties in California in terms of population. How closely do those counties’ share of the population match their shares of each docket? Although there’s been some variation when we address the data a few years at a time, over the entire sixteen years, the answer is: pretty well. We report the data in Table 44 below. Los Angeles is a bit overrepresented in each docket, but not by much. While LA County contained 26.38% of the state’s population in 2010, it has produced 35.66% of the civil docket, 29.06% of the criminal docket, and 32.39% of the death penalty docket. San Diego’s share of the death penalty docket has lagged behind its population (8.58% population, 5.97% of the death penalty docket), as has Riverside County’s share of the civil docket (5.88% population, 2.73% civil docket). Santa Clara’s share of the death penalty docket has lagged behind what one would expect based on population as well – 4.8% population to 2.2% of the death penalty docket. But otherwise, for the past sixteen years, most large counties’ share of the docket has been close to its share of the state’s population.
In Table 45 below, we report the top ten jurisdictions on the civil docket. The only real surprise here is San Francisco, which accounted for 8.8% of the civil cases between 2000 and 2015. Otherwise, eight of the top ten counties in population are also in the top ten of the civil docket. The other substantial share is accounted for by certified questions from the Ninth Circuit, which made up 4.7% of the civil docket.
We report the top ten for the criminal docket in Table 46. Here, San Francisco drops out, and the only top ten finisher which is not also on the population top ten is Kern County, the eleventh largest county in the state, which accounted for 3.39% of the criminal docket while having 2.25% of the state’s population. The criminal docket has been somewhat more scattered in its origins that the civil docket has. Twenty-nine additional jurisdictions produced are below the top ten jurisdictions on the civil side, comprising 18.37% of the total caseload. On the criminal side, 38 jurisdictions produced at least one case, but fell below the top ten, accounting for 24.28% of the cases.
Finally, we report the death penalty breakdown in Table 47. Kern County once again makes the top ten, having accounted for 4.09% of the death penalty appeals since 2000. The only real surprise here is Shasta County, the thirty-first largest county in the state as of 2015, which produced 2.83% of the death penalty cases despite having only 0.46% of the state’s population.
Join us back here next Thursday as we begin our analysis of a new question – the areas of law which have accounted for the California Supreme Court’s civil and criminal docket since 2000.