Last week, we began a close look at the areas of law decided by the California Supreme Court in its civil and criminal dockets. We began by addressing the civil docket for the years 2000 through 2004. Today, we turn to the criminal docket for the same years.
In 2000, the Court decided fifteen death penalty cases – 27.27% of the Court’s criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile and disciplinary docket. Violent crimes were the next biggest component of the criminal docket, accounting for 16.36% of the caseload. Criminal procedure and constitutional law were next with eight cases apiece – 14.55% of the Court’s docket. Property crimes accounted for another 9.09% of the Court’s criminal docket. Sentencing law cases were another 7.27% of the docket. Juvenile issues were another 5.55%. Attorney admission and disciplinary issues were another 3.64% of the caseload. Finally, 1.82% of the docket was accounted for by political crimes.
Criminal procedure cases doubled on the docket in 2001 from 14.55% to 27.59%. Death penalty cases declined slightly, accounting for 18.97% of the docket in 2001. Violent crimes and sexual offenses each accounted for 12.07% of the docket. Sentencing cases were up slightly at 8.62% of the docket. Constitutional law and attorney admission and discipline cases were another 6.9%. Juvenile issues, property offenses, habeas corpus cases and drug crimes contributed one case each – 1.72% of the criminal docket.
Finally, we turn to the data for 2002 in Table 55 below. Criminal procedure was once again the biggest single area of the docket at 23.19%. Death penalty cases were flat at 18.84%. Sentencing and constitutional law were both up sharply by shares of the docket, accounting for 15.94% and 14.49% of the criminal docket respectively. Sexual offenses accounted for another 7.25% of the docket. The Court decided four cases involving property offenses – 5.8% of the docket. Violent crimes and juvenile issues were another 4.35% apiece of the docket. Habeas corpus cases continued to play a small role in the Court’s criminal docket at 2.9%. Finally, the Court heard one case each involving drug offenses and attorney admission and disciplinary issues.
Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the criminal docket in 2003 and 2004.