Today, we continue our analysis of the areas of law covered by the California Supreme Court in its civil and criminal dockets by addressing the criminal dockets during the years 2008 and 2009.
In 2008, the Court decided 26 automatic death penalty appeals, but with the criminal side of the docket slightly busier, the death penalty’s share of the docket was virtually flat at 38.24%. Criminal procedure was next, accounting for 17.25% of the caseload. Constitutional law contributed 11.76% of the cases, followed by sentencing law at 10.29%. Habeas corpus cases were 8.82% of the docket. The rest of the docket was de minimis – juvenile issues, property crimes and drug crimes each accounted for 2.94% of the cases, and violent crimes, attorney admission and fitness and sex crimes each contributed 1.47%.
For 2009, automatic death penalty appeals reached their highest level since 2005 as a fraction of the docket, accounting for 40.98% of the cases. Only two other areas of the law added more than 10% of the docket – sentencing law, at 14.75%, and violent crimes, adding 11.48%. Juvenile issues were up sharply in 2009, adding 9.84% of the docket. Criminal procedure and constitutional law, on the other hand, were down sharply, each contributing 8.2% of the caseload. Habeas corpus cases were another 3.28%, and the Court heard one case each arising from property law and vehicle crimes.
Join us back here next Thursday as we tackle the areas of law decided by the Court in the civil docket between 2010 and 2015.