Last week, we finished reviewing the voting patterns of the California Supreme Court in automatic death penalty appeals – how often was the Court’s decision unanimous, and how often did the Court have zero and one dissenter?  This week, we turn to the District-by-District reversal rates of the Courts of Appeal.

Because the districts of the Court of Appeal typically hear only a few cases every year, we report floating three-year average reversal rates rather than year-by-year data.  In Table 96, we report the data for the First and Second Districts.  Division One of the First District has had a high reversal rate throughout these years.  Only twenty percent of Division One’s cases were affirmed in 2000, 2001 and 2002.  The three-year rate in 2003 was only 40%.  The following year, the rate was one in three.  In 2005, 42.86% of the Court’s decisions were affirmed.  By 2006, only one quarter were.  Most of Division Two’s cases, on the other hand, were affirmed – 55.56% in 2002, 60% in 2003, half in 2004, two-thirds in 2005, 80% in 2006 and 100% in 2007.  Division Three of the First District remained below 50% affirmance for most of this period, while Division Four was between three fifths and one hundred percent.  Division Five of the First District varied widely – one-third affirmance in 2002, sixty percent the next year, 71.43% in 2004, 55.56% in 2005, 36.36% the next year and 30% in 2007.

Division One of the Second District had most of its cases affirmed throughout this period – two-thirds in 2002 and 2004, 57.14% in 2005 and 2006, and four fifths in 2007.  Although only a third of the decisions from Division Two of the Second District were affirmed in 2002 and 2003, the rate reached 71.43% by 2007.  Division Three of the Second District was frequently reversed – 58.33% affirmance (about average) in 2003 and 2004, 46.15% in 2005, 36.36% in 2006 and half in 2007.  Affirmance rates were consistently above one half for Divisions Four and Five.  Division Six’s performance improved towards the end of the period – one-third in 2002 and 2004, half in 2005, three-quarters in 2006 and 60% in 2007.

Division Seven of the Second District has performed as well as any Court in the First and Second Districts during these years.  As of 2002, 85.71% of Division Seven’s cases had been affirmed.  In 2003 and 2005, 87.5% were affirmed.  As of 2006, 77.78% of the Court’s decisions were affirmed.  Only one-third of Division Eight’s cases were affirmed as of 2006 and 2007.

Table 96A

We report the affirmance and reversal rates for the remaining Courts of Appeal in Table 97 below.

The affirmance rate for Division Three has remained high throughout these years – 90% in 2002, 90.91% in 2003, 78.57% in 2004, 73.68% in 2005, 73.91% in 2006 and 65.38% in 2007.  Division Three of the Fourth District has performed the best.  Division One of the Fourth District has not risen above one-half affirmance during these years.  Division Two has only slightly exceeded that figure – 53.85% in 2007.  Division Three reached 57.14% in 2003 and 62.5% in 2005.

The Fifth District has remained above fifty percent affirmance throughout these years too.  Division Five has seen 62.5% affirmance.  In 2003 and 2005, 55.56% of the Court’s decisions have been affirmed.  Two-thirds of the Court’s decisions were affirmed in 2006 and 2007.  The Sixth District has performed well too – fifty percent affirmance in 2002, one hundred percent 2003-2006, and 83.33% in 2007.

Table 97A

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn to the Court’s criminal cases between 20002 and 2007.

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