Yesterday, we analyzed the lag times – from grant of review to oral argument, and oral argument to decision – in the Court’s civil docket from 2008 to 2016. Today, we’ll address the data for the criminal docket. One definition – for cases such as the death penalty docket where there is no grant of review, we use the date on which counsel is appointed as the closest possible proxy.
Like the civil docket, there is evidence that lag times are increasing on the criminal side. The mean time from grant to oral argument only exceeded 1,600 days one year between 2000 and 2007. Since that time, it’s only fallen below 1,600 once. In 2008, the mean days from grant to argument was 1,717.46 days. For 2009, it was down to 1,620.92, and for 2010, it was down to 1,575.08, but the lag has increased since then. In 2011, the average was 1,870.53 days. In 2012, it fell to 1,648.13. In 2013, it was up to 1,763.52, and increased further to 1,947.33 in 2014. In 2015, the average fell a bit to 1,883.8, but it was up sharply in 2016 to 2,420.79 days.
We report the mean lag time from argument to decision for the same years in Table 174 below. With the exception of the past two years, the average time from argument to decision in criminal cases has been flat for years – 70.24 in 2008, 70.74 in 2009, 20.6 in 2010, 70.22 in 2011, 72.81 in 2012, 70.96 in 2013 and 70.36 in 2014. It increased to 90.95 in 2015 – the result of a few outlier cases – before falling back to 77.5 days last year.
Join us back here next Thursday as we turn our attention to a new topic in our ongoing study.