Yesterday, we looked at how much correlation there was between result and lag times in death penalty appeals between 2008 and 2016. Today, we’re looking at the non-death penalty criminal docket for the same period.
We started this analysis because of the surprising results looking at civil versus criminal cases – affirmances took about 20 days longer from grant to argument in civil cases, but the gap between lag time for affirmances and reversals was far greater than that in criminal cases. We wondered whether the much larger margin in criminal cases might be the result of the very high affirmance rate in death penalty appeals. Yesterday, we showed that in recent years, death penalty affirmances have not taken consistently much longer than reversals.
Table 189 below goes a long way toward answering our question. The enormous difference between affirmances and reversals in criminal cases isn’t coming from the death penalty docket – it’s coming from non-death appeals.
In 2008, affirmances in non-death cases averaged 852.39 days from grant to argument, while reversals averaged 695.65 days. In 2009, affirmances averaged 732.67 days to 451.22 for reversals. In 2010, reversals averaged slightly longer – affirmances took 626.08 days to 664.36 days for reversals. But in 2011, the usual relationship reasserted itself. Affirmances averaged 1,159.36 days, while reversals averaged 424.64 days. In 2012, affirmances averaged 692.63 days, while reversals averaged 675.29 days. In 2013, affirmances averaged 986.78 days while reversals took only 497 days. In 2014, affirmances averaged 946.73 days to 426.33 for reversals. In 2015, affirmances averaged 882.09 days to 564.27 days for reversals. Finally, last year affirmances averaged 903.11 days from grant to argument, while reversals averaged 518.84 days.
In Table 189 below, we review the average lag times from argument to decision in non-death cases. For the most part, reversals were handed down at least slightly more quickly than affirmances were. In 2008, affirmances averaged 71.67 days to 66.25 for reversals. In 2009, affirmances averaged 68.67 days to 74.11 for reversals. In 2010, affirmances averaged 70.88 days from argument to decision, while reversals averaged 68.88 days. In 2011, affirmances took ten days longer – 73.45 days to 63.64 days. In 2012, the margin narrowed to four days, as affirmances averaged 75.04 days to 71.43 days for reversals. In 2013, affirmances averaged 68.89 days to 68.27 for reversals. In 2014, affirmances averaged 69.93 days to 63.67 days for reversals. In 2015, affirmances took nearly two weeks more – 81.27 days to 68.2 days for reversals. In 2016, the relationship reversed as affirmances averaged 68.78 days to 77.26 days for reversals.
Join us back here in forty-eight hours for our regular Thursday post as we make a special announcement (and the reason that our regular posts last week were late).