Yesterday, we began our review of the individual Justices’ voting records in death penalty cases, discussing the data on the percentage of the time each Justice voted with the majority in death penalty appeals for the years 1994 through 2005. Today, we address the second half of our study period, 2006 through 2017.
Incredibly, for the years 2006 through 2011, four members of the Court – Chief Justice George (116 cases), his successor Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye (21 cases), and Justices Corrigan (138 cases) and Liu (4 cases) voted with the majority in 100% of the death penalty appeals in which they participated. Justice Baxter was in the minority only twice in 142 cases – 98.59%. Justice Chin also was in the minority only twice in 141 cases – 98.58%. Justice Werdegar voted with the majority in 95.8% of her 143 cases and Justice Moreno 95.73% of the time (117 cases). Pro Tem designees voted with the majority in 26 of 28 cases, for a percentage of 92.86%.
In Table 298, we report the data for the years 2012 to the present. Justices Baxter and Kruger have voted with the majority in every death penalty case in which each Justice has participated. Justice Kennard voted with the majority in 98.91% of her 92 cases during these years. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye voted with the majority in 97.46% of her 118 cases. After voting with the majority in 117 consecutive cases stretching back to 2011, the Chief Justice dissented in part in August 2016 in People v. Grimes. Justice Chin has voted with the majority in 97.39% of his 115 death penalty cases. Justice Werdegar did so 95.65% of the time and Justice Corrigan 95.61%. Justice Cuellar has voted with the majority in 44 of 47 death penalty cases, or 93.62%. Justice Liu is the most frequent dissenter among the permanent Justices, having joined the majority in 104 of 114 cases, or 91.23%. Designated pro tem Justices have voted with the majority in 89.47% of their 19 cases.
Join us back here next Thursday as we continue our analysis of the individual Justices’ voting patterns in death penalty cases.