Yesterday, we began our review of the Court’s majority opinions in death penalty appeals between 1994 and 2017, focusing on complete affirmances and partial reversals where the sentence was affirmed. Today, we review the second half of our analysis: partial reversals where the sentence was vacated, and complete reversals.
In Table 291, we report the data on partial reversals where the sentence was vacated. Justice Kennard wrote five majority opinions in such cases. Chief Justice George and Justices Corrigan and Werdegar wrote three each, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Chin and Moreno wrote two apiece, and Justices Kruger, Baxter, Cuellar and Liu have written one each.
We report the average length of majority opinions in partial reversals with the sentence vacated in Table 292. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s two majority opinions averaged 117.5 pages. Chief Justice George’s three opinions averaged 80 pages. Justice Liu averaged 78 pages, Justice Werdegar 70,33 pages, Justice Baxter 64, Justice Kruger 54, Justice Cuellar 53, Justice Chin 51.5, Justice Corrigan 50.67, Justice Kennard 44.6 and Justice Moreno 38 pages.
We report the Justice-by-Justice data for the Court’s eleven reversals in Table 293; Justice Corrigan has written the majority opinion in four such cases. Justices Werdegar and Baxter have written two and Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Brown and Kennard have written one apiece.
In Table 294, we report the average length of the Court’s outright reversals in death penalty cases. Justice Werdegar’s majority opinions have averaged 69.5 pages. Justice Kennard averaged 40 pages. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye has averaged 35 pages, Justice Baxter has averaged 31.5 pages, Justice Corrigan 16.75 pages, and Justice Brown’s majority opinions have averaged 12 pages.
Join us back here next Thursday as we turn to a new subject in our ongoing analysis of the California Supreme Court’s decision making.