Last time, we analyzed the data on lag times in civil cases – grant of review to oral argument and argument to decision – to determine whether lag time is correlated with the result in the case: do affirmances or reversals take longer? We determined that there’s no consistent relationship over time between lag time and result in civil cases. So what about criminal cases?
The answer is yes – in twenty-five of the past twenty-six years, affirmances have taken longer after the grant of review to be argued than reversals – often considerably longer.
In 1992, affirmances averaged 1,626.97 days from grant to argument, while reversals were argued in an average of 1,072.64 days. In 1993, affirmances averaged 1,416.56 days and reversals averaged only 575.76 days. In 1994, affirmances were argued in 973.33 days, while reversals were argued in 425.4 days. In 1995, affirmances averaged 1,542.67 days to be argued – reversals were argued in 742.78 days. In 1996, affirmances averaged 1,038.96 days to argument, while reversals averaged 1,099.11 days. In 1997, affirmances were argued in 1,702.3 days – reversals averaged 582.5 days.
In 1998, affirmances were argued in 1,287.41 days and reversals averaged 739.29 days. In 1999, affirmances averaged 1,334.39 days, and reversals averaged 448.28 days. In 2000, affirmances averaged 1,431.41 days from grant to argument and reversals averaged 613 days. In 2001, affirmances averaged 1,302.94 days. Reversals averaged 637 days. In 2002, affirmances were argued in 1,224.79 days, while reversals averaged 508.59 days. In 2003, affirmances averaged 1,560.29 days and reversals averaged 840.65 days. In 2004, affirmances averaged 1,685.56 days. Reversals averaged 776.91 days.
In 2005, affirmances took twice as long to be argued as reversals did – 2,154.46 days to 1,006.92 days. In 2006, affirmances averaged 2,1193.1 days, and reversals averaged 1,067.15 days. In 2007, affirmances averaged 1,695.36 days, while reversals were argued in 1,160.46 days. In 2008, affirmances averaged 1,981.95 days to argue and reversals averaged 1,136.04 days. In 2009, affirmances once again took twice as long to reach argument – 2,080 days to 913.13 days.
In 2010, affirmances averaged 1,998.85 days to argument, and reversals averaged 630.15 days. In 2011, affirmances averaged 2,355 days. Reversals took only 887.82 days to reach argument. In 2012, affirmances averaged 1,972.29 days. Reversals averaged 1,185.47 days. In 2013, affirmances averaged 2,832.73 days from grant to argument. Reversals averaged only 601.96 days. In 2014, affirmances averaged 2,318.03 days to 1,692.21 days for reversals. In 2015, affirmances averaged 2,021.1 days from grant to argument. Reversals averaged 1,711.52 days. In 2016, affirmances averaged 2,784.35 days from grant to argument, while reversals averaged 1,965.28 days. Last year, affirmances averaged 1,919.13 days, while reversals averaged 728 days.
Although the difference was consistently less, affirmances tended to take longer between argument and decision than reversals did too. Affirmances took longer from argument to decision in 1993-1994, 1996-1997, 200-2003, 2006, 2008-2014 and 2017.
So why would affirmances consistently take longer in criminal law than reversals? We continue to investigate the facts next time.