We’ve established already that majority opinions in cases reversing the Court of Appeal are, on average, generally longer than majority opinions affirming. Last time, we showed that for criminal cases between 1990 and 2003, the result was flipped – affirmances were nearly always longer. Today, we’re reviewing the data for the years 2004 to 2018.
In Table 741, we report the data for the years 2004 to 2010. As you can see, affirmances were longer than reversals in every year – in most cases, substantially longer. In 2004, affirmances averaged 39 pages, while reversals were only 25 pages. In 2005, affirmances averaged 55.5 pages and reversals were 27.04. In 2006, affirmances were 60.73 pages, but reversals were 28.93 pages. In 2007, affirmances averaged 42.56 pages, but reversals were only 28.23. In 2008, affirmances averaged 46.5 pages, while reversals were 36.04 pages. In 2009, affirmances averaged 50.27 pages, while reversals were only 23.88 pages. In 2010, affirmances averaged 54.41 pages, and reversals were 24.16.
Between 2011 and 2018, affirming majority opinions in criminal cases were longer than reversals every year. In 2011, affirmances averaged 53.79 pages to 24.44 pages for reversals. In 2012, affirmances were 49.65 pages to 29.19 for reversals. In 2013, affirmances were 64.27 pages, while reversals were only 27.96 pages. In 2014, affirmances averaged 50.3 pages, while reversals were 44.96 pages. In 2015, affirmances averaged 39.68 pages. Reversals averaged 37.13 pages. In 2016, affirmances averaged 52.39 pages, and reversals averaged 41.48 pages. In 2017, affirmances averaged 39.73 pages. Reversals were 20.42 pages. In 2018, affirmances averaged 43.38 pages, while reversals were, on average, 37.61 pages.
Join us back here next Thursday as we turn our attention to a new topic.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Darron Birgenheier (no changes).