For the past few weeks, we’ve been tracking the average time between each milestone of civil and criminal cases at the California Supreme Court, year by year since 1990. This time, we’re looking at the average wait from the filing of the last brief to oral argument in criminal cases. As before, for the moment we’re looking at all criminal cases – both death penalty and non-death. We’ll return to the data in the next few weeks and split out the numbers for the two.

The average wait edged up somewhat during the 1990s. In 1990, the average wait was 248.83 days. In 1991, it fell to 226.8 days and then to 218.91 days in 1992. In 1993, the average was 227 days. In 1994, it was 246.07 days. In 1995, the average dropped slightly to 242.16 days. There was a one-year spike in 1996 to 319.67 days, but then the numbers settled down: 257.81 days in 1997, 268.64 in 1998 and 291.96 in 1999.

Between 2000 and 2009, the average lag time was up considerably. The average was 326.58 days in 2000, 370.05 in 2001, 304.94 in 2002, 466.84 in 2003, 444.39 in 2004, 421.7 in 2005, 564.63 in 2006, 530.05 days in 2007, 566.05 days in 2008 and 488.52 days in 2009.

Lag time from the conclusion of briefing to oral argument has increased during the past ten years. In 2010, the average was 459.8 days. In 2011, the average rose to 594.04. The average fell to 425.57 in 2012 before rising to 566.02 in 2013, 547.98 in 2014, 528.17 in 2015 and 794.67 in 2016. The average fell to 492.83 days in 2017 but rose to 596.32 days in 2018 and 599.79 days so far in 2019.

Stay tuned for future posts to see whether the increase is being driven by death penalty cases, non-death cases or both.

Join us back here later this week as we continue to review the lag time data.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Prayitno (no changes).