We determined last time that Justice Cuellar tends to more heavily question appellants than respondents in civil cases regardless of how the majority is leaning. This time, we’re looking at the data for criminal cases.
Unlike civil cases, when Justice Cuellar joins the majority in criminal cases, he follows the expected pattern – he more heavily questions the party likely to lose. When he joins the majority in an affirmance, he averages 2.38 questions to appellants and 1.91 to respondents. When he joins the majority in a reversal, he averages 3.6 to respondents, only 3 to appellants. When he joins the majority in a mixed decision – affirmed in part, reversed in part – it’s almost a wash: 1.68 questions to appellants, 1.77 to respondents.
When Justice Cuellar dissents in a criminal case, he generally tends to more heavily question the party he is voting against rather than the party likely to lose. When the majority affirms but he wants to reverse, he averages 6.67 questions to respondents, 5 to appellants. When the majority reverses but he wants to affirm, he averages 7 questions to appellants, 6 to respondents.
Although the numbers for mixed results are much smaller data sets, the numbers are less conclusive. When the majority affirms but Justice Cuellar favors a split result, he averages 2.5 questions to respondents and 2.25 to appellants. When the majority reverses but he wants a split result, he equally splits his questions: 2 to appellants, 2 to respondents. When the majority supports a split result but Justice Cuellar wants to reverse outright, he averages 10 questions to respondents and 4.5 to appellants.
Join us back here next week as we continue our review of the oral argument data.