Today, we’re dissecting the reversal rate in criminal cases from Division 1 of the Second District. The following areas of law were the biggest players on the criminal docket in terms of cases which went to the Supreme Court: constitutional law (23.53%); criminal procedure (20.59%); sentencing (14.71%); and violent crimes (11.76%).
The overall reversal rate in Division One was 73.53%. All three of the highest producers on the criminal side had reversal rates well above that overall average. The reversal rate in constitutional law was 87.5%. The rate in criminal procedure was 85.71%. Eighty percent of the sentencing decisions reviewed were reversed. Only violent crimes decisions fared well, with a reversal rate of 50%. Aside from violent crimes, only two areas of law were under the overall reversal rate – juvenile justice (50%) and property crimes (0%).
So the evidence seems relatively clear: the reversal rate in Division One appears to have been driven since 1990 by disagreement in specific areas of law: constitutional, criminal procedure, and to a lesser extent, sentencing law.