We’ve all heard it any number of times: the appellate courts only review final judgments.  Even if you can figure out a theory to take a non-final judgment up, the appellate courts won’t decide it on the grounds that it isn’t necessary – let it percolate out, and maybe the case will settle, or the case may moot out another way.  But is it really true?

For the next three weeks, we’re reviewing the share of appeals accounted for by final judgments – first civil cases, one decade at a time, then criminal cases.

Throughout the decade of the 1990s, the percentage of civil cases accounted for by final judgments varied between 40 and 60%.  In 1990, 41.03% of civil cases were final judgment.  That rose into the sixties in 1991 and 1992, dropped to 52.17% in 1993 and rose back to two-thirds in 1994.  In 1996, the share fell to 46.67%.  It jumped back to 66% in 1997 but fell to 55.56% in 1998 and 59.62% in 1999.

Join us back here next time as we review the criminal cases for the nineties.

Image courtesy of Flickr by GPA Photo Archive (no changes).