Reviewing the Justices’ Voting Records in Death Penalty Appeals, 1990-2010 (Part 2)

Yesterday, we reviewed the individual Justices’ voting records in death penalty cases for the years 1990 through 1999.  Today, we’re looking at the Justices’ voting records for the years 2000 through abolition in 2010.

Partial reversals with the sentence affirmed were quite rare during the years 2000 through 2004.  Justice Miller led the Court, voting to affirm in 82.35% of his cases.  Four Justices voted to affirm between seventy and eighty percent of the time – Justices Heiple and Rathje (76.47%), Thomas and Rarick (75%).  Justice Kilbride was the least frequent vote to affirm outright, voting that way only 35.29% of the time for these years.

By the beginning of this period, Justice Harrison was voting to reverse in part while vacating the sentence, or reverse outright, in every death penalty case.  He voted to reverse in part with the sentence vacated in 51.72% of his cases.  Justice McMorrow cast such votes 20.59% of the time.  Justice Fitzgerald did in 18.75% of his cases, followed by Justices Freeman, Bilandic and Kilbride (17.65% each).

The most frequent votes to reverse outright were Justice Harrison (48.28%) and Justice Kilbride (47.06%).  Justices Rarick and Garman voted to reverse in one quarter of their cases. Justices McMorrow and Freeman each voted to reverse in 20.59% of their cases during these years.  Justice Fitzgerald voted to reverse in 18.75% of their cases.  Justices Rathje and Bilandic voted to reverse in 17.65% of their cases.

In Table 557, we report the data on votes to affirm outright, and to reverse in part with the sentence affirmed, for the years 2005 through 2010.  Justice Garman voted to affirm in 71.43% of her cases.  Justices Freeman, Thomas and Fitzgerald voted to affirm 64.29% of the time.  Justice Karmeier voted to affirm in 61.54% of his cases.  The most frequent vote to reverse in part with the sentence affirmed was Justice Kilbride at 16.67%.  Justice Burke voted that way in 10% of her cases.  Justice McMorrow was last, casting no such votes.

Finally, we report the data for partial and outright reversals for the years 2005 through 2010 in Table 558.  Justice McMorrow voted to reverse in part with the sentence vacated in one third of her cases,  Justice Kilbride voted that way in 16.67% of his cases, and Justice Burke did in 10% of her cases.  Justice Karmeier voted to reverse in part 7.69% of the time.

Justices McMorrow and Kilbride each voted to reverse outright in one third of their cases between 2005 and 2010.  Justice Karmeier voted that way in 23.08% of his cases.  Justices Freeman, Thomas and Fitzgerald each voted to reverse in 21.43% of their cases.  Justice Burke voted to reverse 20% of the time.  Justice Garman was the least frequent vote to reverse – 14.28%.

Join us back here next week as we begin another topic in our investigation of the Court’s decision making.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Adam Moss (no changes).

 

Reviewing the Justices’ Voting Records in Death Penalty Appeals, 1990-2010 (Part 1)

Last week, we discussed the data on how often the Justices of the Court voted with the majority in the Illinois Supreme Court’s death penalty cases between 1990 and 2010 (after which the death penalty was abolished). This week, we review the individual Justices’ votes.

In Table 551, we report the fraction of each Justice’s votes between 1990 and 1994 for affirmance of a death judgment, or partial reversal with the sentence affirmed. Justices Miller and Heiple were the most frequent votes for affirmance during these years, voting to affirm in 72.84% and 72.58% of their cases. Justice Nickels, McMorrow, Bilandic and Cunningham were next, voting to affirm in 64.29%, 64.2%, 62.3% and 62.07% of their death penalty cases. Six Justices voted to affirm outright in less than half of their death penalty cases – Justices Harrison (48.15%); Ward (46.15%); Clark (45.1%); Stamos (42.86%); Calvo (41.18%) and Ryan (35.71%). The Justices comparatively seldom voted to reverse in part with the sentence affirmed. Only Justice Cunningham cast such votes in more than 10% of his cases for the years 1990 through 1994 – 10.34%.

In Table 552, we report the share of each Justice’s votes for reverse in part with the sentence vacated, and outright reversals. Justices Clark and Ryan led the court in partial reversals with sentence vacated – Justice Clark cast such votes in 21.57% of his cases, and Justice Ryan did in 21.43% of his. Justice Calvo cast partial reversals with sentence vacated in 17.65% of his cases, and Justice Cunningham did so 17.24% of the time. Justices Miller and Heiple were the least frequent votes for partial reversal with sentence vacated – Justice Miller voted that way in 9.88% of his cases, and Justice Heiple did in 9.68% of his.

Justice Calvo voted to reverse in 41.18% of his cases. Justice Harrison voted to reverse in 37.04% of his cases. Justices Stamos and Ryan both voted to reverse 35.71% of the time, and Justice Ward voted to reverse in 30.77% of his cases. The least frequent votes to reverse during these first five years were Justice Miller – 9.88% – and Justice Heiple – 9.68%.

In Table 553, we report the affirmance data for the years 1995 through 1999. During these years, Justice Rathje voted to affirm in 80% of his cases. Justice Miller was next, voting to affirm 71.43% of the time. Justice Harrison was the least frequent vote to affirm outright – 46.38%. None of the Justices voted to reverse in part with the sentence affirmed in more than ten percent of their cases. Justice Nickels voted that way 9.86% of the time, and Justices Heiple and Bilandic did so in 9.09% of theirs.

Justice Harrison was the most frequent vote during these years to reverse in part and vacate the judgment – 26.09%. Justice McMorrow voted that way 19.48% of the time, and Justice Freeman did so 16.88% of the time. Justice Nickels voted that way in 15.49% of his cases. Justice Harrison voted to reverse outright in 20.29% of his cases during these years. Justice Rathje did so 20% of the time. Justice Freeman voted to reverse 18.18% of the time, Justice McMorrow did in 15.58% of her cases, and Justice Nickels did 15.49% of the time. The least frequent votes to reverse outright during these years were Justices Miller and Bilandic – 9.09% each.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the Justices’ voting records for the years 2000 through 2010.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Matt Turner (no changes).

Measuring Influence in Death Penalty Cases – Which Justices Were Most Often in the Majority (Part 2)?

Yesterday, we began our analysis of the individual Justices’ voting records in death penalty cases – specifically, how often each Justice voted with the majority.  Today, we’ll review the data for the years 2000 through 2010.  First, the years 2000 through 2004.  Justices McMorrow (34 cases), Rarick (4 cases) and Bilandic (17 cases) voted with the majority in 100% of their death penalty cases.  Justice Fitzgerald voted with the majority in 94.12% of his seventeen death penalty cases.  Justice Garman voted with the majority in 93.75% of her sixteen cases, and Justice Freeman voted with the majority in 91.18% of his thirty-four death penalty cases.  Justices Heiple and Rathje voted with the majority in 88.24% of their seventeen death penalty cases.  Justice Miller voted with the majority in 82.35% of his seventeen death penalty cases during these years.  Justice Kilbride voted with the majority in 76.47% of his cases and Justice Thomas in three quarters of his cases.  By this time, Justice Harrison was dissenting with respect to the penalty in most death cases – he voted with the majority in only 37.93% of his cases.

For the years 2005 through 2010, Justices Thomas, Karmeier and Fitzgerald each voted with the majority in all their death penalty cases.  Justices Freeman and Garman voted with the majority in 92.86% of their fourteen cases.  Justice Burke voted with the majority in ninety percent of her ten cases.  Justice Kilbride voted with the majority in three quarters of his twelve death penalty cases, and Justice McMorrow voted with the majority in two of her three death penalty cases – 66.67%.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we continue our analysis of the individual Justices’ voting records in death penalty cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Roman Boed (no changes).

Measuring Influence in Death Penalty Cases – Which Justices Were Most Often in the Majority?

For the past several weeks, we’ve been comparing the death penalty jurisprudence of the Illinois and California Supreme Courts.  Having reviewed the county-by-county reversal rates last week, this week we’re looking at the individual Justices.  We’ll review two  indices of the Justices’ views and influence on the Court: first, the percentage of cases where the Justice voted with the majority, and next week, the distribution of each Justice’s votes between affirmance, partial reversal and complete reversal.

In order to capture evolutions in the Justices’ views, we review the data five years at a time.  Justices Moran, Ward and Cunningham voted in the majority in 100% of their death penalty cases.  Justice Moran voted with the majority in 51 cases.  Justice Cunningham was in the majority in all 29 of his death penalty cases.  Justice Ward was in the majority in all 14 of his death penalty cases.  Justice Bilandic voted with the majority in 95.08% of his 61 death penalty cases.  Justice Ryan voted with the majority in 92.86% of his fourteen death penalty cases.  Justice Freeman voted with the majority 91.94% of the time during these years.  Justice Heiple did so in 90.48% of his 63 cases.  Justices McMorrow and Nickels each joined the majority in 89.29% of their cases – 25 of 28.  Justice Calvo did so in 88.24%.  Justice Miller voted with the majority in 86.42%.  Justice Clark voted with the majority in 84.31% of his 51 death penalty cases.  Justice Stamos voted with the majority in 10 of his fourteen death penalty cases of these years – 71.43%.  Finally, Justice Harrison voted with the majority in 70.37% of his death penalty decisions from 1990 to 1994.

Next, we turn to the years 1995 through 1999.  For these years, Justice Nickels was most in sync with the Court’s majority in death penalty cases, voting with the majority in 98.59% of his seventy-one cases.  Justice McMorrow voted with the majority in 94.81% of seventy-seven death penalty cases.  Justice Heiple did so 90.91% of the time.  Justice Freeman was in the majority 89.74% of the time.  Justice Miller voted with the majority in 85.9% of his seventy-eight cases.  Justice Harrison did in 81.16% of his sixty-nine cases.  Finally, Justice Bilandic joined the majority in 80.46% of his eight-seven cases.  Justice Rathje voted with the majority in four of his five death penalty cases – 80%.

Join us back here as we review the Court’s voting data for the years 2000 through 2010, when the Court decided its last death penalty case.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Raymond Cunningham (no changes).

Were Majority Opinions in Death Penalty Cases Longer or Shorter When the Court Reversed?

Yesterday, we began reviewing the data on majority opinions in death penalty cases from 1990 through the Court’s last death penalty appeal in 2010.  Today, we look at a related question: did the Court’s majority opinions tend to run longer when the Court was partially or fully reversing?

Interestingly, across the entire twenty year period, the Court’s majority opinions tended to be somewhat shorter when the Court was vacating the death penalty.  The Court affirmed in full in 124 cases.  The average majority opinion was 41.911 pages.  Eighteen times, the Court partially reversed with the sentence affirmed.  The average majority opinion was 51.889 pages.  The Court partially reversed and vacated the death penalty in 29 cases.  The average majority opinion was 34.69 pages.  In the Court’s 33 outright reversals, the average majority opinion was 25.147 pages.

Justice by Justice, majority opinions in affirmances ranged from an average of 78.5 pages (Juatice Cunningham) to 23.5 pages (Justice Thomas).  Justice Stamos’ average was 77 pages, Justice Karmeier 67.5, Justice Clark 62.6 and Justice Ward 60.  Justice Moran’s average was 56.67 pages, Justice Garman 55.33, Justice Ryan 50, Justice McMorrow 48.08 pages, Justice Bilandic 44.15, Justice Miller 43.29, Justice Freeman 42.88 and Justice Burke 40 pages.  Justice Calvo’s average majority opinion was 36 pages, Justice Nickels 33.57, Justice Fitzgerald 31.75 pages, Justice Harrison 30.25 pages, Justice Rathje 27 pages, and Justice Heiple’s average majority opinion was 23.63 pages.

Justice Moran’s average majority opinion in partial reversals with the sentence affirmed was 86 pages.  Justice Stamos’ average opinion was 79.5 pages.  Justice Ward’s average was 68 pages.  Justice Bilandic averaged 58 pages in such cases, Justice Miller 47.2 pages, Justice Harrison 45.33 pages, Justice McMorrow 43 pages, Justice Garman averaged 39 pages, Justice Clark 27 pages and Justice Rathje averaged 24 pages.

Justice McMorrow averaged 52.25 pages in partial reversals with the sentence vacated.  Justice Garman averaged 50 pages, Justice Moran 49, Justice Clark 45, Justice Freeman 40.25, Justice Thomas 35, Justice Nickels 33.5 pages, Justice Bilandic 30.5, Justice Miller 28, Justice Fitzgerald 21, Justice Heiple 16 and Justice Harrison averaged 10 pages.

Finally, we address the Court’s 33 reversals.  In nearly every case, outright reversals have been shorter than the same Justice’s affirmances.  Justice Calvo averaged 71.5 pages, Justice Freeman averaged 39 pages, Justice Ryan 37.5 pages, Justice Clark 37 pages, Justice McMorrow averaged 24.83 pages, Justice Fitzgerald 23.33 pages and Justice Stamos 22 pages.  The remaining Justices’ majority opinions in reversals were even shorter: Justice Nickels 16.5 pages, Justice Bilandic 15 pages, Justice Miller 14.5 pages, Justice Kilbride averaged 12 pages, Justice Heiple 10 pages, Justice Harrison 7.5 pages, and Justice Rathje 3 pages.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to a new issue in our study.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Bhanu Tadinada (no changes).

Who Wrote the Court’s Majority Opinions in Death Penalty Cases?

For the past two weeks, we’ve been studying death penalty appeals, both here and on the California Supreme Court Review blog.  This week, we turn our attention to the authors of the Court’s majority opinions in death penalty cases.

Once again, we divide the cases into four results: (1) affirmance; (2) partial reversal with sentence affirmed; (3) partial reversal with sentence vacated; and (4) complete reversals.  We report the authors of majority opinions in death penalty affirmances for the years 1990 through 2010, the year of the Court’s last death penalty opinion, in Table 539.  Justice Heiple wrote nineteen majority opinions in death penalty affirmances.  Justice Freeman wrote 17.  Justice Miller wrote 15, and Justices McMorrow and Bilandic wrote 13 apiece.  Justice Harrison wrote eight, Justice Nickels wrote seven, Justice Moran six, Justice Clark five, Justices Karmeier and Fitzgerald four apiece, Justices Rathje, Thomas and Cunningham two each, and Justices Burke, Garman, Stamos, Ryan, Calvo and Ward one each.

In Table 540, we report the majority opinions in partial reversals with sentences affirmed.  Justice Miller wrote five majority opinions in such cases, Justice Harrison wrote three, Justices Stamos and Bilandic two each, and Justices Clark, McMorrow, Garman, Moran, Rathje and Ward wrote one each.

In Table 541, we report the majority opinions in partial reversals with sentences vacated.  Justice Bilandic wrote six majority opinions in such cases.  Justice McMorrow and Justice Freeman wrote four such majorities, Justice Heiple wrote three, Justices Miller, Moran, Nickels and Harrison wrote two apiece, and Justices Clark, Garman, Thomas and Fitzgerald wrote one majority opinion each.

Finally, the Court’s reversals.  Justice McMorrow wrote six majority opinions in reversals.  Justice Freeman wrote five, Justice Nickels four, Justice Fitzgerald three, Justices Miller, Ryan, Heiple, Rathje, Calvo and Harrison two each, and Justices Clark, Stamos, Kilbride and Bilandic wrote one majority opinion each.

Tomorrow we turn our attention to a related question: were majority opinions in death penalty reversals longer or shorter?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Alan Light (no changes).

 

The New Illinois Supreme Court Database – Reviewing the Data

Yesterday, we announced the completion of a substantial expansion to the Illinois Supreme Court’s database.  Today, we review the full list of data points included in the database.

Join us back here tomorrow as we resume our analysis of the Court’s death penalty jurisprudence.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Adam Moss (no changes).

The Illinois Supreme Court Database Expands – 2,871 Cases and 275,000 Data Points

Today, we announce a substantial expansion of the Illinois Supreme Court database.  Matching the expansion earlier this year of the California Supreme Court database, the data on the Illinois Supreme Court has been expanded to include significantly more variables, as well as all the Court’s cases since January 1, 1990.  During that time, the Court has decided 1,352 civil cases and 1,519 criminal cases.  For the first half of our study period from 1990 through 2007, our database includes approximately 100 data points on each case.  From 2008 through 2016 – the period for which all of the Court’s oral arguments are on line -we have approximately 125 data points for each case.

The database now includes the entire time on the Court of every currently sitting Justice, plus many others:

Join us back here tomorrow as review the full list of variables in the new database.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Andrew Magill (no changes).

 

 

Where Did the Illinois Supreme Court’s Death Penalty Cases Arise?

Yesterday, we began reviewing the Court’s county by county distribution of death penalty appeals, beginning in 1994.  Today, we will begin by reviewing the data from 2004 through 2010.

The Court decided only two death penalty appeals each year from 2004 through 2007.  In 2004, the Court decided one case in Cook and one case in Macon County.  In 2005, the Court decided one case each from Boone and Coles counties.  In 2006, the Court decided one case each from St. Clair and Stark counties.  In 2007, the Court decided one death penalty appeal from Cook County and one from Livingston county.  In 2008, the Court’s only death penalty case originated in Cook County.  In 2009, the Court decided three mandatory death penalty appeals – one each from Cook, Du Page and Will counties.  In 2010, the Court decided two death penalty cases from Cook County, one from Du Page county and one from Hancock county.

Now we turn our attention to the Court’s county-by-county reversal rates.

The Court affirmed one hundred percent of death penalty appeals from twenty different counties – Montgomery, Edgar, Jefferson, Clinton, Grundy, Iroquois, Livingston, Randolph, Stark, Coles, Macon, Douglas, Wayne, Macoupin, Winnebago, Stephenson, Bureau, Peoria and Fulton counties.

The Court affirmed 70.8% of the death penalty decisions from Cook County, 60% from Lake County, 64.29% from Du Page County, one quarter from Kankakee, half from Champaign, two thirds from Williamson and St. Clair, zero from Saline County, 75% from Madison County, two thirds from Hancock County, 42.86% from Will County, zero from Boone and Kane Counties, forty percent from Henry County, sixty percent from McLean County, zero from Whiteside and Cumberland counties, half from Mason County, and none from Rock Island County.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we continue our analysis of the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision making.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Adam Jones (no changes).

Where Did the Illinois Supreme Court’s Death Penalty Cases Arise?

This week, we continue our parallel look at automatic death penalty appeals here and over at our sister blog, the California Supreme Court Review.  Last week, we reviewed the Illinois Supreme Court’s year-by-year caseload from 1990 until the death penalty was abolished in this state.  This week, we’re going to take a look at where the cases came from, and determine whether death judgments from any particular county had a noticeably lower (or higher) affirmance rate than judgments from elsewhere.

In Table 533, we report the data for the years 1990 through 1993.  Cook County is far and away the largest single source of death penalty judgments each year.  In 1990, the Court decided thirteen death penalty cases from Cook County.  The Court decided one case from Lake County and one from Du Page.

In 1991, the Court decided seven death penalty appeals from Cook County.  The Court decided one case apiece from Du Page, Kankakee, Champaign, Williamson, Montgomery and Edgar counties.  In 1992, the Court decided thirteen death cases from Cook County.  The court heard one case each from Lake, Jefferson, Clinton, St. Clair, Grundy, Saline, Madison, Iroquois, Livingston and Randolph counties.  In 1993, the Court decided nine death cases from Cook County.  The Court also decided one case each from Montgomery, St. Clair, Macoupin and Winnebago counties.

We report the year-by-year data for the years 1994 through 1996 in Table 533.  In 1994, the Court heard nine death penalty appeals from Cook County, two from Livingston County, and one each from Lake, Du Page, St. Clair, Will, McLean, Cumberland and Mason counties.  In 1995, the Court decided nine death penalty appeals, two each from Du Page, Stephenson and Williamson counties, and one apiece from Will, Mason and Bureau counties.  In 1996, the Court decided ten death penalty appeals from Cook County, and one case each from Du Page, Champaign, Montgomery, Jefferson, Grundy, Madison, Will, Henry, Peoria and Rock Island counties.

In 1997, the Court decided six death penalty cases from Cook County, two cases each from Lake and Henry counties, and one each from Kankakee, Will, McLean and Whiteside counties.  In 1998, the Court decided a dozen death penalty cases from Cook County and one case each from Du Page, Madison, Will, Henry, McLean and Fulton counties.  In 1999, the Court decided only four death penalty appeals from Cook County.  The court heard one case each from Will and Wayne counties.  In 2000, the Court decided nine death penalty cases from Cook County, two cases each from Du Page and St. Clair counties, and one case each from Madison, Hancock, McLean and Douglas counties.  In 2001, the Court decided three death penalty appeals from Cook County and one case each from Du Page, Kankakee, Kane and McLean counties.  In 2002, the Court decided only one death penalty appeal from Cook County, and one each from Du Page, Hancock, Kane and Henry counties.  The following year, the Court decided two death penalty appeals from Cook County and one from Du Page County.

The Court decided only two death penalty appeals each year from 2004 through 2007.  In 2004, the Court decided one case each in Cook and Macon County.  In 2005, the Court decided one case each from Boone and Coles counties.  In 2006, the Court decided one case each from St. Clair and Stark counties.  In 2007, the Court decided one death penalty appeal from Cook County, and one from Livingston county.  In 2008, the Court’s only death penalty case originated in Cook County.  In 2009, the Court decided three mandatory death penalty appeals – one each from Cook, Du Page and Will counties.  In 2010, the Court decided two death penalty cases from Cook County, one from Du Page county and one from Hancock county.

Join us back here tomorrow as we continue our review of the Court’s death penalty appeals.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Kevin Dooley (no changes).

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