What Can We Infer When Justice Garman Asks the First Question in a Civil Case?

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Yesterday, we showed that between 2008 and 2016, an unusually high level of questions from Justice Garman indicated that she was likely writing an opinion.  We also demonstrated that when Justice Garman was in the minority, she averaged more questions to the party she would vote against rather than the party which would ultimately lose.

Today, we turn to the related question – does writing an opinion make it more likely that the first question will come from Justice Garman?

Overall, when Justice Garman is in the majority of an affirmance, she asks the first question of appellants in 15.69% of cases, and of appellees 14.71% of the time.  Writing has an impact; when she’s writing the majority opinion, the likelihood that she’ll ask the first question to appellant grows to 27.27%.  The effect is somewhat less for appellees; Justice Garman asks the first question 18.18% of the time when writing an opinion.  When not writing, there is a 6.85% chance she’ll ask the first question to appellants, and a 6.85% chance she’ll lead off to appellees.

When in the majority of a reversal, Justice Garman begins with appellants 19.32% of the time, and with appellees 15.91% of the time.  Writing has a substantial effect; when writing the majority opinion, she asks the first question of appellants 30.77% of the time, and of appellees, 38.46%.  When not writing an opinion, where’s only a 16.89% chance she’ll ask the first question of appellants, and 12.16% of appellees.

Table 463

When Justice Garman is in the minority of an affirmance, it’s far more likely that she’ll begin the questioning of appellee than of the appellant – 42.86% for appellees, 28.57% for appellants.  When she’s writing a dissent, there’s a 50% chance she’ll begin for both sides.  The numbers are different when Justice Garman is in the minority of a reversal (a small data set).  Overall, she asks the first question 16.67% of the time for both sides.  When she’s writing a dissent, she asks the first questions one-third of the time for each side.

Table 464

Join us back here next Tuesday as we look at the data for Justice Garman and criminal cases between 2008 and 2016.

Image courtesy of Flickr by David Ohmer (no changes).

What Can We Infer From Justice Garman’s Question Pattern in Civil Cases?

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Two weeks ago, we began our detailed analysis of the data on oral arguments in civil and criminal cases between 2008 and 2016.  This week and next, we’ll be looking at Justice Rita B. Garman’s patterns in oral argument, starting with civil cases.

Our data includes 102 cases in which Justice Garman voted with a majority affirming, and 176 in which she joined a majority reversing.  Overall, in affirmances Justice Garman averaged 2.03 questions to appellants and 1.22 questions to appellees (like the Court as a whole, averaging more questions to the losing party).  Writing the majority opinion had a significant impact, suggesting that when Justice Garman is quite active at oral argument, she is likely writing the majority opinion.  In affirmances, she averaged 3.73 questions to appellants and 1.73 questions to appellees.  There are only two cases in which she joined a majority affirming and wrote a concurrence (to eleven where she wrote the majority opinion). When Justice Garman wasn’t writing in an affirmance, she averaged only 1.29 questions to appellants, 1.18 to appellees.

When Justice Garman is in the majority reversing, she once again averages more questions to the losing party – 1.81 questions to appellees, 1.21 questions to appellants.  Writing the majority opinion has a significant impact – in the twenty-six cases in which Justice Garman wrote the majority reversing, she averaged 3.46 questions to appellees, 1.96 to appellants.  She only wrote concurrences in two cases where she voted with a majority reversing.  In the 148 cases where the Court reversed and Justice Garman didn’t write separately, she averaged 1.54 questions to appellees and 1.07 to appellants.

Table 461

When Justice Garman is in the minority in civil cases, she tends to ask more questions of the party she’s voting against, rather than the party which will ultimately lose the case.  When Justice Garman is in the minority of an affirmance, she averages 2.86 questions to appellees, only 1.14 to appellants.  Writing a dissent has little impact.  Justice Garman averages 2.75 questions to appellees when writing a dissent – slightly fewer than the overall number – and 1.75 to appellants.  When Justice Garman is in the minority of a reversal, she averages three questions to appellants, 1.5 to appellees.  When writing a dissent, she averages four questions to appellants, two to appellees.

Table 462

Join us back here tomorrow as we analyze whether writing an opinion makes it more likely that Justice Garman will ask the first question in civil cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by David Wilson (no changes).

What Can We Infer When Justice Burke Asks the First Question in a Criminal Case?

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Yesterday, we reviewed the data on Justice Burke’s question patterns in criminal cases. Today, we ask a related question: if Justice Burke asks the first question, can we infer that she is likely writing an opinion?

Writing the majority opinion has some impact on the likelihood that Justice Burke will ask the first question. In affirmances where Justice Burke is in the majority, she asks the first question of appellants 16.03% of the time, and of appellees, 12.21%. When she’s writing the majority opinion, she leads off with appellants 23.08% of the time, and with appellees 15.38%. Concurrences – always a small data set – have a slight impact on Justice Burke’s questioning of appellees, but little to none of appellants. Overall, when Justice Burke isn’t writing an opinion (and she’s voting with the majority), there’s a 15.65% chance she’ll begin the questioning of appellants in affirmances, 11.3% of appellees, 11.67% of appellants in reversals, 9.17% of appellees.

Table 459

Writing dissents doesn’t have an enormous impact on the probability that Justice Burke will ask the first question. When the Court affirms with Justice Burke in the minority, there’s a 9.52% chance she’ll ask the first question of appellants, but that only increases to 11.76% when she’s writing a dissent. There’s a 28.57% chance she’ll ask the first question of appellees, and that only increases to 29.41% when she writes a dissent. When she’s in the minority of a reversal, there’s a 29.41% chance she’ll ask the first question of appellants, but only a 5.88% chance she’ll lead off for appellees. Writing a dissent has virtually no effect at all.

Table 460

Join us back here next Tuesday as we consider the questioning patterns of Justice Garman.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Infowidget (no changes).

 

What Can We Infer from Justice Burke’s Questioning Patterns in Criminal Cases (Part 1)?

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Last week, we began our review of the individual Justices’ patterns in oral arguments, reviewing the data on Justice Anne M. Burke’s questioning in civil cases from 2008 to 2016. Today, we address Justice Burke’s patterns in criminal cases.

We report the data for criminal cases when Justice Burke is in the majority in Table 457 below. Consistent with the pattern of the Court as a whole, Justice Burke tends to ask at least slightly more questions of the losing party when she’s in the majority. When the Court affirms, Justice Burke averages 1.8 questions to appellants, and 0.98 questions to appellees. Justice Burke averages 1.61 questions to appellees when the Court reverses, and 1.56 to appellants.

Writing the majority opinion has a significant impact. When Justice Burke writes the majority opinion in an affirmance, she averages 3.31 questions to appellants. When the Court reverses in an opinion by Justice Burke, she averages 2.23 questions to appellants and 2.52 to appellees. Only for appellees in affirmances does writing the majority not impact Justice Burke’s questioning – she averages only 0.62 questions to appellees in affirmances. Although concurrences are comparatively uncommon, Justice Burke averages somewhat more questions to most parties when she writes a concurrence. In reversals, she averages 2.56 questions to appellants, two to appellees. She also averages 2.33 questions to appellees in affirmances where she writes a concurrence. When Justice Burke isn’t writing an opinion, she averages 1.69 questions to appellants and 0.98 to appellees in affirmances, 1.32 to appellants and 1.34 to appellees in reversals.

Table 457

In criminal cases where Justice Burke is in the minority, she tends to more heavily question the party she’s voting against, rather than the party which will ultimately win. In affirmances with Justice Burke in the minority, she averages 3.62 questions to appellees, 2.24 to appellants. In reversals when she’s in the minority, she averages 3.35 questions to appellants and only 0.59 to appellees. Writing a dissent has very little impact on Justice Burke’s question patterns in such cases. When she writes a dissent from an affirmance, she averages 2.29 questions to appellants and 3.88 to appellees. When she dissents from a reversal, she averages 4.1 questions to appellants, but only 0.6 questions to appellees.

Table 458

Join us back here tomorrow as we address whether writing an opinion in criminal cases makes Justice Burke more likely to begin the questioning.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Mike Procario (no changes).

Is Justice Burke More Likely to Start the Questioning When She’s Writing an Opinion?

29952217835_e689c5873b_z(2)Yesterday, we analyzed the data from nine years’ worth of oral arguments in civil cases, looking at correlations between Justice Burke’s question patterns, her voting and whether she wrote an opinion in a given case.  Today, we address whether Justice Burke is statistically more likely to be writing an opinion in cases where she asks the first question of either side.

We begin with cases where Justice Burke voted with the majority to affirm.  Overall, in 15% of such cases, she asked the first question to the appellant, and led off questioning to the appellee 13% of the time.  Writing had a dramatic effect, at least as far as the appellant was concerned.  In affirmances where Justice Burke wrote the majority opinion, the likelihood she would begin the questioning of the appellant was 43.75%.  The effect on appellees was only marginal – she began the questioning of appellees in 18.75% of cases where she wrote the majority.  Justice Burke was comparatively unlikely to ask the first question when she was not writing – 9.64% of the time for appellants, 12.05% for appellees.

In cases where Justice Burke joined a majority reversing, she began questioning of the appellants 23.67% of the time, but of appellees only 8.88%.  Again, writing had a considerable impact.  In cases where she wrote the majority, she began questioning of appellants 43.75% of the time, and of appellees 18.75%.  When Justice Burke was not writing, she began with appellants 16.3% of the time, and with appellees in 6.67%.

Table 455B

There are few cases where Justice Burke began the questioning, but ultimately voted with the minority.  Where she was in the minority of an affirmance, she began questioning of appellants 10% of the time overall, but in 16.67% of cases where she wrote a dissent.  In cases where Justice Burke was in the minority of a dissent, she began questioning of appellants half the time.

Table 456B

Join us back here next Tuesday as we address Justice Burke’s question patterns in criminal and quasi-criminal cases.

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

What Can We Infer From Justice Anne M. Burke’s Questioning Pattern in Civil Cases (Part 1)?

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This week we’re turning our attention to multiple issues: (1) does each individual Justice ask more questions of the prevailing or losing party in civil cases; (2) is the Justice’s pattern different when he or she votes with the minority; (3) what difference does it make for each Justice’s questioning if the Justice is writing an opinion; and (4) does writing an opinion mean that each Justice is more likely to ask the first question?

Today, we begin our review of the data from arguments in civil cases, 2008-2016, for Justice Anne M. Burke.  In affirmances where she voted with the majority, Justice Burke has questioned appellants (the losing party) significantly more heavily than appellees – 2.71 questions to 1.17.  The effect is more pronounced when Justice Burke writes the majority opinion affirming.  In such cases, Justice Burke averaged 5.31 questions to appellants, but only 0.94 to the appellees.  Justice Burke is only somewhat more active when writing a concurrence in an affirmance, averaging three questions to appellants and two to appellees.  Compare that to the numbers when Justice Burke isn’t writing in an affirmance – 2.2 questions on average to appellants, 1.2 to appellees.

We’ve shown that overall, the Court averages more questions to the party which will lose than to the winner.  Interestingly, Justice Burke’s pattern when voting with the majority in a civil reversal has been the opposite, asking slightly more questions of the appellant.  Overall, she averages 1.82 questions to appellants, 1.73 to appellees.  When writing the majority opinion reversing, she has averaged 3.19 questions to appellants, 2.84 to appellees.  When writing a concurrence (always a small data set), she averages 5.67 questions to appellants, 1.67 to appellees.  When not writing an opinion, she averaged 1.39 questions to appellants and 1.44 to appellees.

Table 453C

In Table 454, we report the data for civil cases in which Justice Burke voted with the minority.  As we see on the left, when the Court affirmed with Justice Burke in the minority, she averaged two questions to appellants and 1.5 to appellees – more questions to the party who ultimately lost the case, as opposed to the party she would wind up voting against.  When Justice Burke wrote a dissent from an affirmance, she averages 3.25 questions to appellants and three to appellees.  When she is in the minority but not writing, she averages only 1.17 questions to appellants, 0.5 to appellees.

In civil cases where the Court reverses with Justice Burke in the minority, she once again averages slightly more questions to appellants than appellees – 2.875 to 2.625.  Once again, writing an opinion has an impact – Justice Burke averages four questions to appellants when she writes a dissent from a reversal, but only 1.5 to appellants, 0.5 to dissents when she joins someone else’s dissent.

Table 454B

Join us back here tomorrow as we analyze what we can infer from cases where Justice Burke leads off the questioning.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Katherine Johnson (no changes).

Is There a Stable Relationship Between Time Under Submission and Result in Criminal Cases?

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Yesterday, we studied whether there’s a constant relationship, year after year, between the ultimate result in civil cases and the lag time to a decision – the number of days from allowance of the PLA to oral argument, and from argument to decision. Today, we review the year-by-year data for the criminal docket.

Between 2010 and 2014, reversals took longer to get from grant to argument in every year. In 2010, affirmances averaged 263.808 days to 274.1 for reversals. In 2011, the numbers were about the same – affirmances averaged 264.89 days, reversals averaged 270.59. The next year, both sides were up a bit – affirmances took 295.2 days from allowance of the PLA to argument, and reversals took 317.57 days. In 2013, affirmances averaged 288.73 days to 294.75 for reversals. In 2014, the numbers diverged, with affirmances averaging 246.2 days to argument and reversals taking an average of 285.5 days.

Since 2014, the trend has reversed itself. In 2015, affirmances took an average of 311.6 days to be argued, while reversals took 288.14. Last year, affirmances were about the same – 308.2 days from grant to argument, while reversals averaged 274.13 days.

Table 451

Measuring lag time from argument to decision yields a similar result – reversals typically took a bit longer on the criminal side. In 2010, affirmances were handed down on average 112.38 days after argument, while reversals took 136.8 days. In 2011, affirmances slowed down to 163 days, while reversals dropped slightly to 129 days. In 2012, the numbers were flat – affirmances took 127.4 days, reversals 129.29. For 2013, affirmances came more quickly (105.93 days) while reversals slowed down (157.1 days). The next year, lag times were shorter regardless of the result – affirmances were filed an average of 96.8 days after argument to 95.67 days for reversals. In 2015, affirmances came in 95 days, while reversals slowed to 142.82 days. Finally, last year, affirmances averaged 104.7 days, while reversals took 159.56 days on average.

Table 452

Join us back here next Tuesday as we begin our analysis of another aspect of the Court’s civil decision making.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Teemu008 (no changes).

Is There a Stable Relationship Between Time Under Submission and Result in Civil Cases?

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Last week, we showed that in contrast to the data for the California Supreme Court, time under submission from the allowing of the petition for leave to appeal to oral argument and argument to decision was longer at the Illinois Supreme Court for reversals than for affirmances. In those posts, we looked at the data aggregated for the entire 2010-2016 period. But is the relationship stable from year to year?

We divided the data for time under submission between affirmances and reversals by year and recalculated the means. Table 449 shows the average lag time in days from PLA grant to oral argument for affirmances and reversals in civil cases. We see that between 2010 and 2012, affirmances took longer to be argued than reversals did. Since that time, the correlation between lag time and result is minimal. In 2008, affirmances averaged 208.64 days from PLA grant to argument. Reversals were argued, on average, in 189.06 days. In 2011, the gap widened – affirmances took 220.81 days to be argued, while reversals were argued in only 161.56 days. In 2012, the gap increased to its biggest level of the period, as affirmances took roughly two months longer to be argued. Affirmances averaged 242.5 days from grant to argument, while reversals averaged 177.86 days.

For 2013, affirmances were argued nearly two months more quickly, while the average for reversals drifted upwards. Affirmances averaged 178.54 days, while reversals averaged 192.26 days. But in 2014, the trend briefly reasserted itself: affirmances averaged 214.22 days, while reversals averaged 189.44 days. Since that time, reversals have had the longer average lag time, but this is almost entirely the result of affirmances moving more quickly – the averages for reversals have stayed right around their long term trend. In 2015, affirmances on average were argued 182.86 days after the allowance of the PLA. Reversals were argued 198.05 days after the grant. For 2016, affirmances averaged 175 days, while reversals averaged 178.55.

Table 449

What about the time from oral argument to decision? Here, the relationship between lag time and result has been stable over time – reversals have taken longer nearly every year. In 2010, affirmances were handed down, on average, 116.79 days after argument. Reversals took 173.73 days. In 2011, affirmances came down in 123.88 days, while reversals took 142.94 days. In 2012, affirmances were filed in 146.75 days, while reversals were filed in 168.76 days.

2013 was the only year in the period when affirmances took longer – affirmances were filed, on average, 166 days after argument to 116.89 days for reversals. In 2014, affirmances were filed only 106.78 days after argument to 128.72 for reversals. The following year, reversals were about the same – 130.14 days – while affirmances moved even more quickly at 98.71 days. Last year, affirmances averaged 127.9 days to 185.36 days for reversals.

Table 450

Join us back here tomorrow as we look at the Court’s criminal docket, year by year.

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

 

 

Is There a Correlation Between the Time Under Submission and the Result in Criminal Cases (2010-2016)?

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Yesterday, we demonstrated that while affirmances generally are pending longer in California from grant of review to argument to decision, the evidence is more equivocal in Illinois, at least on the civil side.  Today, we look at the criminal side of the docket.  So, does there appear to be any correlation between the final result and the lag time in criminal cases?

Our data contains 128 affirmances and 136 reversals between 2010 and 2016.  From allowance of the petition for leave to appeal to oral argument, criminal cases which ended in affirmance averaged 260.38 days, while reversals averaged 288.06 days.

Table 447

We report the data from oral argument to decision in Table 448 below.  For affirmances, the average time from argument to decision is 122.84 days.  For reversals, the average is 140.43 days.  So, it turns out that for three of our four measures (grant to argument and argument to decision for civil and criminal), reversals took longer over a seven year stretch than affirmances did.  This leaves us with the question of whether our result is statistical noise, or there’s a concrete reason why reversals seem to take longer in Illinois, while affirmances do in California.

Nor is the variability markedly higher in the criminal-side data.  The standard deviation for the grant-to-argument data is 72.588 for affirmances, 117.162 for reversals.  For argument-to-decision, the standard deviation is 84.674 for affirmances and 78.5 for reversals – figures which are roughly comparable to our measurements on the civil side.

Table 448

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to another question in our ongoing study of the decision making of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Chetiya Sahabandu (no changes).

Is There a Correlation Between the Time Under Submission and the Result in Civil Cases (2010-2016)?

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Last week, we looked at the average time under submission at the Illinois Supreme Court from allowance of the petition for leave to appeal to oral argument to decision.  Over at the California Supreme Court, we’ve shown that affirmances generally take longer at each step of the way than reversals do.  So is there a similar correlation in Illinois?  At least one significant difference between appellate procedure in Illinois and California would suggest that the correlation might not hold.  In California, cases must be decided within ninety days of the oral argument.  As a result, by far the largest portion of the total lag time is the period from grant of review to argument.  In Illinois, there are no similar statutes.  So what does the data show?

Our database includes 97 affirmances and 136 reversals.  In civil cases between 2010 and 2016, affirmances have remained pending from allowance of the petition for leave to appeal to argument for two and a half weeks longer that reversals.  Affirmances have been pending for 201.304 days.  Reversals have been pending from allowance to argument for 183.053 days.

Table 445

So measuring lag time as the period from allowance of the petition for leave to appeal to oral argument, the relationship in Illinois is the same – civil affirmances take longer than reversals.  What about the lag time from oral argument to decision?  We report the data in Table 446 below.  Here, the relationship is reversed – reversals average 145.882 days from argument to decision, while affirmances are typically handed down 128.082 days after the argument.

The data doesn’t vary as widely as it does in California.  The standard deviation for affirmances from PLA allowance to argument is 69.699, meaning that 68% of the data observations fall within 69.699 days plus or minus from the mean.  Reversals were almost identical, with a standard deviation of 65.4542.  The standard deviation for affirmances from argument to decision is 104.031, while for reversals, it’s 63.5.

Table 446

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by GollyGForce (no changes).

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