How Were the Court’s Civil Cases Distributed In the Appellate Court (Part 2)?

Yesterday, we began our study of where in the Appellate Court the Court has drawn its civil docket each year. Today, we’re reviewing the years 1997 through 2003.

For the years 1990 through 1996, cases from Cook County’s First District were consistently about ten percentage points less of the civil docket than one would expect if the docket were distributed proportionally to population. That continued for the years 1997 through 2003.

Division One produced one case in 1997, two in 1999, three in 2000 and none at all in 2001, but five per year in 2002 and 2003, and seven in 1998. Division Two produced three cases in 1997 and 1998, four each year in 1999 and 2000, one each in 2001 and 2002 and two in 2003. Division Three produced five civil cases in 1997, three per year in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002, and four each year in 2001 and 2003. Division Four produced four cases in 1997 and 2001, three in 2000, two in 2002, and one per year in 1998, 1999 and 2003. Division Five produced four cases each year in 1998 and 2001, two each year in 2002 and 2003, one in 1999 and none for 1997 and 2000. Division Six produced five cases in 1997, four in 2002, three each in 1998 and 1999 and one case a year in 2000, 2001 and 2003. The Industrial Commission Division of the First District produced one case per year in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002. Finally, I was unable to definitively attribute eleven First District cases to a division in 1997, five in 1998, four in 1999, three in 2000, six in 2001 and two in 2002.

Data for the rest of the state is reported in Table 579. The Court decided eleven civil cases from the Second District in 1998, eight in 2001, seven in 2000, six in 1997 and 2002, and five in 1999 and 203. The Court decided one case each from the Industrial Commission Division of the Second District in 1998 and 2000. The Court decided nine cases from the Third District in 1998, five in 2003, four in 2001, three in 1997 and 2002, two in 1999, and one in 2000. The Court decided eleven civil cases from the Fourth District in 2003, six in 1997 and 2002, five in 1998, 1999 and 2001, and three in 2000. The Court decided eight civil cases from the Fifth District in 1998, seven in 1997 and 2002, six in 2000 and 2003 and five in 1999 and 2001. The Court decided one case each from the Industrial Commission Divisions of the Fourth District in 1998 and the Fifth District in 1999 and 2002.

The Court decided eleven direct appeals from the Circuit Court in 1997, eight in 1998, seven in 2001, six in 2002, four in 1999, three in 2003 and two in 2000. The Court heard one case each under its original jurisdiction in 1998 and 2001. The Court heard one certified question per year in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2003.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we continue our study of the Court’s civil docket.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Tom Shockey (no changes).

How Were the Court’s Civil Cases Distributed In the Appellate Court (Part 1)?

This week, we answer a new question in our study of the expanded Illinois Supreme Court data library: how have the Court’s civil cases been distributed among the various parts of the Appellate Court?

As of 1990, Cook County accounted for 44.66% of the total population of Illinois. So if caseload followed population distribution, one would expect 39-40 of the Court’s 89 civil cases to have originated in the First District. But based solely on population, the First District has been consistently underrepresented in the civil docket, accounting for 30 cases in 1990, 21 in 1991, 34 in 1992, 19 in 1993, 28 in 1994, 24 in 1995 and 18 in 1996. More specifically, Division One produced three cases each in 1990 and 1991, two in 1992, none in 1993, six in 1994, three in 1995 and two in 1996. Division Two produced three cases in 1990, six in 1991, four in 1992, one in 1993, seven in 1994 and one each in 1995 and 1996. Division Three produced a dozen civil cases in 1990, but only two in 1991; six in 1992 and 1994, four in 1993 and five each in 1995 and 1996. Division Four produced seven cases in 1990 and 1992, five each in 1991, 1993 and 1994, and two per year in 1995 and 1996. Division Five produced two cases in 1990, 1994 and 1995, three cases in 1994, four in 1992, five in 1993 and none in 1996. Division Six produced no civil cases in 1990 and 1993, one per year in 1991 and 1994, five apiece in 1995 and 1996 and seven in 1993. The Industrial Commission panel of the First District produced two cases in 1995. I was unable to assign a total of twenty cases to a specific District of Division One (almost always because the Appellate Court issued a Rule 23 order and there were no identifying characteristics in the Supreme Court opinion): three in 1990, one in 1991, four each in 1992 and 1993, one in 1994, four in 1995 and three in 1996.

Just as the First District was arguably underrepresented on the Court’s docket during these years, the rest of the state was arguably overrepresented. In 1990, the Court decid3ed twelve civil cases from the Second District, seven from the Third, one from the Industrial Commission Division of the Third District, eight from the Fourth District and eleven from the Fifth District. For the most part, this distribution of the caseload stayed constant from one year to the next. The Second District produced seven cases in 1991, only three in 1993 and six in 1995, but 15 in 1992 and ten each in 1994 and 1996. The Third District produced seven cases in 1991, four in 1992, two in 1993, eight in 1994 and five per year in 1995 and 1996. The Fourth District produced only three cases in 1991 and four in 1993 and 1996, but nine each year in 1994 and 1995, and accounted for fifteen cases in 1992. The Fifth District, frequently criticized by defense bar advocates of tort reform, generally claims an outsized piece of the Court’s civil docket in terms of population. It produced nine cases in 1991, eleven in 1992 and again in 1994, seven per year in 1993 and 1995 and six in 1996.

In Table 577, we report the remaining miscellaneous civil appeals. In 1990, the Court decided twelve direct appeals from the Circuit Courts (typically, constitutional issues), four original proceedings and four attorney admission/disciplinary issues. In 1991, the Court heard only four direct appeals and one original proceeding. In 1992, the Court decided seven direct appeals, one original proceeding, one bar matter and two certified questions from the Seventh Circuit. In 1993, the Court decided only three direct appeals in civil cases. In 1994, the Court decided seven direct appeals and one original proceeding. In 1995, the Court decided three direct appeals and one original proceeding.   Finally, in 1996, the Court decided ten direct appeals in civil cases.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the Court’s civil cases from 1997 through 2003.

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

Join Me on November 15 for “Patterns and Practice: How Analyzing the Illinois Supreme Court Can Boost Your Appeals”

On November 15 at the Union Club in Chicago, I’ll have the pleasure of joining the members of the Appellate Lawyers Association and the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago for a discussion of the data analytics revolution as it applies to appellate law – “Patterns and Practice: How Analyzing the Illinois Supreme Court Can Boost Your Appeals.” From the event announcement:

Please join us for an innovative exploration of data analytics and how it can enhance your appellate practice.  Kirk C. Jenkins, chair of the Appellate Task Force at Sedgwick LLP, has created an analytic database that includes roughly 275,000 data points from decisions handed down by the Illinois Supreme Court between 1990 and 2016.  Drawing on that robust analytic framework, Mr. Jenkins will share insights on and explore topics such as whether one can predict a case’s result by counting the questions at oral argument; which justices most often vote together and on what areas of law; and whether the Court (as well as individual justices) more often votes to reverse Appellate Court wins by plaintiffs or defendants.  A regular practitioner in California, Mr. Jenkins also will address distinctions between that state’s highest court and the Illinois Supreme Court.

Mr. Jenkins has exclusively practiced appellate litigation for more than 20 years.  He has served as lead counsel in over 200 appeals in state and federal courts across the nation and recently was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, an organization whose members have demonstrated the highest skill level and integrity in the practice of appellate law.

To register for the event, click here.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Bert Kaufmann.

What Is the State’s Winning Percentage in Criminal Appeals When It’s the Appellant?

Yesterday, we reviewed the data about how the Court’s criminal docket has been divided between cases in which the State was the appellant and defense appeals.  Today, we look at the State’s year-by-year winning percentage in each role.

For the years 1990 through 1995, the State’s winning percentage in criminal appeals varied up and down from one year to the next.  In 1990, the State won 70% of its criminal cases as appellant.  The State’s winning percentage fell to 57.14% in 1991, was back up to 83.72% in 1992, down to 57.14% in 1993 and 69.23% in 1994 and 80.77% in 1995.

For the years 1996 through 2004, the State’s winning percentage as appellant matched fairly closely the overall reversal rate.  The State won half its cases in 1996, only 41.18% in 1997, 52.17% in 1998, half in 1999 and 2000 and 55% in 2001.  The State won only 41.18% of its cases as appellant in 2002 and 48.72% in 2003.  The State’s winning percentage as appellant rose to two-thirds in 2004.

Following 2004, the State’s winning percentage as appellant drifted upwards, and has stayed there for the most part in the last decade.  The State won 65.52% of its cases as appellant in 2005, 81.48% in 2006 and all its cases in 2007.  The State won 69.23% in 2008, 72.73% in 2009 and 86.36% in 2010.  The State won 69.23% in 2011, 60% in 2012 and 77.78% in 2013.  The State’s winning percentage fell to half in 2014, but rose back to 89.47% in 2015 and 72% in 2016.

In Table 573, we review the State’s winning percentage in appeals which the defendants initiated.  The State won two-thirds of such cases in 1990, 92% in 1991, 81.25% in 1992 and 85.19% in 1993.  The State won 70.27% in 1994, 81.13% in 1995 and 76.47% in 1996.

The State’s winning percentage in defense appeals dropped during the years 1997 through 2003.  In 1997, the State won 59.57%.  It won 64% in 1998, 58.82% in 1999, 65.15% in 2000, 67.57% in 2001, 54.05% in 2002 and 76% in 2003.  The State’s winning percentage fell to 51.72% in 2004.

The State won three-quarters of defense appeals in 2005.  The following year, it won 79.17%, but only 47.06% in 2007.  The State won 62.5% in 2008, 63.33% in 2009, and 87.88% in 2010.  The State’s winning percentage reverted to trend in 2011 at 68.18%.  The State won 53.33% in 2012 and 55% in 2013.  The State’s winning percentage jumped to 85.71% in 2014, but was only 57.14% in 2015 and 54.55% in 2016.

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

Image courtesy of Flickr by Robert Lowe (no changes).

How Often is the State the Appellant in Criminal Cases?

Last week, we reviewed the data on how often public entities were parties in civil cases at the Court.  Of course, criminal cases are a different matter; the State is a party to every appeal.  So this week, we address a slightly different question: how many of the Court’s criminal appeals involve appeals by the State, and how many appeals by the defendants?  And how has the State fared in terms of winning percentage in each role?

The Court decided thirty cases in 1990 where the State was the appellant.  The State was the appellant in 28 cases in 1991 and 43 in 1992.  In 1993, appeals by the State dropped sharply to 14.  The Court decided 26 appeals by the State in 1994 and again in 1995, 20 in 1996, 17 in 1997, 23 in 1998, 18 in 1999 and 20 each in 2000 and 2001.  The Court decided 34 cases involving State appellants in 2002, 39 in 2003 and 33 in 2004.

Criminal appeals initiated by the State declined over the next several years.  The Court decided 29 such cases in 2005 and 27 in 2006, but only 11 in 2007.  The Court decided 26 cases involving appeals by the State in 2008, 22 each in 2009 and 2010, 26 in 2011 and 20 in 2012.  The Court decided 18 cases involving State appeals in 2013, 22 in 2014, 19 in 2015 and 25 in 2016.

Not surprisingly, appeals initiated by defendants are far more common than State appeals in criminal cases.  The Court decided 36 cases with defense appellants in 1990, 25 in 1991, 48 in 1992, 27 in 1993, 37 in 1994 and 53 in 1995.  The Court decided 34 cases involving defense appellants in 1996, 47 in 1997, 50 in 1998 and 34 in 1999.  The Court decided 66 cases involving defense appeals in 2000.  In the years that followed, appeals by defendants declined somewhat, to 37 in 2001, 30 in 2002, 25 in 2003 and 29 in 2004.

The decline in the Court’s criminal caseload has continued in more recent years.  The Court decided 28 cases involving defense appellants in 2005, 24 in 2006, only 17 in 2007, 24 in 2008, 30 in 2009 and 33 in 2010.  The Court decided 22 cases involving defense appellants in 2011, but only 15 in 2012; 20 in 2013, only 14 each in 2014 and 2015 and 11 in 2016.

Join us tomorrow as we review the State’s winning percentage as appellant and respondent in criminal cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Richie Diesterheft (no changes).

How Often Do Governmental Entities Win in Civil Cases?

Yesterday, we looked at how often governmental entities have appeared as parties in civil cases at the Illinois Supreme Court.  Today, we address the governmental entities’ winning percentage.

Governmental entities won sixty percent of the time in 1990 as petitioners.  They won half the time in 1991, 60% in 1992 and 50% in 1993.  In 1994, petitioners won two thirds of the time.  In 1995, petitioners won 69.23% of the time.  Governmental entities’ winning percentage spiked briefly to 85.71% in 1996 and 83.33% in 1998, but was 75% in 1999, 60% in 2000, 72.73% in 2001, 58.33% in 2002, 57.14% in 2003 and 61.11% in 2004.

In Table 564, we review the winning percentage of government entities as respondents.  Government entities won 45.45% of the time in 1990 and 30% of the time in 1991, 72.73% in 1992 and 40% of the time in 1993.

Respondents’ winning percentage was fairly stable for the rest of the period: 55.56% in 1994; 40% in 1995, 57.14% in 1996, 50% in 1997, 52.94% in 1998, 42.86% in 1999, two-thirds in 2000 and 83.33% in 2001.  Governmental entities won no cases as respondents in 2002, but one-third in 2003 and 42.86% in 2004.

We review the parties’ data for the years 2006 through 2016 below.  Petitioners won 45.45% of the time as appellants in 2005, 54.55% in 2006, 71.43% in 2007 and two-thirds in 2008.  The Court decided 87.5% of its cases as petitioners in 2009, two-thirds in 2010, 55.56% in 2011, 77.78% in 2012, 61.54% in 2013 and 80% in 2014.  Petitioners won only 45.46% of the time in 2015, but two-thirds in 2016.

The Court won 83.33% of its cases as respondent in 2005.  The Court won 54.55% in 2006, 90% in 2007 about 45.45% in 2008, 55.56% in 2009 and two-thirds in 2010.  The Court decided 85.71% of its cases as respondents in 2011.  The Court decided only 42.86% of the Court’s cases in 2012 and one-third in 2013, but 83.33% in 2014.  The Court decided only 28.57% of its cases as respondent as respondents in 2015, and two-thirds in 2016.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we begin reviewing the data for the Court’s criminal docket.

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

 

How Common Are Governmental Parties in the Court’s Civil Docket?

For the past several weeks, we’ve looked at the Court’s record with death penalty appeals.  This week and next, we’re looking at the Court’s record with parties that are governmental entities.

In Table 559, we report the total number of petitioners who were government entities between 1990 and 2004.  Governmental petitioners varied widely from 1990 through 1993: 15 in 1990, 6 in 1991, 20 in 1992 and 8 in 1993.  There were fifteen petitioners in 1994, thirteen in 1995, fourteen in 1996 and 1997 and 18 in 1998.  There were eight governmental entity petitioners in 1999, five in 2000, 11 in 2001, 12 in 2002, 7 in 2003 and 18 in 2004.

We report the number of government entity petitioners for the years 2005 through 2016 in Table 560.  The Court decided eleven cases involving public entities in 2005 and 2006, 7 in 2007, 6 in 2008, 8 in 2009, 3 in 2010 and nine each in 2011 and 2012.  The Court decided thirteen cases involving public entity petitioners in 2013, five in 2014, eleven in 2015 and 6 cases in 2016.

In Table 561, we report the number of public entity respondents year by year for the years 1990 through 2004.  The Court decided eleven cases involving public entities in 1990, ten in 1991 and 11 in 1992.  The Court decided five public entity cases in 1993 and 19 in 1994.  The Court decided five cases with public entity respondents in 1995, 7 in 1996 and four in 1997.  The Court decided seventeen cases involving public entity respondents in 1998, seven in 1999, six in 2000 and 2001, three in 2002, fifteen in 2003 and seven in 2004.

We report the data for respondents during the years 2005 through 2016 in Table 562.  The Court decided six cases with public entity respondents in 2005, 11 in 2006, ten in 2007 and 11 in 2008.  The Court decided nine cases involving public entity respondents in 2009 and 2010, seven each in 2011 and 2012, and six each in 2013 and 2014.  The Court decided seven cases involving public entity respondents in 2015 and six in 2016.

Join us back here tomorrow as we continue our analysis of the Court’s public entity parties.

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

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).

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