Does Dissent at the Appellate Court Predict Division in Criminal Cases at the Supreme Court?

Yesterday, we looked at the year-by-year data on the civil side of the docket, asking whether a dissent at the Appellate Court tends to indicate that one or more dissenters are likely at the Supreme Court.  Today, we’re looking at the same question on the criminal side.

In Table 676, we report the absolute numbers – how many unanimous decisions had a dissent below, and how many non-unanimous decisions did.  Although the number is nearly always higher among unanimous decisions, of course, unanimous decisions are far more common in the criminal docket than non-unanimous decisions are.

So in Table 677, we report the same data as a fraction of the whole – what percentage of unanimous and non-unanimous decisions had a dissenter below.  Here, we see indications that on the criminal side, dissent at the Appellate Court actually is a moderately successful predictor that the Supreme Court will be divided – in seventeen of twenty-eight years, the share of non-unanimous decisions which were divided was higher than the share of unanimous decisions.

In 1990, the numbers were nearly equal – 21.82% unanimous decisions, 21.43% non-unanimous.  In 1991, twice as many unanimous decisions had a dissent below – 29.55% of unanimous decisions, 14.29% of non-unanimous ones.  But in 1992, only 9.21% of unanimous decisions had a dissent below, while one-quarter of the non-unanimous decisions did.  In 1993, none of the unanimous decisions had a dissent below, but 14.29% of the non-unanimous cases did.  In 1994, 12.5% of the Court’s unanimous criminal cases had a dissent below, but 20% of the non-unanimous criminal decisions did.

None of the Court’s unanimous criminal decisions in 1995 and 1996 had a dissent below; 9.38% of the non-unanimous decisions in 1995 and 5.88% in 1996 did.  In 1997, 7.89% of the unanimous decisions and 12% of the non-unanimous decisions were divided below.  In 1998, 6% of the unanimous decisions and 9.09% of the non-unanimous decisions were divided below.  In 1999, 20.83% of the unanimous decisions and 6.9% of the non-unanimous decisions were divided.  The following year, 8.7% of the unanimous decisions and 6.35% of the non-unanimous decisions had dissenters below.

In 2001, 11.43% of the Court’s unanimous criminal decisions and 4.35% of the non-unanimous decisions had a dissent below.  In 2002, the numbers were similar: 13.16% of unanimous decisions, 6.25% of non-unanimous decisions.  In 2003, 14.29% of unanimous decisions and 13.33% of non-unanimous decisions were divided below.  In 2004, 25.53% of unanimous decisions had a dissent below, but 40% of the non-unanimous decisions did.  In 2005, a quarter of the Court’s unanimous criminal decisions had a dissent, but 36.36% of the non-unanimous decisions did.  In 2006, 19.44% of the unanimous decisions and 28.57% of the non-unanimous decisions were divided below.  In 2007, one quarter of the unanimous criminal decisions and 37.5% of the non-unanimous decisions were divided.  In 2008, the sides of the criminal docket were virtually identical – 26.19% of the unanimous decisions and one-quarter of the non-unanimous decisions were divided below.  In 2009, only 7.5% of the unanimous criminal decisions were divided below, but once again, a quarter of the non-unanimous decisions were.

In 2010, 31.71% of the unanimous criminal decisions and 28.57% of the non-unanimous decisions had a dissenter below.  The following year, 18.92% of the unanimous decisions had a dissenter below, but nearly half of the non-unanimous decisions did (45.45%).  In 2012, 21.74% of the unanimous decisions were divided, and forty percent of the non-unanimous decisions were.  In 2013, 17.86% of the unanimous decisions had a dissenter below, but none of the non-unanimous cases did.  In 2014, 22.22% of the unanimous decisions and 28.57% of the non-unanimous decisions were divided below.  In 2015, 29.63% of the unanimous criminal decisions and half of the non-unanimous decisions were divided.  In 2016, 21.43% of the unanimous decisions and 14.29% of the non-unanimous decisions were divided.  Last year, the two sides of the criminal docket were nearly identical – 20% of the unanimous decisions and 22.22% of the non-unanimous ones had a dissenter below.

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

Image courtesy of Flickr by RussellStreet (no changes).

Does Dissent at the Appellate Court Predict Dissent in Civil Cases at the Supreme Court?

Last time, we tracked the year-by-year data, testing the proposition that most of the Court’s cases are sufficiently “close calls” to have brought a dissent at the Appellate Court.  This week, we’re testing another proposition – does dissent at the Appellate Court suggest that there’s going to be one or more dissenters at the Supreme Court?

In Table 674, we track the absolute numbers – how many of the Court’s unanimous civil decisions had a dissent below versus how many of the Court’s non-unanimous decisions did.  We see in the blue line that in most years – twenty of twenty-eight, to be precise – there are more unanimous decisions than non-unanimous ones arising from divided decisions below.

In Table 675, we report the same data with the number of divided Appellate Court decisions on each side of the ledger reported as a portion of the whole: in other words, if the Court decided three civil cases unanimously, and one had a dissent at the Appellate Court, then we would report 33.33%.

Evaluated this way, it begins to appear that dissent at the Appellate Court is not a strong predictor of dissent at the Supreme Court.  A higher portion of non-unanimous civil decisions had a dissent below in fifteen of the twenty-eight years.

In 1990, 20% of the unanimous civil cases and 36.84% of the non-unanimous ones had a dissent below.  In 1991, 30% of the unanimous decisions and 23.08% of the non-unanimous ones did.  In 1992, 25.81% of the unanimous decisions had a dissent below, but only 16.67% of the non-unanimous ones did.  In 1993, 16.67% of the unanimous decisions and 28.57% of the non-unanimous ones had a dissent below.  The following year, 34.15% of the unanimous decisions and 20.59% of the non-unanimous decisions had a dissent below.  In 1995, the numbers were roughly equal – 28.57% of unanimous decisions and 23.81% of non-unanimous ones had a dissent below.  In 1996, 17.65% of unanimous civil decisions and 28.57% of non-unanimous decisions had a dissent below.  In 1997, the numbers dropped on both sides, to 6.45% of unanimous decisions and 12.5% of non-unanimous decisions.  In 1998, 20.59% of unanimous decisions and 10.81% of non-unanimous decisions were divided below.

In 1999, a quarter of unanimous civil decisions had a dissent below, but 47.62% of non-unanimous decisions did.  In 2000, 22.73% of unanimous decisions and 18.75% of non-unanimous decisions were divided below.  In 2001, both sides fell sharply – 7.89% of unanimous decisions, 7.69% of non-unanimous cases.  The following  year, 21.21% of unanimous civil decisions had a dissent below, but 41.18% of non-unanimous cases did.  In 2003, the relationship flipped – 28.57% of non-unanimous decisions were divided below, but 40.63% of unanimous decisions were.  In 2004, 17.5% of unanimous decisions were divided, but 21.43% of non-unanimous decisions were.

For the next two years, the share on both sides was fairly stable – 20.51% (2005) and 17.24% (2006) for unanimous decisions, 33.33% (2005) and 35% (2006) for non-unanimous cases.  In 2007, a third of the unanimous civil decisions were divided below, but fully half of the non-unanimous decisions were.  In 2008, 30% of unanimous decisions were divided below, and a third of non-unanimous decisions were.  In 2009, 20.59% of unanimous decisions and 42.86% of non-unanimous decisions were divided.  In 2010, the numbers were close to equal – 37.5% of unanimous decisions and one-third of the non-unanimous civil decisions.  In 2011, only 13.79% of the unanimous civil decisions had a dissenter below, but two-thirds of the non-unanimous decisions did.  The following year, things were much closer again, as 27.27% of the unanimous decisions and a third of the non-unanimous decisions were divided below.  In 2013, 35% of unanimous decisions and only 21.43% of non-unanimous decisions had a dissenter.  In 2014, 19.05% of unanimous decisions had a dissenter below, but none of the non-unanimous cases did.  In 2015, 34.29% of unanimous decisions had a dissenter below, and a third of the non-unanimous cases did.  In 2016, 19.05% of unanimous decisions were divided, but only 14.29% of non-unanimous cases were.  Last year, 38.1% of the Court’s unanimous civil decisions had a dissenter below, and 40% of the non-unanimous decisions did.

Join us back here next time as we review the Court’s criminal docket.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Marco Verch (no changes).

Are Most of the Court’s Criminal Cases Divided Decisions at the Court of Appeal?

Last time, we looked at the share, year by year, of the Court’s civil docket accounted for by decisions which brought a dissent at the Court of Appeal.  Today, we’re looking at the data for the criminal docket.

The Court decided fifteen criminal cases in 1990 and 1991 which were divided below.  The Court decided eleven divided cases in 1992, but only one in 1993.  The Court decided ten divided cases in 1994.  The Court decided three divided cases in 1995, one in 1996, six in 1997, five in 1998, seven in 1999, six in 2000, five in 2001, seven in 2002 and nine in 2003.

In 2004 and the two years following, the number of divided criminal cases increased – to 18 in 2004, 16 in 2005 and eleven in 2006.  The Court decided eight divided cases in 2007, thirteen in 2008, six in 2009, eighteen in 2010 and twelve in 2011.  The Court decided nine divided criminal cases in 2012, five in 2013, eight in 2014, eleven in 2015 and seven per year in 2016 and 2017.

So how much of the total criminal docket was accounted for by divided decisions below?  In 1990, 21.74% of the Court’s criminal docket was divided below.  In 1991, 25.86% was.  In 1992, only 11.96% were, and in 1993, the fraction fell to 2.33%.  In 1994, 15.38% of the Court’s criminal docket was divided below, but the share fell to 3.8% in 1995, 1.85% in 1996, 9.52% in 1997 and 6.94% in 1998.  In 1999, 13.21% of the Court’s criminal docket was divided below.  In 2000, 6.98% was, and in 2001, the share was 8.62%.  In 2002, 10% of the criminal docket was divided below.  In 2003, 13.85% of the docket was divided below, but the share was 29.03% in 2004, 27.12% in 2005, 22% in 2006, 28.57% in 2008 and 26% in 2008.  The divided share fell to 11.54% in 2009, but rose to 32.73% in 2010, 25% in 2011 and 27.28% in 2012.  The share fell to 13.16% in 2013, but that was a one year fall.  In 2014, 23.53% of the criminal docket was divided decisions below.  In 2015, exactly one third of the criminal docket was divided below.  In 2016, 20% of the docket was divided and 20.59% was in 2017.

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

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

Are Most of the Court’s Civil Cases Divided Decisions at the Court of Appeal?

This week, we’re beginning a new topic in our ongoing study of the Court’s decision making.  One often hears that unless there’s a dissent at the Appellate Court level, there’s no chance that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case.  So – how true is that?  How much of the Supreme Court’s docket consists of divided decisions below?

In Table 670, we report the absolute numbers of divided decisions, year by year, on the civil side.  The Court decided twenty-one divided cases in 1990, fifteen in 1991, twenty-one in 1992, 8 in 1993, twenty-one in 1994, fifteen in 1995 and twelve in 1996.  The Court decided six civil cases which were divided below in 1997, eleven in 1998, fifteen in 1999, eight in 2000 and four in 2001.  The Court decided fourteen divided civil cases in 2002, seventeen in 2003, ten in 2004, eleven in 2005, twelve in 2006, fifteen in 2007, thirteen in 2008, ten in 2009 and twelve in 2010.  The Court decided ten divided civil cases in 2011, twelve in 2012, ten in 2013, four in 2014, fifteen in 2015, five in 2016 and ten in 2017.

In Table 671, we report the percentage of the Court’s civil docket accounted for by divided decisions from the Court of Appeal.  Each year from 1990 to 1996, between twenty and thirty percent of the Court’s civil docket was divided decisions below: 23.6% in 1990, 28.3% in 1991, 22.83% in 1992, 21.05% in 1993, 28% in 1994, 26.79% in 1995 and 21.82% in 1996.  Only 9.52% of the Court’s civil docket was divided decisions below in 1997, but 15.49% was in 1998.  In 1999, 36.59% of the Court’s cases were divided below.  In 2000, 21.05% of the Court’s civil cases were divided.  Only 7.84% were divided below in 2001, but 28% were in 2002 and 36.96% were in 2003.  In 2004, 18.52% of the Court’s civil cases were divided decisions below.  Divided decisions accounted for 22.92% in 2005 and 24.49% in 2006.

In 2007, 36.59% of the Court’s civil cases were divided below.  In 2008, 30.95% were.  The numbers fell to 24.39% in 2009, but in 2010, 36.36% were divided below.  In 2011, 26.32% of the Court’s civil cases were divided decisions below.  In the years since, the share accounted for by divided decisions has fluctuated from just below 20 to nearly forty percent – 30% in 2012, 29.41% in 2013, 14.81% in 2014, 34.09% in 2015, 17.86% in 2016 and 38.46% in 2017.

Join us back here next time as we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal docket.

Image courtesy of Flickr by HystericalMark (no changes).

Which Counties Produced the Court’s Criminal Docket, 1990-2017?

Yesterday, we reviewed the overall data for the period 1990 through 2017 of the originating counties for the Supreme Court’s civil docket.  Today, we’re looking at the Court’s criminal docket.

Cook County accounted for 41.46% of the Court’s criminal docket between 1990 and 2017 – a slightly less predominant position than in the civil docket.  Du Page County produced 5.41% and Will County accounted for 5.08%.  Kane County produced 3.98% and Lake County accounted for 3.85%.  Champaign County produced 2.67%, the ARDC was 2.54% of the docket, and Peoria County produced 2.54%.  McLean County produced 2.09% of the docket.  St. Clair County produced 1.89%, Winnebago County 1.83%, and Kankakee County 1.76%.  Madison County accounted for 1.56%, Livingston 1.37%, Vermilion 1.24% and Sangamon County produced 1.04%.  Rock Island and Henry counties accounted for 0.98% of the Court’s criminal cases.  La Salle County accounted for 0.91%, Adams County 0.78%, Macon County 0.72%, Bureau County 0.65%, and Jefferson County produced 0.59%.

McHenry, Grundy and Tazewell counties accounted for 0.59% of the Court’s criminal docket each.  Whiteside, Coles and Boone counties accounted for 0.52%.  Randolph, Williamson and Ogle counties produced 0.46% of the criminal docket each.   Jackson, Clinton, Marion, Montgomery, Hancock, Macoupin and De Kalb counties produced 0.39% of the criminal docket.  Stephenson and Effingham counties produced 0.33%.  Knox, Iroquois, Jo Daviess, Warren, Pike and Kendall counties accounted for 0.26% each.

Union, Schuyler, Mason, Douglas, Lee, Ford and Wayne counties all accounted for 0.2%, and unknown trial courts were 0.2% too.  The following counties produced 0.13% of the Court’s criminal docket: Edgar, Saline, McDonough, Fayette, Cumberland, Piatt, Fulton, Massac, Woodford, Logan and Morgan.

Johnson and Stark counties both accounted for 0.13% of the Court’s criminal docket.  A great many jurisdictions produced one case each: Wabash, Pope, Jasper, Mercer, El Paso, Shelby, Menard, Pulaski, Washington, Alexander, Moultrie, Greene, Clark, Jersey, Perry and Hamilton counties, original jurisdiction cases, and administrative cases on direct appeal.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to another issue in the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision making.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Trailnet (no changes).

Which Counties Produced the Court’s Civil Docket, 1990-2017?

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been tracking the county trial courts which have produced the Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets between 1990 and 2017.  This week, we’re reviewing the overall data for the entire period.

Between 1990 and 2017, Cook County accounted for 44.68% of the Court’s civil cases.  Du Page County produced 5.83%, Lake produced 4.36% and Sangamon County accounted for 4.28%.  Direct administrative appeals were 3.84%, St. Clair County was 3.69% and Madison County was 3.25%.  Will County produced 2.36% of the Court’s civil cases and Champaign County accounted for 2.22%.  Seven cases produced between one and two percent of the Court’s civil cases – Peoria, 1.99%; Kane, 1.77%; McLean, 1.4%; McHenry, 1.18%; Winnebago, 1.11, and Jackson and Macon – 1.03% each.  Rock Island County produced 0.96% of the Court’s civil docket.  Williamson County accounted for 0.89% and La Salle County produced 0.86%.  Original jurisdiction cases, certified question appeals from the Northern District of Illinois and Franklin County produced 0.66% of the Court’s civil docket each.

Tazewell County accounted for 0.59% of the Court’s civil docket.  Vermilion, Marion and Jefferson County produced 0.52% each.  Macoupin County accounted for 0.37%.  Eight counties produced 0.3% of the Court’s civil docket – Grundy, Christian, Ogle, Effingham, Knox, Adams and Kendall counties, and cases in which the county trial court could not be identified.   Bureau, Johnson, Menard, Boone, Putnam, Randolph, Morgan, Lee, Stephenson, Coles and McDonough counties have all accounted for 0.22% of the Court’s civil docket.

Thirteen counties accounted for 0.15% of the Court’s civil docket – Warren, Douglas, Kankakee, Wabash, De Kalb, Greene, Ford, Henry, DeWitt, Montgomery, Edgar, Piatt and Clinton.  Marshall, Iroquois, Alexander, Wayne, Bond, Lawrence, Hamilton, Logan, Mason, Moultrie and Clark counties all produced 0.07% of the Court’s civil docket apiece.

In Table 665, we report the remainder of the civil docket counties.  The following counties produced 0.07% of the Court’s civil docket each: Monroe, Hardin, Pope, Crawford, Union, Perry, Scott, Pike, Cumberland, Fayette, Jersey, Massac, Woodford, Washington and Saline.  Finally, 0.07% of the Court’s civil docket originated in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the overall data for the Court’s criminal docket.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Wally Slowik, Jr. (no changes).

 

Which Trial Courts Produce the Court’s Criminal Docket (Part 6)?

Yesterday, we examined the trial courts which produced the Supreme Court’s civil docket for the years 2015 through 2017.  Today, we’re looking at the data for the Court’s criminal docket.

In 2015, the Court decided sixteen criminal cases from Cook County, four from Will and three from Kane County.  The Court decided one case each from Du Page, McLean, Rock Island, St. Clair, Peoria, Jefferson, Sangamon, Macoupin, Adams and De Kalb counties.

In 2016, the Court decided sixteen criminal cases from Cook County, three from Will County and two from McLean and Peoria counties.  The Court decided one case each from Du Page, Whiteside, Madison, St. Clair, Champaign, Bureau, Livingston, Tazewell, Hancock, Johnson, Kendall and Hamilton counties.

Last year, the Court decided seventeen criminal cases from Cook County.  The Court decided two cases from Will, La Salle and Champaign counties.  Finally, the Court decided one case each from Winnebago, Du Page, Madison, St. Clair, Peoria, Kane, Schuyler, Coles, Effingham and Boone counties, and one case within the Court’s original jurisdiction.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we summarize our twenty-eight years of geographical data.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jay Sturner (no changes).

 

Which Trial Courts Produce the Court’s Civil Docket (Part 6)?

For the past several weeks, we’ve been reviewing the year-by-year data to determine which trial courts have produced the Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets.  This week, we’re reviewing the years 2015 through 2017.  Today: the civil docket.

In 2015, the Court decided seventeen civil cases from Cook County.  The Court decided four cases from Lake County, three from Champaign County, and two from St. Clair, Will and Sangamon County, and two on direct appeal from various administrative boards and agencies.  The Court decided one civil case apiece from Warren, Du Page, Madison, Peoria, McHenry, Jackson, Winnebago, Jefferson, McLean, Macon, Stephenson and Saline counties.

In 2016, the Court decided sixteen civil cases from Cook County.  The Court decided two cases from Madison and Jackson counties, and the Court decided one case each from Will, Peoria, Winnebago, Rock Island, Williamson and Macoupin counties, one on direct administrative appeal, and one on certified question appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Finally, in 2017, the Court decided eleven civil cases from Cook County.  The Court decided three cases from Lake County and two from Sangamon County.  The Court decided one civil case each from St. Clair, Will, Peoria, Champaign, Kane, Macon and Grundy counties, and one on direct administrative appeal.

Join us back here tomorrow as we examine the Court’s criminal docket for the years 2015 through 2017.

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

Which Trial Courts Produce the Court’s Criminal Docket (Part 5)?

Yesterday, we reviewed the trial courts from which the Court’s civil docket came for the years 2010 through 2014.  Today, we’re looking at the criminal docket.

In 2010, the Court decided twenty-three cases from Cook County, six from  Peoria, four from Du Page, three from Kane County, and two each from Lake, Winnebago and Boone counties.  The Court decided one case from Will, LaSalle, Knox, Macon, Kankakee, Clinton, Livingston, Tazewell, Hancock, Fayette, Henry, De Kalb and Jersey counties.

In 2011, the Court decided twenty-six criminal cases from Cook County.  The Court decided four cases from Du Page, three from Peoria, two from Lake, Will and Champaign counties, and one each from McLean, St. Clair, Macon, Kane, Schuyler, Livingston, Boone and Adams counties, and from the ARDC.

In 2012, the Court decided thirteen criminal cases from Cook County.  The Court decided five cases from Will County, three from Peoria, two from Lake County, and one each from Rock Island, La Salle, Kankakee, Champaign, Stephenson, Coles, Adams, Henry and Ford counties, as well as one from the ARDC.

In 2013, the Court decided twenty-one criminal cases from Cook County.  The Court decided three cases from Lake and Henry counties, and two from Peoria.  The Court decided one criminal case from Winnebago, Jackson, McLean, Champaign, Kane, Clinton, Livingston and Adams counties, and one case from the ARDC.

The Court’s criminal docket for 2014 was widely dispersed around the state.  The Court decided only eleven cases from Cook County, three from Kane County and two from Randolph and McLean counties.  The Court decided one case each from Lake, Du Page, Vermilion, Whiteside, St. Clair, Macon, Peoria, Champaign, Marion, Livingston, McDonough, Stark, Kendall and Perry counties, as well as one case on direct administrative appeal and one case from the ARDC.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we look at the data for the years 2015 through 2017.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann (no changes).

Which Trial Courts Produce the Court’s Civil Docket (Part 5)?

For the past several weeks, we’ve been reviewing, one year at a time, the trial courts which have produced the Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets.  This week, we’re reviewing the years 2010 through 2014.

In 2010, the Court decided twenty-two civil cases from Cook County, two cases from Sangamon and Kane counties, and one case each from St. Clair, Will, La Salle, Champaign, Jefferson, Marion and Tazewell counties.

In 2011, the Court decided fifteen civil cases from Cook County.  The Court decided four cases from Lake and Du Page counties, three from Sangamon County, and two from Will and Madison counties, and two direct appeals from administrative agencies.  The Court decided one case apiece from Peoria, Winnebago, Kane, Williamson and Jersey counties, as well as one certified question appeal from the Northern District of Illinois.

In 2012, the Court decided nineteen civil cases from Cook County.  The Court decided three cases from St. Clair, Du Page and Champaign counties.  The Court decided two cases from Will County, and one each from Sangamon, Lake, Madison, Kane, Marion, Lee, Kendall, Clinton and Massac counties and one certified question appeal from the Northern District of Illinois.

The Court decided thirteen civil cases from Cook County and four from Sangamon County.  The Court decided two cases from Du Page and La Salle counties, and two cases on direct appeal from administrative agencies.  The Court decided one case each from Will, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Putnam, Vermilion, Effingham, Stephenson, Macoupin, Piatt and Woodford counties.

In 2014, the Court decided thirteen civil cases from Cook County.  The Court decided three civil cases from Sangamon County, two from Lake and Macoupin counties, and one each from Peoria, Kane, Franklin, Marion, Kendall and Washington counties, and one case on direct appeal from an administrative agency.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the Court’s criminal docket for the same years.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Spiro Bolos (no changes).

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