Yesterday, we reviewed Justice Garman’s civil majority and dissenting opinions.  Today, we’re looking at Justice Garman’s criminal opinions.

Justice Garman has written 38 majority opinions in constitutional law cases.  She has written 14 majorities in sentencing cases, 13 in habeas corpus cases, eight in cases involving juvenile justice issues, six in cases regarding sex offenses, five in death penalty cases, two in cases involving violent crimes and one case involving property crimes.

Justice Garman wrote 28 majority opinions in criminal procedure cases.  She wrote three mental health decisions, two cases involving drug offenses and one majority opinion each in cases involving process crimes, political crimes, driving offenses and attorney discipline.

Justice Garman has written six criminal dissents in constitutional law cases and six in criminal procedure cases.  She has written two habeas corpus opinions, two in cases involving sex offenses and two in cases involving violent crimes.  She has also written one death penalty case, one in a sentencing case, one in a juvenile justice case and one in an attorney discipline case.

Join us back on the California Supreme Court Review tomorrow morning as we complete our review of Justice Carol Corrigan’s tenure.

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This week, we’re finishing our six-part review of Justice Garman’s tenure by taking a closer look at her authored opinions.

Through the end of last week, Justice Garman has written 107 majority opinions and 28 dissents.

Justice Garman has written 24 majority opinions in tort cases.  She has written 18 majorities in civil procedure cases and thirteen each in constitutional law and government and administrative law cases.  She has written seven majority opinions involving insurance law and workers compensation law.  She has written five majority opinions in commercial law cases, three involving secured transactions and one employment law case.

Justice Garman has written four majority opinions in domestic relations cases.  She has written three majorities in tax law and election law cases.  She has written two majority opinions in arbitration cases.  She has written one majority opinion each in environmental, wills and estates, judicial misconduct and property law cases.

Justice Garman has written eight dissents in tort cases.  She has written six dissents in government and administrative law cases, six in civil procedure cases, three in domestic relations cases, two each in workers compensation and constitutional law cases and one in an employment law case.

Join us back here tomorrow as we conclude our review of Justice Garman’s tenure.

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This time, we’re reviewing the data on how frequently Justice Garman has voted with the majority during her tenure.  If you’re comparing this data to earlier posts, note one difference – here, we are looking at the entire civil and criminal caseloads, including unanimous decisions, rather than asking the percentage of divided decisions in which Justice Garman joined the minority.  Since the Supreme Court’s unanimity rate is nearly always quite high, we would expect the numbers to be in ninety-percent range.

Across her entire tenure, Justice Garman has voted with the majority in 92.88% of all civil cases.  (Note that we’re measuring complete agreement only – in other words, if the majority affirms and a Justice casts a split vote, the case is counted as not a majority vote).  In 2005, she was in the majority in every case.  She has been over 95% six times – 2001, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2018.  She has been in the eighties only four times, and 2021, measured through last week, was the low at 84.62%.

As expected from our earlier data on dissents, Justice Garman has joined the majority a bit more often in criminal cases than in civil ones.  Since 2001, she has voted with the majority in 94.51% of criminal cases.  She has never been at 100% for a year, but has topped 95% nine times – 2001 (95%), 2004 (96.67%), 2005 (96.55%), 2007 (96.43%), 2009 (96.15%), 2010 (98.18%), 2012 (96.97%), 2015 (96.97%) and 2016 (97.14%).  Her lowest year to date was 2019, when she agreed with the majority in “only” 90.48% of criminal cases.

Join us back here next week as we conclude our six-part post on Justice Garman’s tenure.

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In our last two posts, we reviewed Justice Rita Garman’s caseload since taking her seat in 2001 and her history with writing opinions.  This time, we’re looking at Justice Garman’s voting record.

Through the end of last week, Justice Garman has voted to affirm civil decisions 335 times.  She has cast 107 split votes (affirm in part, reverse/vacate/etc. in part) and has voted to reverse in full 333 times.

For the most part (as one might expect from those career totals), Justice Garman’s votes have been fairly evenly split between affirm and reverse year by year.  The principal outliers are 2006 (affirm 27, reverse 10), 2009 (affirm 12, reverse 21), 2012 (affirm 11, reverse 21) and 2016 (affirm 15, reverse 8).  If we count split (“AR”) votes together with outright reverse votes, the outliers are 2002 (28 reverse or AR, 20 affirm), 2003 (29 reverse or AR, 16 affirm), 2009 (29 reverse or AR, 12 affirm), 2012 (28 reverse or AR, 11 affirm), 2014 (18 reverse or AR, 9 affirm), and 2019 (22 reverse or AR, 11 affirm).

Justice Garman has voted to affirm outright in 424 criminal cases.  She has cast split votes 116 times and voted to reverse in 333 cases.  Justice Garman’s leading years for split votes were 2003, 2004 and 2002 (14, 13 and 10, respectively).  Her outlier years have been 2001 (9 reverse or AR, 31 affirm), 2004 (38 reverse or AR, 22 affirm), 2007 (19 reverse or AR, 9 affirm), 2015 (22 reverse or AR, 11 affirm), 2016 (24 reverse or AR, 11 affirm) and 2018 (18 reverse or AR, 8 affirm).

Join us back here next time for part 4 of our six-part post.

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In this post, we’re reviewing the Justice Garman’s history writing opinions.

From taking her seat in 2001 through the end of last week, Justice Garman had written 107 majority opinions in civil cases.  She has written only 9 special concurrences and has written 28 dissents (we’ll be addressing how often Justice Garman is in the majority in a later post).  2018 was her biggest year for special concurrences with 2 – otherwise, she’s never written more than 1 in a given year.  She wrote 5 dissents each in 2003 and 2006, but no more than one a year since 2012.  Her biggest year for majorities was 2005, when she wrote 9.  Justice Garman wrote 8 majority opinions in 2004, 2006 and 2009, 7 in 2002 and 2008 and 6 in 2011, 2012 and 2019.  She wrote only 1 in 2014.

Justice Garman has written 126 majority opinions in criminal cases.  She has written 22 dissents, meaning she is a significantly more frequent dissenter in civil (3.56% of cases) than in criminal cases (2.52%).  Her biggest year for special concurrences on the criminal side was 2010, with 3.  She wrote 3 dissents in 2003 and 2 each in 2004, 2009 and 2019.  She wrote 9 criminal majority opinions per year in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2010.  She wrote 8 in 2008 and 7 per year in 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2016.  Her lightest years have been 2001, 2007, 2015 and 2017 (4 per year), 2018 (3) and 2019 and 2021 (2 per year).

Join us back here next time as we continue our review of Justice Garman’s tenure.

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This week, we’re launching a series of six-part posts reviewing the tenure of each of the current Justices of the Supreme Court.  We’ll be posting in order of length of service (although the Chief Justice is technically the senior Justice, we’ll be proceeding by the date of each Justice’s appointment).  We begin with Justice Rita Garman, who took her seat on February 1, 2001.

From that time to date, Justice Garman has participated in 786 civil cases.  Her busiest year was 2004, when she was on 52 civil cases.  The numbers remained in the forties and low fifties every year until 2009, when the Court’s civil docket began to slip.  In 2014, there were only 27 civil cases.  In 2016, it was 28, and it fell further in 2017 (26) and 2018 (22).  In 2019, there were 34 civil cases.  In 2020, there were 32.  So far in 2021, there have been 26 civil cases.

Justice Garman has participated in 874 cases so far that fall under the heading of criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile justice and mental health.  Her busiest years in that category were 2002 (69 cases), 2003 (64) and 2004 (60).  The numbers were generally in the fifties for several years after that until 2010 (55).  Since that time, the criminal docket has drifted down – 2012 (33 cases), 2013 (38), 2014 (34), 2015 (33), 2016 (35), 2017 (34), 2018 (26), 2019 (21) and 2020 (28).  So far in 2021, there have been 19 cases.

Join us back here next time as we continue our review of the data on Justice Garman.

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Between 2010 and 2020, the Court decided 28 civil procedure cases from the First District: five from Division One, six from Division Two, four from Division Three, three from Division Four and five each from Divisions Five and Six.  The Court decided 13 civil procedure cases from the Second District.  Three cases originated in the Third District.  Eight cases were taken from the Fourth District and nine from the Fifth.

Two courts had all of their civil procedure cases reversed during the period – Division Three of the First District and the Third District.  The reversal rate for Division Two of the First District was 83.33%.  Three courts were clustered – the Second District, 69.23%; the Fifth, 66.67% and Division Six of the First, 60%.  Divisions One and Five of the First District each had a reversal rate of 40%.  Division Four had a reversal rate of 33.33%.  The Fourth District fared best of all, with only 12.5% of its civil procedure cases reversed.

Join us back here next week as we begin work on another topic.

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Between 2010 and 2020, the Supreme Court decided 61 civil procedure cases.  The reversal rate was up a bit to 59.02%.

In 2010 and 2011, the Court reversed in all its civil procedure cases.  The rate fell to two-thirds in 2012 and one-third in 2013.  In 2014, the reversal rate was 50%.  It was 60% in 2015 before falling to zero in 2016.  The Court decided no civil procedure cases in 2017.  In 2018, the rate was 42.86%.  In 2019, it was 75%.  For 2020, the rate fell to 50%.

The Court decided substantially more cases won by the plaintiffs below than it did defense wins – 38 to 24.  The Court was also significantly more likely to reverse in a case won by the plaintiffs below than a defense win – 52.63% of plaintiffs’ wins were reversed, but only 41.67% of defense wins were reversed.

Join us back here tomorrow as we finish our review of the data.

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Between 2000 and 2009, the Court decided 21 civil procedure cases from the First District – two from Division One, five from Division Two, four each from Divisions Three, Four and Five and two from Division Six.  The Court decided seven cases from the Second District.  Only four cases came from the Third District.  The Court decided seven cases from the Fourth District and 13 from the Fifth District.

In the First District, Divisions One and Three each had a reversal rate of 100%.  The reversal rate in Division Four was 75%.  The rate for Divisions Five and Six was 50%, and the reversal rate in Division Two was 40%.  The reversal rate for the Second District was 57.14%.  The Fourth District was at 42.86%.  The reversal rate for the Fifth was 61.54%.  For the decade, the Third District led with a reversal rate of 75%.

Join us back here next tomorrow as we review the data for the years 2010 through 2020.

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Between 2000 and 2009, the Court decided 59 civil procedure cases.  The reversal rate was up a bit from its level in the nineties – the Court reversed 57.63% of those decisions.  Once again, yearly reversal rates were up and down – 60% in 2000, 33.33% the following year; 71.43% in 2002 and 2003, 25% in 2004; steadily rising from 2005 to 2007 – 50% to 66.67% to 83.33% – but then down to 50% in 2008 and 60% in 2009.

The Court decided 26 civil procedure cases won by the defendants below and 31 plaintiffs’ wins.  For the decade, the Court reversed 53.85% of those defense wins, but reversed 58.06% of the plaintiffs’ wins.

Join us back here next time as we continue our look at the years 2000 through 2009.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Giuseppe Milo (no changes).