How Many Votes to Affirm Has Division 4 of the First District Averaged in Civil Cases?

Division 4’s average votes to affirm were in majority territory in three years in the 1990s: 1992, when the average was 4.43, 1995, when it was 4.5, and 1997, when it was 5.2.  In 1990, average votes to affirm was 3.57.  It fell to 2 in 1991 and 0.4 in 1993, then rose to 3.8 in 1994.  In 1996, the average was 2.5 votes, then 2 in 1998 and 1 in 1999.

Average votes to affirm was 5.33 in 2000 and 4 in 2006.  The average was 3 in 2001, 0 in 2002 and 2003, 3.33 in 2004, 0 in 2005, 3.33 in 2007, 2.33 in 2008 and 0 in 2009.

Average votes to affirm Division 4 were 6.2 in 2010, 4 in 2011 and 2016 and 6.5 last year.  The average was 2.33 in 2012, 1 in 2013, 1.4 in 2014, 3.5 in 2015 and 1 in 2017.  The Court has decided no civil cases from Division 4 so far this year.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we review the numbers for Division 5 of the First District.

Image courtesy of Flickr by kcxd (no changes).

How Many Votes to Affirm Has Division Three of the First District Averaged in Civil Cases?

This week, we’re reviewing average votes to affirm in civil cases for Division Three of the First District of the Appellate Court.

Division Three was in majority territory only one year in the 1990s: 4.2 votes, 1997.  Every other year, the average has been below 4: 3 (1990 & 1991), 1.83 (1992), 3.5 (1993), 1.5 (1994), 3 (1995), 0.6 (1996), 2.67 (1998) and 3.33 (1999).

Division Three fared better from 2000 to 2009, averaging a majority to affirm in five of ten years: 4 (2001), 4.67 (2002 & 2004), 4 (2006) and 4.33 (2007).  In 2000, the average was 0.67 votes.  In 2003, it was 2.75 votes.  In 2005, the average was 3 votes.  In 2008, the average was 0.5 votes and in 2009, all the civil cases reviewed were unanimously reversed – average votes to affirm, zero.

But there’s been a downturn over the past ten years.  Average votes to affirm were 3.4 in 2011 and 3 in 2014.  The average was 2.33 votes in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2017.  The average was one vote in 2018 and zero in 2012.  The Court decided no civil Cases from Division 3 in 2016 or so far in 2019.

Join us back here on Wednesday as we review the data for Division 4.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Oatsy40 (no changes).

How Many Votes to Affirm Has Division Two of the First District Averaged in Civil Cases?

Between 1990 and 1999, Division Two of the First District has been in majority territory only twice: 5 in 1993 and 4.67 in 1997.  For the rest of the decade, the “average” civil decision reviewed by the Supreme Court commanded less than a majority: 2.33 votes (1990), 2 (1991), 3.5 (1992), 2.57 (1994), 3 (1995), 2 (1996), 2.67 (1998) and 3 (1999).

Division Two averaged a majority in three years between 2000 and 2009 – 2001 (7 votes), 2004 (6.75 votes) and 2006 (4 votes).  For the remainder of the decade, the average was relatively low: 3 (2000), 0 (2002), 3 (2003), 2.33 (2005), 1.8 (2007), 2 (2008) and 0 (2009).

Division Two was in majority territory in only one year of the past ten: 5 votes to affirm on average in 2016.  The average was 0 in 2010, 3 in 2011, 1.17 in 2012, 1 in 2013, 0 in 2014, 3.5 in 2015, 0 in 2017 and 0 in 2019.

Join us back here on Tuesday as we review the data for Division 3 of the First District.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Matthew Dillon (no changes).

How Many Votes to Affirm Has Division One of the First District Averaged in Civil Cases?

A few weeks ago, we reviewed the three-year floating average reversal rates for each of the Districts and Divisions of the Appellate Court.  But of course, mere reversal rates don’t tell the whole story.  There’s a big difference between a court getting affirmed (or reversed) 4-3 and a 7-0 decision.  So this time, we’re looking at the average votes to affirm the Appellate Court – if the lower court decision is affirmed, we’re using the votes for the majority position; if the decision is reversed, we use the votes in dissent.  We begin with Division One of the First District.

We report the data for the years 1990-1999 in Table 1381 below.  In 1990 and from 1997 to 1999, the court was faring pretty well – 5.33 votes to affirm in 1990, 7 in 1997, 4.43 in 1998 and 5.5 in 1999.  The average fell to 3.5 in 1992, 1994 and 1997.  In 1991, the court averaged only 0.33 votes to affirm and in 1995, the court’s decisions were unanimously reversed – average votes to affirm, zero.

The court had fewer upswings during the years 2000 to 2009.  The average votes to affirm was in majority territory from 2005 to 2008: 4.33 in 2005, 4 in 2006 and 6 in 2007 and 2008, but it was only 3.6 in 2002 and 3.8 in 2003.  In 2009, votes to affirm was 2.33.  In 2004, it fell to 1.75, and in 2000, it was only 1.33.

In 2010, average votes to affirm was 4.5.  It rose to 7 in 2015 and was 5.33 in 2018, but otherwise, it’s been in minority territory throughout the past ten years – 1 (2011), 0 (2012) 2 (2013), 0 (2014), 3.5 (2016), 2 (2017) and 1.6 (2019).

Join us here next time as we review the data for Division 2 of the First District.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ken Lund (no changes).

How are Divided Criminal Decisions Distributed Between One, Two and Three Dissenters?

In 1990, 13.04% of the Court’s criminal cases had one dissenter. Two dissenter cases were 5.8% and only 1.45% had three. In 1991, one dissenter cases were again the most common divided criminal decision. In 1992, 10.87% were two dissenter cases; only 5.43% had one and 1.07% had three. In 1993, 9.3% had one dissenter, 2.33% had two and 4.65% had three. In 1994, 12.31% had one dissenter, 15.38% had two dissenters and 10.77% had three. In 1995, 13.92% had one dissenter, 17.72% had two and 8.86% had three. In 1996, 14.81% had two dissenters, 9.26% had three and 7.41% had one. In 1997, 17.46% had three dissenters, 12.7% had one and 9.52% had two. In 1998, 12.5% of the criminal decisions had one dissenter, 8.33% had two and 9.72% had three. In 1999, fully 35.85% had one dissenter, 9.43% had two and 9.43% had three.

Between 2000 and 2007, the rate of one dissenter cases was over ten percent every year but one: 39.53% (2000), 18.97% (2001), 12.86% (2002), 10.77% (2003), 14.52% (2004), 8.47% (2005), 10% (2006) and 10.71% (2007). Two dissenter cases were in double figures in five of those eight years: 12.79% (2000), 17.24% (2001), 20% (2002), 9.23% (2003), 8.06% (2004), 6.78% (2005), 12% (2006) and 10.71% (2007). Three dissenter cases were in double figures only three times: 19.77% (2000), 3.44% (2001), 12.86% (2002), 26.15% (2003), 1.61% (2004), 3.39% (2005), 6% (2006) and 7.14% (2007). In 2008, only 4% of the Court’s criminal cases had one dissenter and 2% had two. Ten percent of the Court’s cases had three dissenters. In 2009, 9.62% had two dissenters, 7.69% had three and only 5.77% had one.

In the past decade, one dissenter criminal cases have been comparatively less common than two and three dissenter cases (combined). In 2010, 12.73% had two dissenters, 3.64% had three and 9.09% had one. In 2011, 12.5% had three dissenters, 10.42% had two and no criminal case had one dissenter. In 2012, 9.09% had two dissenters, 9.09% had three and 12.12% had one. In 2013, one and two dissenter cases were equal at 13.16%; there were no three dissenter decisions. In 2014, 8.82% had two dissenters, 5.88% had three and 5.88% had one. In 2015, all three types of non-unanimous decisions were equal: 6.06% one dissenter, 6.06% two dissenters and 6.06% three dissenters. In 2016, two dissenter cases were 8.57% and both one and three dissenter cases were 5.71%. In 2017, one dissenter cases were more common: 14.71% (one dissenter), 8.57% (two) and 5.71% (three). In 2018, 15.38% of the criminal cases had two dissenters, 7.69% had three and 3.85% had one. So far in 2019, two and three dissenter cases have been an equal share of the criminal decisions: 18.75%. There have been no one-dissenter criminal cases.

Join us back here next week as we address a new issue.

Image courtesy of Flickr by UW News (no changes).

How Likely Is It That a Criminal Case Will Be Decided Unanimously?

In 1990, 79.71% of the Court’s criminal cases were unanimous. That rose to 75.86% in 1991, 82.61% in 1992 and 83.72% in 1993. But then the unanimity rate fell: 61.54% (1994), 59.49% (1995), 68.52% (1996), 60.32% (1997), 69.44% (1998) and only 45.28% in 1999.

In 2000, only 27.91% of the Court’s criminal decisions were unanimous. For the following three years, it bounced back to 60.34% in 2001, 54.29% in 2002 and 53.85% in 2003. In 2004, 75.81% of the Court’s criminal decisions were unanimous. The following year, that rate increased to 81.36%. It remained high for the rest of the decade: 72% (2006), 71.43% (2007), 84% (2008) and 76.92% in 2009.

The unanimity rate remained between three quarters and four fifths throughout the past decade: 74.55% (2010), 77.08% (2011), 69.7% (2012), 73.68% (2013), 79.41% (2014), 81.82% (2015), 80% (2016), 73.53% (2017), 73.08% (2018) and 62.5% so far this year.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the data for one, two and three dissenter criminal cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Curtis Abert (no changes).

How are Divided Civil Decisions Distributed Between One, Two and Three Dissenters?

Last time, we reviewed the Court’s unanimity rate in civil cases. This time, we’re looking at the data for how the Court’s civil decisions were distributed between one, two and three dissenting votes.

In 1990, one and two dissenter cases were 8.99% of the civil docket apiece. Three-dissenter cases accounted for only 3.37%. Two dissenter cases were slightly higher in 1991 than one-dissenter; there were no three dissenter cases. In 1992, two dissenter cases were 15.22% to 13.04% for one dissenter cases. Three dissenter civil cases were only 4.35%. In 1993, dissent increased: 23.68% of the Court’s civil decisions had one dissenter. 10.53% had two dissenters and 2.63% had three dissenters. In 1994, two dissenters accounted for a 3% larger share, while only 5.33% of the cases had three dissenters. In 1995, 17.86% had two dissenters, 12.5% had one and 7.14% had three. In 1996, one and three dissenters were an equal share – 9.09%. Twenty percent of the decisions had two dissenters. In 1997, 22.22% had one dissenter, 15.87% had two and 12.7% had three. In 1998, fully one quarter of the civil decisions had one dissenter – 25.35%. Two dissenters were 14.08% and 12.68% had three dissenters. In 1999, 24.39% of the civil cases had one dissenter, 9.76% had two dissenters and 17.07% had three.

In 2000, 18.42% of the civil decisions had two dissenters, 15.79% had one and 7.89% had three. In 2001, the unanimity rate increased – 9.8% two dissenters, 7.84% one dissenter and 7.84% three. In 2002, 12% of the civil decisions had one dissenter, 16% had two and 6% had three. In 2003, 15.22% had two dissenters, 10.87% had one and 4.35% had three. In 2004, 11.11% of the civil cases had three dissenters; 7.41% had one and 7.41% had two. In 2005, 14.58% had one dissenter and 4.17% had two. In 2006, 24.49% of the civil cases had one dissenter, 10.2% had two and 8.16% had three. In 2007, 9.76% had one dissenter, 7.32% had two and 2.44% had three. In 2008, the same fraction of the docket had one, two and three dissenters – 9.52%. In 2009, 7.32% of the civil cases had one dissenter and 9.76% had two.

In 2010, 12.12% of the civil docket had two dissenters, 9.09% had one and 6.06% had three. In 2011, 10.53% had one dissenter, 7.89% had two and 5.26% had three. In 2012, 17.5% of the civil cases had two dissenters, 15% had one and 12.5% had three. In 2013, 20.59% of the civil cases had one dissenter, 17.65% had two and only 2.94% had three. In 2014, the distribution was equal: 7.41% one, two and three dissenters. In 2015, 9.09% had one dissenter, 6.82% had two and 4.55% had three. In 2016, 14.29% of the Court’s civil decisions had one dissenter, 3.57% had two and 7.14% had three. The following year, there were more three dissenter cases – 11.54% – than one or two (both 3.85%). In 2018, 18.18% had one dissenter, 9.09% had two and 9.09% had three. So far this year, 8.7% of the Court’s civil cases had one and three dissenters and 4.35% had two.

Join us back here on Tuesday as we look at the data for the criminal docket.

Image courtesy of Flickr by COD Newsroom (no changes).

How Likely Is It That a Civil Case Will Be Decided Unanimously?

This week and next, we’re looking at the distribution of the Court’s civil and criminal cases – unanimous decisions and one, two and three dissenters (for these purposes, we’re defining a “dissenter” as anyone who votes against the Court’s judgment, regardless of whether he or she signs or joins a written dissent).

The unanimity percentage declined throughout the 1990s. In 1990, 78.65% of the Court’s civil decisions were unanimous. That fell to 75.47% in 1991, 67.39% in 1992, 63.16% in 1993 and 54.67% in 1994. The unanimity percentage increased a bit to 62.5% in 1995 and 61.82% in 1996 before falling below half – 49.21% in 1997, 47.89% in 1998 and 48.78% in 1999.

The unanimity percentage increased in the following decade. In 2000, 57.89% of the Court’s civil cases were unanimous. In 2001, it was 74.51%, then 66% (2002), 73.91% (2003) 74.07% (2004) and 81.25% (2005). The rate fell to 57.14% in 2005, but was 80.49% in 2007, 71.43% in 2008 and 82.93% in 2009.

For the most part, the unanimity rate has remained at roughly two-thirds during the past decade. It was 72.73% in 2010, 76.32% in 2011, 55% in 2012, 58.82% in 2013 and 77.78% in 2014. In 2015, 79.55% of the Court’s civil decisions were unanimous. In 2016, exactly three quarters of the Court’s civil decisions were unanimous. In 2017, 80.77% were. Last year, the rate fell to 63.64%, but 78.26% of the civil docket has been unanimous so far this year.

Join us back here next time as we review the Court’s divided civil decisions.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Michel Curi (no changes).

How Important is Publication at the Appellate Court to Getting Supreme Court Review in a Criminal Case?

Yesterday, we showed that for the most part, the percentage of non-unanimous Appellate Court decisions on the Supreme Court’s docket is about the same on the civil and criminal dockets.  Today, we’re asking the companion question – how important is publication at the Appellate Court?  Last week, we showed that roughly sixty to eighty percent of the Court’s civil cases are published below.  Is publication equally important on the criminal side?

In a word: no.  From 1990 to 1994, the percentage was almost static: 44.93% (1990), 48.28% (1991), 44.57% (1992), 41.86% (1993) and 40% (1994).  In the five years following, the share fell by about a quarter: 29.11% (1995), 24.07% (1996), 34.92% (1997), 22.22% (1998) and 35.85% (1999).

In 2000, 22.09% of the Court’s criminal cases were published below.  In 2001, 32.76% were published.  In 2002, 44.29% were published below and in 2003, it was 35.38%.

But then something curious happened – from 2004 through 2019, publication at the Appellate Court was often more important on the criminal side than on the civil side.  In 2004, 67.74% of the Court’s criminal cases were published below.  In 2005, 64.41% were, and in 2006, 64% of the docket was published below.  In 2007, 53.57% of the criminal docket was published below.  In 2008, it was 54%, and in 2009, it was 55.77%.

In 2010, 60% of the criminal docket was published below.  In 2011, the number fell to 47.92%, but then it went up and stayed up: 57.58% (2012), 60.53% (2013), 67.65% (2014), 57.58% (2015), 62.86% (2016), 64.71% (2017), 69.23% (2018) and 78.57% (2019).

In Table 1368, we report the entire thirty years in a single graph.  What this table shows is that around the time the Court’s membership changed in 2004, the Court’s criminal docket was significantly less populated by unpublished decisions from the Appellate Court.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to a new topic.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Sponki25 (no changes).

How Crucial is a Dissent at the Appellate Court to Getting Supreme Court Review in a Criminal Case?

Last week, we reviewed the data for what percentage of the Court’s civil cases had a dissenter or were published below.  This week, we’re looking at the same question for the criminal side.

Between 1990 and 1994, nearly as many criminal cases as civil cases had a dissenter below – 21.74% (1990), 25.86% (1991), 11.96% (1992), 23.26% (1993) and 15.38% (1994).  But for the four years that followed, the Court concentrated its attention almost entirely on unanimous decisions from the Appellate Court: 3.8% (1995), 1.85% (1996), 9.52% (1997), 6.94% (1998).  In 1999, 13.21% of the Court’s criminal decisions were non-unanimous below.

From 2000 to 2002, the percentage of non-unanimous decisions remained very low: 6.98% (2000), 8.62% (2001), 10% (2002) and 13.85% (2003).  For the rest of the decade, the percentage rose to something close to the fraction for civil cases – 29.03% (2004), 27.12% (2005), 22% (2006), 28.57% (2007), 26% (2008) and 11.54% (2009).

Between 2010 and this year, there hasn’t been much difference between the fraction of non-unanimous decisions on the criminal and civil sides.  In 2010, 32.73% of the criminal cases had dissents below.  In 2011, it was 25%, and in 2012, it was 27.27%.  In 2013, 13.16% of the criminal cases had a dissenter below.  In 2014, the fraction rose to 23.53%; the following year, one-third of the Court’s criminal cases had a dissenter below.  In 2016, 20% of the Court’s criminal cases were non-unanimous below.  In 2017, 20.59% were.  Last year, 30.77% of the criminal cases had a dissenter below.  So far this year, that number has fallen to 14.29%.

In our final table, we report the entire thirty years in a single graph to show long-term trends.  What this reflects is that although the percentage of non-unanimous decisions from the Appellate Court varies widely from year to year, for about two-thirds of the time we’re studying – 1990-1994 and 2003-2019 – dissents at the Appellate Court were roughly as common on the criminal docket as they were on the civil docket, with twenty to thirty percent of the Court’s cases being non-unanimous below.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the data for publication of criminal cases at the Appellate Court.

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

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