How Has the Court’s Unanimity Rate in Criminal Cases Changed Over Time?

Yesterday, we began our review of how the Court’s unanimity rate has changed over time with a review of the data for the civil docket.  Today, we’re looking at the criminal docket.  For the entire twenty-eight years, the Court has decided 1,540 cases and been unanimous in 67.86% – less than a point higher than the overall unanimity rate.

For the first four years of the period, the unanimity rate was over the average: 79,.71% in 1990, 75.86% in 1991, 82.61% in 1992 and 83.2% in 1993.  For the three years following, it fell a bit below trend, to 61.54% in 1994 and 59.49% in 1996 before rising a bit in 1996 to 68.52%.

The unanimity rate was below trend for every year of the next seven years other (narrowly) than 1998.  The unanimity rate was 60.32% in 1997, 69.44% in 1998, only 45.28% in 1999, only 26.74% in 2000, 58.62% in 2001, 54.29% in 2002 and 53.85% in 2003.

The unanimity rate remained high between 2004 and 2010: 74.19% in 2004, 81.36% in 2005, 72% in 2006, 71.43% in 2007, 84% in 2008, 76.92% in 2009 and 74.55% in 2010.

The unanimity rate in criminal cases stayed over the trend rate over the past seven years – 74% in 2011, 69.7% in 2012, 73.68% in 2013, 79.41% in 2014, 81.82% in 2015, 80% in 2016 and 72.53% in 2017.

Join us next Tuesday as we turn our attention to a new area.

Image courtesy of Flickr by William Ross (no changes).

How Has the Court’s Unanimity Rate in Civil Cases Changed Over Time?

This week, we’re turning our attention to a new issue, comparing the evolution of the Court’s unanimity rate in civil and criminal cases over time.  Between 1990 and 2017, the Court decided 1,363 civil cases, 67.06% of them unanimously.

In Table 890, we report the yearly numbers from 1990 to 1996.  In 1990, the Court’s civil unanimity rate was 64.04%.  In 1991, it was 75.47%.  In 1992, it was 67.39%.  In 1993, it was 63.16%.  In 1994, it fell to 54.67%.  In 1995, it was 62.5%.  In 1996, the unanimity rate fell slightly, to 61.82%.

For most of the years 1997-2000, the Court’s unanimity rate in civil cases was well below its twenty-eight year average: 49.21% in 1997, 47.89% in 1998, 48.78% in 1999 and 57.89% in 2000.  Then the unanimity rate increased to a more usual level – 74.51% in 2001, 66% in 2002, 69.57% in 2003.

Between 2004 and 2010, the unanimity rate was nearly always over the long-term average: 74.07% in 2004, 81.25% in 2005, 80.49% in 2007, 71.43% in 2008, 82.93% in 2009 and 72.73% in 2010.  The only exception was 2006, when the unanimity rate fell to 59.18%.

For most of the past seven years, the Court’s unanimity rate in civil cases has remained unusually high – 76.32% in 2011, 77.78% in 2014, 79.55% in 2015, 75% in 2016 and 80.77% in 2017.  The only exceptions were a two year dip in 2012 and 2013 – 55% and 58.24%.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the Court’s unanimity rate in criminal cases from 1990 to 2017.

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

How Do the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ Civil Dockets Compare (Part 2)?

Yesterday, we began a multi-day crossover post comparing the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ civil (and later in the week, criminal) dockets, how they compare to each other and how they evolved over time. Today, we’re comparing the Courts’ dockets from 2004 to 2017.

We showed last time that the Illinois Supreme Court decided 139 more cases from 1990 to 1996 than the California Supreme Court did. By the 2004 to 2010 period, that distribution had flipped – for those seven years, the Illinois Supreme Court decided 308 cases, while the California Supreme Court decided 334.

For these years, the Illinois Supreme Court’s leading area of law was tort (69 cases), followed by constitutional law (36), government and administrative law (35), civil procedure (33) and insurance law (25).

In Table 883, we report the yearly case totals for the same period at the California Supreme Court. During these years, the Court’s leading civil area of law was civil procedure (50 cases), followed by government and administrative law (46), tort law (44), employment law (41) and constitutional law (35).

In Table 884, we compare the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil docket as a percentage of the total for both 2004-2010 and 1997-2003. Tort law was slightly down from the previous seven years – 25.99% of the docket for 1997-2003 and 22.4% for 2004-2010. Constitutional law was down a bit as well, from 12.43% of the docket for 1997-2003 to 11.69% from 2004-2010. Government and administrative law was down a bit, from 12.71% in 1997-2003 to 11.36% for 2004-2010. Civil procedure was down fairly substantially, from 15.25% of the civil docket for 1997-2003 to only 10.71% in 2004-2010. Insurance law was up slightly, from 7.63% to 8.12%. Although the top five areas of law at the Court remained the same, several of the more minor players on the Court’s docket were up fairly sharply: domestic relations from 4.52% to 7.47%, tax law from 3.4% to 5.19%, wills and estates from 1.13% to 2.27%, election law from 1.41% to 3.25%, employment law from 1.98% to 2.92%, and commercial law from 0.85% to 2.92% of the docket.

For the same years in California, civil procedure was down a bit, from 16.27% of the civil docket to 14.97%. Government and administrative law was up slightly, however, from 11.4% to 13.77%. Tort law’s share of the docket fell sharply, from 22.22% in 1997-2003 to 13.17% in 2004-2010. Employment law was way up too, from 7.89% in 1997-2003 to 12.28% in 2004-2010. Constitutional law’s share of the docket, on the other hand, was down, from 13.16% to 10.48%.

Among the lesser players on the civil docket, arbitration was up, from 2.34% in 1997-2003 to 5.39% for 2004-2010. Environmental law was way up, from only 0.58% to 4.79%. Property law was up as well, from 0.88% to 1.5%. On the other hand, workers compensation’s share of the civil docket was way down, from 4.39% to 1.5%.

Now we turn our attention to the most recent seven-year period – 2011 to 2017. During these years, the Illinois Supreme Court once again pulled slightly ahead of the California Supreme Court in civil case output, 232 to 223. The top five areas of law on the Illinois Supreme Court’s docket were government and administrative law (53 cases), tort law (51), civil procedure (33), constitutional law (25) and domestic relations (20).

For the past seven years in California, the top areas of law on the civil docket have been government and administrative law (47 cases), civil procedure (40), tort law (28), employment law (20) and constitutional law (18).

For these years, government and administrative law doubled its share of the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil docket, from 11.36% of the docket in 2004-2010 to 22.84% for 2011-2017. Tort law was down slightly, from 22.4% to 21.98%. Civil procedure was up from 10.71% to 14.22%. Constitutional law was fairly flat – 11.69% in 2004-2010 to 10.78% in 2011-2017. Domestic relations was up a bit too, from 7.47% to 8.62%. Among the minor players on the docket, contract law was down (1.95% to 0.43%), property law was up (1.3% to 3.02%), workers compensation was down (4.87% to 2.59%) and insurance law was way down (8.12% to only 3.02%).

For 2011-2017, government and administrative law has increased from 13.77% of the civil docket to 21.08%. Civil procedure was up slightly (14.97% to 17.94%). Tort law was down slightly (13.17% to 12.56%), employment law was down sharply (12.28% to 8.97%) and constitutional law was down slightly (10.48% to 8.07%). Among the less common subject, environmental law was up (4.79% in 2004-2010 to 6.28% in 2011-2017), insurance law was way down (7.19% to 2.69%), tax law was up (2.4% to 4.48%) and domestic relations was way down (2.99% to 1.35%).

Join us over at the California Supreme Court Review later today as we turn our attention to the Courts’ criminal dockets.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ryan Summers (no changes).

 

How Do the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ Civil Dockets Compare (Part 1)?

After reading this shout-out to our ongoing series of posts, both here and at the California Supreme Court Review, tracing how the courts’ civil and criminal dockets have evolved over time, I thought it was time for another cross-over series, both here and at CSCR.

So, today and tomorrow, we’re looking at the two courts’ civil dockets: (1) year by year totals for each area of law, both for the Illinois and California Supreme Courts (since both databases cover twenty-eight years’ worth of cases, we address the numbers seven years at a time); and (2) each Court’s total distribution of cases for each seven year period, calculated as a percentage of the entire docket in order to account for the courts’ uneven workload.

Between 1990 and 1995, the Illinois Supreme Court decided far more civil cases than the California Supreme Court did – 452 in Illinois to only 313 for California.  The biggest single areas of law were tort cases (127); civil procedure (91); constitutional law (56); government and administrative law (43); and insurance law (27).

In Table 875, we address the civil cases for the same period from California.  Government and administrative law were the most common entry on the civil docket with sixty cases.  There were fifty-three tort cases, forty-five constitutional law cases, thirty-four civil procedure cases, twenty-two insurance cases and nineteen domestic relations cases.

In our next Table, we calculate the share of cases for each subject for the entire 1990-1996 period as a percentage of the total – by comparing spans of years rather than one year at a time, we minimize the impact of random fluctuations.  In Illinois, tort cases were 28.1% of the Court’s civil output.  Civil procedure cases accounted for 20.13%, constitutional law was 12.39%, government and administrative law was only 9.51%, and insurance law accounted for only 5.97% of the civil cases.

In Table 877, we review the California Supreme Court’s totals for the same period.  Government and administrative law accounted for 19.17% of the civil docket – more than double the share in Illinois.  Tort law accounted for 16.93% – significantly less than in Illinois.  Constitutional law cases accounted for 14.38% of the docket, almost equal to the Illinois total.  Civil procedure accounted for 10.86%, and was only half as common on the California docket as it was in Illinois.  Insurance was 7.02% of the California docket, roughly equal to Illinois.  Domestic relations accounted for 6.07% of the civil docket in California, about half again the share in Illinois.

Now we turn our attention to the next seven years – 1997-2003.  For this period, Illinois’ substantial lead over California in total cases had nearly vanished: Illinois handed down 354 civil decisions, while California had 342.  With the exception of issues three and four swapping places (by a margin of only one case), the top five finishers on the civil docket were exactly the same as the previous period – tort (92), civil procedure (54), government and administrative law (45), constitutional law (44) and insurance law (27).

California’s civil docket evolved during this second seven years, with nearly every position in the list of most frequently heard areas of law changing hands.  Tort law was most common (76), then civil procedure (56), constitutional law (45), government and administrative law (39) and employment law (27).  Insurance law fell to sixth, with twenty-five cases.

With this second seven years, we add one more measurement to the chart – the distribution of cases both for the current seven years and the previous seven (to facilitate comparison not only to the other state’s court, but also to the court’s own trends over time).  Tort law accounted for 25.99% of the docket for 1997-2003, a somewhat larger share than the preceding seven years.  Civil procedure cases were 15.25% of the docket, and about one quarter down from its earlier share.  Government cases increased their share from 9.51% in 1990-1996 to 12.71% for the seven years that followed.  Constitutional law was almost exactly the same share of the docket for 1997-2003 (12.43%) and 1990-1996 (12.39%).  Insurance law, on the other hand, accounted for more of the docket – 5.97% for 1990-1996 to 7.63% for 1997-2003.

Finally, we review the distribution of California’s docket for these years.  Tort law expanded its share of the docket from 16.93% in 1990-1996 to 22.22% for 1997-2003, only a few points less than the share in Illinois.  Civil procedure was also significantly more common, increasing to 16.37% of the docket in 1997-2003 (almost exactly the share in Illinois).  Constitutional law was slightly less of a factor in 1997-2003, falling just over a point to 13.16% of the cases, less than a point over its share in Illinois.  Government and administrative law cases fell significantly, from 19.17% of the docket in 1990-1996 to 11.4% for 1997-2003, bringing it more in line with the share of the docket in Illinois.  Employment law became more important too, increasing from 4.47% in 1990-1996 to 7.89% for 1997-2003.  Both of these numbers are significantly higher than the shares in Illinois.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back at this blog, comparing the two courts for the periods 2004-2010 and 2011-2017.  Then, on Thursday and Friday, we’ll finish up the series with a similar two-parter over at the California Supreme Court Review, looking at the courts’ criminal law dockets for the same periods.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Dimitry B. (no changes).

How Has the Court Decided Cases Involving Property Crimes Since 1990?

Yesterday, we took a close look at the Court’s arbitration cases since 1990.  Today, we’re on the criminal side of the docket, looking at the Court’s cases involving property crimes.  Less than a third of the Court’s property crime cases were won by the prosecution below – only 31.58%.  Oddly, the Court reversed 83.33% of the prosecution wins it reviewed – admittedly, in a small sample.

We chart both prosecution wins affirmed and reversed in Table 871 below.  The Court affirmed one property crime win and reversed one in 2000.  The Court reversed prosecution wins in 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2016.

We report defendants’ wins affirmed (“LL”) and reversed (“LC”) in Table 872.  The Court reversed 92.31% of the defendants’ wins it heard in this area.  The Court reversed twice in 1990, once in 1991, three times in 1992, once in 1999 and once in 2007.  The Court affirmed a defendant’s win in 2009, reversed three times in 2011 and reversed once in 2017.

Since 1990, the Court has reversed 89.47% of its property crimes cases.  The Court reversed in all six property crimes cases between 1990 and 1995.  The Court reversed in two of three cases between 1996 and 2000.  The Court heard no property crimes cases between 2001 and 2005.  Between 2006 and 2010, the Court reversed in three of four cases.  Since 2010, the Court has reversed in all six of its property crimes cases.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to two new areas of law.

Image courtesy of Flickr by K. J. Roelke (no changes).

How Has the Court Decided Arbitration Cases Since 1990?

Last week, we turned our attention to two new two areas of law in our ongoing review of the Court’s decision making – on the civil side, arbitration cases, and on the criminal side, cases involving property crimes.  Today, we’re taking a more in-depth look at the Court’s arbitration decisions.

Since 1990, a lopsided proportion of the arbitration cases the Court has opted to hear were won by the plaintiffs below – 68.75% of the total.  Among the relatively few arbitration cases won by the defendants below, the Court’s reversal rate is only 40%.  In Table 868, we report both defense wins affirmed (“CC” in the table) and defense wins reversed (“CL”).  The Court affirmed one defense win in 1992, 1995 and 1997 and reversed on in 2001 and one in 2017.

Not surprisingly, given that the Court took significantly more plaintiffs’ wins in arbitration than defendant’s wins, the Court reversed plaintiffs’ wins at a substantially higher rate – since 1990, the Court has reversed 72.73% of the plaintiffs’ wins it has heard in arbitration cases.  We report both plaintiffs’ wins affirmed (“LL”) and plaintiffs’ wins reversed (“LC”) below.

The Court reversed one plaintiff’s win in 1991.  It affirmed one plaintiff’s win and reversed two in 1998.  The Court reversed two plaintiffs’ wins in 2004.  In 2006, plaintiffs who won below hit .500 at the Court – one win, one loss.  The Court reversed a plaintiff’s win in 2010, affirmed one in 2011 and reversed one in 2012.

Overall since 1990, the Court has reversed in 62.5% of its arbitration cases, a rate several points above its overall pace of reversals.  Between 1990 and 1995, the Court reversed in one of three arbitration cases.  Between 1996 and 2000, the Court reversed in two of four.  Between 2001 and 2005, the Court reversed completely all three of the arbitration decisions it reviewed.  Between 2006 and 2010, the Court reversed in two of three arbitration cases.  Since that time, the Court has reversed in two of its three arbitration cases.

Join us back here tomorrow as we discuss the Court’s decisions involving property crimes.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Marc Smith (no changes).

How Many Cases Involving Property Crimes Does the Court Decide a Year?

Last time, we reviewed the Court’s experience with arbitration law cases since 1990.  Now we’re reviewing the Court’s decisions involving property crimes (burglary, forgery, etc.)  Since 1990, the Court has decided nineteen cases involving property crime issues.

The Court decided two cases in 1990, one in 1991 and three in 1992.

The Court decided one property crime case in 1999 and two in 2000.

The Court decided two cases in 2007, one in 2008 and one in 2009.

The Court decided three cases in 2011 and one each in 2013, 2016 and 2017.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we take a deeper look at the Court’s arbitration cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Matt Lewis (no changes).

How Many Arbitration Cases Does the Court Decide a Year?

This week, we’re turning our attention to two new areas of law in the Court’s civil and criminal dockets: arbitration law and cases involving property crimes.  Since 1990, the Court has decided seventeen cases involving arbitration law.

The Court decided one arbitration case in 1991, two in 1992 and one in 1995.

The Court decided one arbitration case in 1997, three in 1998 and one in 2001.

The Court decided two arbitration cases in 2004 and 2006 and one in 2010.

The Court decided one arbitration case each in 2011, 2012 and 2017.

Join us back here next time as we turn our attention to the Court’s criminal cases involving property crimes.

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

How Has the Court Decided Criminal Cases Involving Sexual Offenses Since 1990?

Last week, we reviewed the year-by-year numbers for the Illinois Supreme Court’s history with two new areas of the law: civil cases involving employment law and criminal cases involving sexual offenses. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the sexual offense cases.

Since 1990, fifty-five percent of the criminal sexual offense cases which the Court has agreed to review were won by the prosecution at the Appellate Court. Not surprisingly, reversals of those prosecution wins by the Supreme Court are rare: the reversal rate for prosecution wins in 22.73%.

The Court affirmed one prosecution win in 1991, 2001 and 2003, two in 2004, four in 2005, one in 2009 and 2010, two in 2011 and 2012 and one in 2013 and 2017.

The Court reversed one prosecution win per year in 1997, 1999, 2003, 2010 and 2013.

Since 1990, the Court has reversed exactly half of the defendants’ wins it has reviewed. The Court affirmed one defendant’s win in 1991, two in 2000, one in 2001 and 2012, three in 2014 and one in 2016.

The Court reversed one defendant’s win in 1990, one in 2002, three in 2004, one in 2005 and 2009 and two in 2012.

For the entire period, the Court’s reversal rate in criminal cases involving sexual offenses is only 37.5%. From 1990 to 1995, the Court reversed one of three cases. From 1996 to 2000, the Court reversed two of four. From 2001 to 2005, the Court reversed 46.67% of its cases. From 2006 to 2010, the Court reversed two of four. From 2011 to 2017, the Court reversed only 21.43% of such cases.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we begin looking at two new areas of the law.

Image courtesy of Flickr by CheepShot (no changes).

How Has the Court Decided Employment Law Cases Since 1990?

Last week, we reviewed the Supreme Court’s docket in two new areas of law: employment on the civil side and cases involving sexual offenses on the criminal side.  This week, we’re taking a deeper look at both areas of law.

In employment law, the Court’s docket has been evenly split between cases won by the employer and the employee below – sixteen of each.  The Court has reversed employers’ wins from the Appellate Court at a rate noticeably higher than its overall reversal rate: 68.75%.  Only five employer wins have been affirmed since 1990 – one each in 1990, 1997, 2005, 2006 and 2009.

On the other hand, the Court reversed employers’ wins twice in 1990, once each in 1991, 1992, 2002, 2007 and 2008, and twice in 2009 and 2013.

The Court’s record with employee wins from the Appellate Court is a mirror image of its handling of employer wins.  Since 1990, the Court has reversed only 31.25% of cases won by employees below.  The Court affirmed one employee win in 1990 and 1991, two in 1992, three in 1996, one in 1999, two in 2001 and one in 2002.

The Court reversed one employee win in 1994, one in 2002, two in 2005 and one in 2014.

Since 1990, the Court has reversed in whole or in part in 53.13% of its employment law cases.  The Court reversed in half of its cases between 1990 and 1995.  The Court affirmed all five employment law cases it heard between 1996 and 2000.  The Court reversed in 62.5% of its cases between 2001 and 2005, and two-thirds of the time between 2006 and 2010.  Since that time, the Court has decided only three employment law cases, reversing completely in all three.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review the Court’s criminal decisions involving sexual offenses.

Image courtesy of Flickr by AirGuy1988 (no changes).

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