For the past few weeks, we’ve been concluding our quick trip through the oral arguments in criminal cases decided at the Illinois Supreme Court during 2015 by looking at the Justices’ question patterns, one-by-one, to determine what we can infer about the result and opinion writing. Today, we conclude our analysis with a look at the patterns for Justices Karmeier and Theis.
In Table 130, we present the data for Justice Karmeier’s patterns when he’s voting with the majority. Note that Justice Karmeier tends to average more questions to the losing party – questioning the appellee more heavily in reversals, and the appellant more in affirmances. Writing has a significant impact on Justice Karmeier’s questioning patterns in all cases. He averages more questions when writing the majority opinion than when he’s not writing regardless of the result (reversal or affirmance) and the side. The effect of writing is particularly significant in affirmances.
In Table 131 below, we show the data for Justice Mary Jane Theis. Justice Theis tends to question the appellant more heavily regardless of the result, as opposed to Justice Karmeier’s pattern. Once again, writing has a significant impact – Justice Theis averaged significantly more questions this year to appellants when the Court reversed, and to both sides when the Court affirmed.
Join us back here next Tuesday morning for a major announcement, as we begin the third phase of our data analytic look at the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision making. And with that, we conclude our first year at the Illinois Supreme Court Review – happy New Year to all!