Last week, we began our review of the principal areas of law from which the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets have been drawn, addressing the years 2000 through 2004. Today, we continue our investigation with the second five years of our period – 2005 through 2009.
In Table 201 below, we chart the year-by-year number of cases for the leading two subjects on the civil and criminal dockets. Note two changes from the similar chart we ran last week – government and administrative law cases on the civil side and habeas corpus cases on the criminal side have fallen out of the top two spots. For the period, the two leading subjects were tort and civil procedure on the civil docket, and criminal procedure and constitutional law on the criminal docket. Note that tort cases were relatively flat throughout the period, while civil procedure cases drifted down somewhat. Criminal procedure cases were up and down on the docket, reaching highs in 2006 and 2009. Constitutional law cases pulled out of a slight slide in 2008 before returning to its base level in 2009.
The data for the 2005 civil docket is reported below in Table 202. The civil docket was quite widely dispersed, with seven different subjects accounting for eight percent or more of the docket. Sixteen and two thirds percent of the docket was tort law cases. Civil procedure matters were another 12.5%, and insurance contributed 10.42%. The Court heard four cases apiece in government and administrative law, workers’ compensation, constitutional law and consumer law – 8.33% each. The Court heard two cases each in contract, secured transactions and public employee pensions law (4.17%). The Court heard one case apiece in tax, property law, environmental and employment law.
Turning to the criminal docket, the Court heard 19 constitutional law cases in 2005 – 32.76% of the docket. Another 18.97% of the docket arose involved criminal procedure issues. Habeas corpus cases had fallen to 12.07% of the docket. Juvenile issues accounted for another 10.34%. The Court heard five cases involving sex crimes – 8.62%. Another 5.17% arose from vehicle crimes, and 3.45% each from sentencing issues and drug crimes. The Court heard one case each involving the death penalty, property crimes and the elements of violent crimes.
We report the data for the civil docket in 2006 below in Table 204. Tort and civil procedure cases were both up slightly as a fraction of the docket, to 20.41% and 16.33%. Government and administrative law cases were up a bit to 12.24% of the docket; constitutional law was up somewhat (10.2%), and insurance slightly down (8.16%). The Court heard three cases each arising from domestic relations and workers’ compensation, and two apiece in arbitration, wills and estates and consumer law. The Court heard one case each in tax law, secured transactions, employment law and public employee pensions.
The Court’s caseload in constitutional law fell by nearly half in 2006, with the Court hearing ten cases, or 19.61% of the docket. On the other hand, the caseload in criminal procedure exactly doubled to 22 cases, or 43.14% of the docket. Sentencing issues accounted for 9.8% of the docket, another 7.84% in juvenile issues, and 5.88% involving violent crimes issues. The Court heard two cases each arising from attorney admission and fitness issues, death penalty, and drug offenses. By 2006, the Court’s caseload in habeas corpus had fallen to only one case.
Join us back here tomorrow as we address the Court’s docket for the years 2007 through 2009.