Yesterday, we continued our examination of the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets, addressing the areas of law on both sides of the docket in 2005 and 2006. Today, we turn to the next three years, 2007-2009.
Tort cases were down slightly in 2007, both as a fraction of the civil docket (19.51%) and in absolute terms (8 cases). Insurance law was up slightly, accounting for 12.2% of the Court’s civil docket. The Court heard four cases each – 9.76% of the civil docket – involving domestic relations and election law issues. The Court decided three cases apiece in tax, civil procedure, workers’ compensation and constitutional law (7.32% of the docket). The Court added two cases involving issues of consumer law. Finally, the Court heard one case each involving contract, environmental law and public employee pensions, accounting for the final 9.76% of the docket.
Criminal procedure cases fell significantly in 2007 from the very high level of one year earlier, although they still accounted for a quarter of the criminal docket. The Court heard seven habeas corpus cases, accounting for an additional quarter of the caseload. Constitutional law cases were up, with the Court hearing six cases on the criminal docket, or 21.43%. The Court heard four cases whose principal issue involved sentencing (14.29%), two death penalty appeals (7.14%) and one case each involving property crimes and violent crimes (3.57% apiece).
We report the data for the civil docket in 2008 below in Table 208. Tort law accounted for 35.71% of the civil docket. The Court heard six cases in constitutional law (14.29%), four in civil procedure (9.52%), three in contract and domestic relations (7.14% each), and two cases apiece in tax, property, insurance and employment law (4.76% of the civil docket). Finally, the Court heard one case each in the civil docket arising from election law and secured transactions.
Constitutional law cases were up significantly in the Court’s criminal docket in 2008, with 16 cases, or 31.37% of the docket. The Court heard 10 cases each – 19.61% of the docket – in criminal procedure and sentencing law. A further seven cases arose from juvenile issues, or 13.73% of the criminal docket. The Court heard four habeas corpus cases (7.84%), and one case each involving the death penalty, property crimes, alcohol offenses and violent crimes.
After a one-year spike, tort cases were down to 21.95% of the civil docket in 2009. The rest of the docket was widely dispersed – the Court heard three cases apiece in tax, government and administrative, property, insurance, elections, constitutional and employment law (7.32% each). The Court heard a further two cases each in domestic relations, public employee pensions and trusts law. Finally, the Court heard one case apiece arising from civil procedure, workers’ compensation, secured transactions, wills and estates and consumer law.
Criminal procedure cases rose in 2009 to 43.14% of the criminal docket (22 cases). Sentencing law accounted for 15.69%. Constitutional law cases were 9.8% of the docket. Habeas corpus and death penalty appeals were 5.88% each, and 3.92% of the docket involved sex crimes. The rest of the docket was dispersed, with one case each arising from no less than eight different subjects: attorney admission and fitness, property crimes, violent crimes, juvenile offenses, drug crimes, vehicle crimes, mental health issues and pardons.
Join us next week as we turn to the final years of our study period, 2010-2015.