Yesterday, we began our analysis of the average time under submission at the Illinois Supreme Court for civil cases. Today, we probe further the question of what can be predicted from time under submission by considering the year-by-year data.
In Table 237 below, we report the lag times for divided and unanimous civil decisions at the Court in 2008. The lag time for divided decisions is generally – but not inevitably – above the time under submission for unanimous cases.
In 2009’s civil docket, the relationship between divided and unanimous decisions was not as clear, as divided cases frequently were under submission for less time than unanimous ones.
The relationship between non-unanimous and unanimous decisions was once again unclear in 2010.
The following year, the mean lag time for non-unanimous cases rose slightly in relation to unanimous decisions, but by and large, there was not a sharp distinction between the two types of cases.
By 2012, lag times were fairly consistently higher for non-unanimous civil decisions than for unanimous ones.
Non-unanimous decisions were fairly consistently higher in time under submission than unanimous ones in 2013.
In 2014, all of the Court’s non-unanimous civil decisions were under submission for longer than the Court’s unanimous decisions were.
The same was true in 2015.
Looking at the data collectively suggests that although non-unanimous decisions, all things being equal, are under submission for longer than unanimous decisions are, there is little direct relationship between days under submission and the number of dissenters, at least for the civil docket. The mean days under submission for the entire eight-year period for unanimous decisions is 163.71 days, with a small standard deviation of 8.01. Civil cases with one dissenter were under submission for an average of 198 days, with a standard deviation of 25.44 – suggesting a good bit of variability. Two and three-dissenter cases were under submission for slightly less time – 194.13 days, with a standard deviation of 17.23.
Join us back here next week as turn to the time under submission for the criminal docket.