For the past two weeks, we’ve been tracking the areas of law covered in the Illinois Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets since 2000. This week, we’ll conclude this issue, beginning with a look at the years 2010-2012.
We begin with the year-by-year figures for the two leading subjects on each side of the docket. For the years 2000 through 2004, tort and government and administrative law led the civil docket. The leading subjects on the criminal docket were habeas corpus and criminal procedure cases. Tort and civil procedure led the way on the civil side for 2005 through 2009, and criminal procedure and constitutional law were the leading subjects on the criminal side.
Tort and civil procedure have dominated the civil docket during the past six years. Tort law rose to a high in 2011, before dropping off in the years since. Civil procedure has followed the opposite course; it was a minimal part of the Court’s docket in 2010 and 2011 before reaching a high in 2012, and again in 2015. Criminal procedure has dominated the criminal docket throughout this six-year period. Constitutional law fell sharply from 2010 to 2011 and 2012, before recovering all that ground in the years since.
The data for the civil docket in 2010, measured as a fraction of the docket, is reported below in Table 213. Tort law comprised 24.24% of the docket that year. The Court heard four insurance law cases, or 12.12% of the docket. The Court heard three cases each in tax law and constitutional law (9.09%), and two cases each in government/administrative law, civil procedure and domestic relations. The Court heard one case apiece in contract, property law, workers’ compensation, election law, secured transactions, arbitration, consumer law, public employee pensions and trust law, collectively accounting for the final 27.27% of the docket.
Criminal procedure and constitutional law accounted for 23.21% (apiece) of the criminal docket in 2010. The Court decided eleven habeas corpus cases (19.64%), and five cases involving juvenile issues (8.93%). The death penalty docket had dropped by this time to only four cases (7.14%), and the Court heard four sentencing cases as well. The Court decided two cases involving sex crimes (3.57%) and one each in violent crimes, mental health issues and official misconduct.
We report the data for the Court’s civil docket in 2011 in Table 215. Tort law was up significantly as a fraction of the Court’s docket – the Court heard 13 tort cases, or 34.21% of the caseload. Only one year after insurance was the second most popular area on the docket, the Court heard only one insurance case in 2011. Instead, the Court heard four cases each – 10.53% of the docket apiece – in tax and employment law. The Court heard three cases involving government and administrative law and domestic relations (7.89%), and two each in civil procedure, election law and constitutional law (5.26%). In addition to the one insurance law case, the Court also heard one case each in environmental, secured transactions, arbitration law and public employee pensions.
Criminal procedure was up in 2011 as a fraction of the Court’s criminal docket, amounting to one-third of the total caseload. Sentencing law was way up as well, with the Court’s docket going from four cases in 2010 to 13 in 2011 (27.08%). The Court heard four cases each involving juvenile issues and constitutional law (8.33%), three involving property crimes (6.25%), and two involving habeas corpus and sex crimes (4.17%). Finally, the Court heard one case each involving attorney admission and fitness, the death penalty, drug crimes and obstruction of justice, collectively accounting for 8.33% of the criminal docket.
We report the civil docket data for 2012 in Table 217 below. Tort was up slightly – 11 cases, accounting for 27.5% of the docket. Civil procedure was up sharply, tying tort law as the leading subject on the docket with 11 cases. The Court decided four domestic relations cases, or 10% of the civil docket, 3 government and administrative law cases (7.5%), and two each involving election law, constitutional law and public employee pensions (5% apiece). The rest of the docket was widely scattered, with the Court deciding one case apiece in contract, insurance, employment, arbitration and trusts law.
In 2012, the Court heard slightly fewer criminal procedure cases (13), but because the overall criminal docket was slightly less, that wound up accounting for a slightly higher fraction of the criminal docket (39.39%). The Court heard only 5 cases involving sentencing issues in 2012, or 15.15% of the criminal docket. The Court also heard five cases each involving constitutional law and sex crimes. The Court’s habeas docket, once the leading part of the criminal caseload, accounted for a mere three cases in 2012 – 9.09% of the criminal docket. Finally, the Court decided one case apiece involving attorney admission and fitness and juvenile issues – 3.03% of the docket, respectively.
Join us back here tomorrow as we review the past three years on the Court’s civil and criminal dockets.