Today, we conclude our trip through the areas of law from which the Illinois Supreme Court has drawn its civil and criminal dockets over the past sixteen years with our review of the years 2013-2015.
As you can see from the Table below, the striking thing about the Court’s civil docket in 2013 was its balance. Where the Court has historically drawn its caseload on both sides of the docket from two to three areas much more than others, in 2013, the leading subjects on the Court’s civil docket contributed only four cases apiece – government and administrative law, civil procedure, domestic relations and constitutional law. The Court decided an additional three cases each in workers’ compensation, insurance and wills and estates law (8.82%). Two cases apiece arose from tort law, tax, employment and public employee pensions (5.88%). Finally, the Court decided one case involving secured transactions (2.94%).
The criminal docket, on the other hand, was dominated by thirteen criminal procedure cases – 39.39% of the total docket. The Court decided five cases each arising from constitutional law, sentencing issues and sex crimes (15.15% each). Three cases arose from habeas corpus claims (9.09%), and one each from attorney admission and fitness and juvenile issues (3.03%).
The civil docket was once again widely distributed in 2014, with five different areas of the law accounting for at least 10% of the caseload. The Court decided five cases each arising from government and administrative law and civil procedure (18.52%). The Court heard four cases apiece in tort and constitutional law (14.81%), and three involving property law (11.11% of the civil docket). The Court decided two cases each in domestic relations and public employee pensions (7.41%). Finally, the Court decided one case each arising from election and employment law, respectively (3.7%).
Over half the Court’s criminal docket in 2014 consisted of constitutional law claims and criminal procedure – con law produced 11 cases, or 28.95% of the criminal docket, and criminal procedure produced 10, or 26.32%. Habeas corpus cases partially reversed their lengthy decline, producing six cases, or 15.79% of the docket. Four cases involved juvenile issues (10.53%), three arose from sentencing disputes (7.89% of the docket), two involved sex crime issues (5.26%), and one each arose from attorney admission and fitness and property crimes (2.63%).
Civil procedure led the Court’s civil docket last year, accounting for 11 cases – one quarter of the docket. An additional eight cases arose from government and administrative law issues (18.18%), and six involved tort law (13.64%). The Court heard four cases apiece in domestic relations and constitutional law (9.09% of the docket apiece). Two cases each arose from insurance and public employee pensions (4.55%). The rest of the civil docket was scattered, with one case each arising from seven different areas of the law – contract, tax, property, workers’ compensation, election law, environmental law and secured transactions.
We report the data for last year’s criminal docket in Table 224 below. The principal issue in the vast majority of the Court’s criminal docket cases in 2015 was criminal procedure (13 cases – 39.39% of the docket) or constitutional law (12 cases – 36.36%). The Court decided four cases involving sentencing issues (12.12%). The rest of the docket was once again scattered, with the Court hearing one case each involving violent crimes, juvenile issues, obstruction and attempt offenses.
Join us back here next week as we take up a new subject – how much of the Court’s docket involved dissents at the Appellate Court?