Yesterday, we reviewed the statewide data on the civil and criminal petitions for leave to appeal heard and resolved by the Illinois Supreme Court, dividing them into PLAs granted, denied with a supervisory order, and denied outright. Today, we turn to the District-by-District data.
In the title of this post, we ask whether the District matters as far as one’s odds of getting a grant. The short answer is yes, although the Court seems to shift its focus from one District to another over the years. We report the percentage of civil PLAs granted by District in Table 283 below. The first thing we notice about this chart is that the Fifth District – historically the highest reversal rate in civil cases – is by no means the highest grant rate in civil PLAs. In fact, in a number of years, it’s been among the lowest grant rates.
The grant rate for the First District is highest in 2007 at 7.12%. The First District’s rate falls to between 5 and 6% in 2008 and 2009 before rising to 6.27% in 2010. In 2014, the grant rate in the First rises back to 7.11% before falling back to 3.86% in 2015.
The grant rate in the Second and Third Districts in 2007 and 2008 was over 10% – higher than the First District has reached at any point during our period. The Second District was at its lowest in 2015 at 2.60% granted. The Third District fell all the way to 1.82% in 2011 before rising to 10.42% the following year. In 2015, the Third District was the place to be if you were filing a civil PLA – the grant rate was 8.16%, the highest in the state.
The Fourth District, which has generally had a fairly low reversal rate, has at times had a fairly high grant rate, topping 10% grants in 2007 (13.24%), 2012 (12%) and 2014 (10.26%). On the other hand, the grant rate in the Fourth District has been below 6% in five of the remaining six years, excepting only 2013, falling all the way to 1.96% in 2015.
In three of the nine years, the Fifth District has had the lowest grant rate in civil cases in the state. In 2007, when grants were over 10% in the Second, Third and Fourth Districts, only 2.90% of PLAs in civil cases coming from the Fifth District were granted. The grant rate rose to 7.81% in 2010, but remained at 5% or less between 2011 and 2013. The civil grant rate in the Fifth District had a one-year spike in 2014, with 14.29% of civil PLAs granted, before falling all the way to 3.08% in 2015.
We report the District-by-District data for criminal, quasi-criminal and juvenile matters in Table 284 below. Once again, the First District is definitely not the place to be if one is pursuing a PLA. Slightly more than 3% of criminal PLAs were granted in the First District in 2008 and 2009, but otherwise, the grant rate has remained between two and three percent every year – falling to a low of only 2.04% granted in 2015. The experience at the Second District can be divided into two periods – 2007-2009, when the grant rate was between five and 8.5 per cent each year – and the years since, when the grant rate has ranged from a low of 2.08% to a high of only 3.68%.
The grant rate in the Third District has been the highest in the state for four of our nine years. The rate began at 7.19% in 2007 and was only slightly lower at 7.14% two years later. The grant rate lost a point or two the next two years – 5.22% in 2010 and 6.2% the following year – before dropping to a mere 3.65% in 2012. In the years since, the grant rate in the Third District has climbed each year, to 4% in 2013, 6.32% in 2014 and 8.6% last year.
The grant rate in the Fourth District has declined in recent years. Grant rates in 2007 and 2008 were about the statewide average, at 4.8% and 5.31%, before falling all the way to 1.79% in 2009. The grant rate rose back again to the same level in 2010 and 2011 (4.73% and 4.92%, respectively), before dropping and staying down – 2.47% in 2012, 3.17% in 2013, 3.48% in 2014 and 3.13% in 2015.
The Fifth District, on the other hand, has contributed zero criminal-side grants in four of our nine years – 2007-2008 and 2010-2011. Even in the other years, the Fifth hasn’t been an easy place to take up a criminal case from. Grant rates were below five percent in three years (2.86% in 2009; 4.84% in 2012, and 3.28% in 2014). Only in 2013, when 7.14% of all Fifth District criminal PLAs were granted, and last year, when 8.51% were granted, has the Fifth District been up among the statewide leaders as far as grant rates.
Join us back here next Tuesday when we’ll turn to the District-by-District data on cases which were denied with a supervisory order. From there, we’ll analyze the data month by month.