Last week, we began our examination of the Illinois Supreme Court’s reversal rate for the various Districts and Divisions of the Appellate Court, contrasting the reversal rate in civil cases with the criminal docket. Today, we take the second step in that analysis, addressing the years 2006-2010.
In Table 268 below, we see the overall reversal rate in civil cases. With the exception of 2006 and 2009, the overall rate is very close to the trend rate for the years 2000 to 2005. For 2006, the overall reversal rate in civil cases sunk to 38.78%, but the next two years, it was between 55 and 60%. The Court reversed 71.79% of civil decisions in 2009, but the rate fell back to 57.58% in 2010.
We report the three-year floating reversal rate for the Divisions of the First District in civil cases between 2006 and 2010 in Table 269 below. Only the First and Fourth Divisions of the First District have maintained a reversal rate significantly below the statewide average during these years. With the exception of 2006, the reversal rate for Division 1 stayed below 30% for the entire period. The reversal rate for Division 4 was 37.5% in 2006, 25% in 2007 and one-third in 2008 and 2010, only reaching the statewide level in 2009, when it reached 57.14%.
The remaining Divisions have not fared as well. Division 5 was quite close to the statewide average reversal rate throughout the period. Division 3 was at 45.45% reversal for 2006 and 2007 before rising to the statewide average in 2008 and then significantly above it the following years. With the exception of 2006 and 2007, when the reversal rate in Division 6 was well below the statewide average (28.57% in 2006, 27.27% in 2007), the reversal rate there was at or above the statewide average throughout. But it was District 2 which had the roughest time during these years – although the Court had a three-year weighted reversal rate of only one-third in 2006, that rate was 61.54% in 2007 and 2008, 77.78% in 2009 and 83.33% in 2010.
We turn next to the three-year floating reversal rates for the remaining districts of the Appellate Court in Table 270. This chart shows that District Two’s reversal rate was at roughly the statewide average for this five-year period, as was District Four. The Third District tended to be below the statewide reversal average for the most part, beginning at one third in 2006 and rising to only 42.86% in 2008. But the real story of these years is the Fifth District. Although the District fared reasonably well between 2000 and 2005, its reversal rate had risen to 73.91% in 2006, and with the exception of a one-year dip in 2008 to 63.64%, got progressively worse – topping out at 90.91% in 2009 and 92.31% in 2010. The Court remained highly skeptical of direct appeals from the Circuit Courts, with a reversal rate of 73.33% in 2006 only increasing from there.
Join us back here tomorrow for our look at the reversal rates on the criminal side between 2006 and 2010. And then, join us again on Thursday for a very special announcement.