Yesterday, we reviewed “true” reversal rates for each District of the Appellate Court in civil cases before the Illinois Supreme Court since 2007 – which we defined as the cases reversed by the Supreme Court divided by the total number of cases disposed of by the Court, both on the merits and in PLAs. Today, we turn to the criminal side of the docket.
True reversal rates have been quite low in recent years in the First District (the source of a large portion of the Court’s criminal docket). The rate was 1.42% in 2007 and 2008, 2.48% in 2009, 1.21% in 2010 and 1.19% in 2011. In 2012, the true reversal rate fell even further, to 0.78%. The rate rose to 2.56% the following year, but was back down in 2014, at only 0.73%. The true reversal rate in the First District was 1.39% last year.
On the other hand, the rate of denials with supervisory orders has been all over the map. The Court issued such orders in 17.24% of cases disposed of in 2007. The rate fell below 5% the next two years before rising back to 11.36% in 2010. Since then, the rate of supervisory orders has gradually declined – to 8.72% in 2011, 3.45% in 2012, 1.77% in 2013, 5.32% in 2014 and 2.38% last year.
The true reversal rate has been quite low in the Second District throughout our nine-year period. The rate was over 4% only twice – at 4.10% in 2008 and 4.12% in 2010. The rate was 3.10% in 2007. The true reversal rate has been virtually nothing every other year – below 1% in 2009 and from 2012 to 2014, and only 2.68% in 2015. The rate of supervisory orders from the Second was somewhat high from 2009 through 2011 (6.61%, 6.47% and 5.67%, respectively), but has been below 2% from 2012 through 2015 (as well as in 2008).
On balance, true reversal rates in the Third District have been higher on the criminal docket than anywhere else in the state. The rate was 6.67% in 2008, 5.04% in 2010, and 4.26% in 2012. The rate was 3.97% in 2011 and 3.96% in 2013. The rate of supervisory orders was comparatively high in the first half of the period – 7.57% in 2007, 6.67% in 2008, 6.47% in 2010 and 6.35% in 2011 – but has declined recently, to 1.98%, 1.08% and 1.1% in the past three years.
True reversal rates in the Fourth District have been low almost throughout our period. The rate was below 3% from 2007-2010 and 2012-2014, and only rose to 4.12% in 2015. The true reversal rate for the Fourth District was below 1% in 2007, 2010 and 2013-2014 (0.63%, 0, 0.64%, 0.85%, respectively). The rate of supervisory orders rose to 12.14% in 2009, 8.33% in 2010 and 4.03% in 2011. In most other years, the rate of supervisory orders for the criminal docket in the Fourth District has been between three and five percent.
Criminal cases from the Fifth District are comparatively rare on the Court’s docket, which partially explains the true reversal rate of zero between 2007 and 2010. In 2011, the rate “rose” to 1.35%, before dropping back to zero the following year. In the most recent three years, the true reversal rate has been 2.5%, 6.25% and 2.22%. The rate of supervisory orders, on the other hand, has been comparable to the rest of the state. The rate was between four and six percent between 2007 and 2010 (4.55%, 5.77%, 4.41% and 4.76%, respectively), before falling somewhat in the years since to 3.13% in 2014 and 2.22% in 2015.
Join us back here next Tuesday morning as we turn to another phase of our analysis.