Last week, we began further refining reversal rates as a measure of how the Districts and Divisions of the Appellate Court have fared before the Illinois Supreme Court by considering the average votes to affirm the Appellate Court’s decisions in the civil and criminal dockets. Today, we turn to the Supreme Court’s criminal docket between 2000 and 2004.
We report the data below in Table 324, once again dividing the cases between non-unanimous and unanimous decisions. Among the Supreme Court’s non-unanimous decisions, average votes to affirm were highest among direct appeals from the Circuit Courts. But in unanimously decided cases, Division Six of the First District led at 4.2 votes to affirm. Division Three of the First District was the second highest among non-unanimous decisions, averaging four votes per case to affirm, followed by Division One (3.6 votes to affirm), First District cases not attributed to any Division (3.33) and Second District cases (3.33). Fifth District cases were next among non-unanimous decisions, averaging 3.2 votes per case, followed by Division Six of the First District (3 votes to affirm) and the Fourth District (3 votes). The Third District averaged only 2.56 votes to affirm in split decisions, followed by Division Five of the First District (2 votes) and Division Four (1 votes to affirm).
The second highest average votes to affirm among unanimous decisions, behind Division Six of the First District, was the Second District at 3.81. Divisions Three, Four and Five of the First District averaged 3.5 votes to affirm, as did the unattributed cases from the First District. The Fifth District averaged 3.42 votes to affirm, followed by direct appeals at 3.33 votes to affirm per case. The Third and Fourth Districts averaged only 2.56 and 2.43 votes to affirm, respectively. Divisions One and Two of the First District had the hardest time in unanimous decisions before the Court during these years – all of their cases which were unanimously decided ended in reversals.
Join us back here tomorrow as we turn to a related question – which Districts of the Appellate Court had the highest rate of unanimous reversals in the criminal docket between 2000 and 2004?