For the past several weeks, we’ve been refining our analysis of how the Districts and Divisions of the Appellate Court have fared in the past sixteen years before the Illinois Supreme Court, calculating the average votes to affirm garnered by each District’s decisions on the civil and criminal docket. This week, we address the criminal docket between 2010 and 2015.
Last week, we showed that Division Five of the First District led in non-unanimous civil decisions between 2010 and 2015 with an average of 4.25 votes to affirm. It did even better in criminal cases, leading statewide with an average of 5.2 votes to affirm. Division Four was right behind, averaging an even five votes. Division Two of the First District and the Second District saw quite a few affirmances as well, averaging 4.5 and 4.4 votes to affirm, respectively. Division Four was next, averaging 3.83 votes in non-unanimous cases. The Third District averaged 2.9 votes to affirm in non-unanimous cases, followed immediately by decisions from the First District which we were unable to attribute to a particular Division at 2.89, and Division Three of the First District at 2.8. The bottom three finishers among non-unanimous decisions were Division Six of the First District, which averaged 2.67 votes to affirm, the Fifth District at 2.5 and direct appeals from the Circuit Court, which averaged only 1.8. There were no non-unanimous decisions on criminal cases from Division One of the First District between 2010 and 2015.
Average votes to affirm were more dispersed among unanimous decisions than non-unanimous ones; half of the twelve originating courts had higher votes to affirm in unanimous decisions, half had a lower average. Divisions Three and Six of the First District and unattributed cases from the First District led the state, with an average votes to affirm in unanimous criminal cases of 4.5, 4.38 and 4.32. The Second District was next, averaging 3.88 votes to affirm. Division Five of the First District and the Fourth District followed, each averaging 3.5 votes for the Appellate Court decision. Six different branches of the Appellate Court averaged fewer than three votes to affirm. Division One of the First District and the Fifth District averaged 2.8 votes. Direct appeals from the Circuit Court were only slightly behind, averaging 2.76 votes. Division Four of the First District averaged 2.7 votes to affirm, followed by Division Two at 2.63. Division Three of the Appellate Court was lowest in the state, averaging only 2.19 votes to affirm in unanimous decisions on the criminal docket.
Join us back here tomorrow, when we’ll conclude our year-by-year analysis with a look at which District of the Appellate Court has averaged the largest share of its criminal decisions ending in unanimous reversal during the past six years.