Today, we conclude our analysis of how the Districts and Divisions of the Appellate Court have fared at the Illinois Supreme Court with a final question – which courts have seen the largest fraction of their criminal decisions unanimously reversed between 2010 and 2015?
Unanimous reversals have been roughly as common in recent years as they were in criminal cases for our previous period, 2005-2009. Division One of the First District saw sixty percent of its criminal cases unanimously reversed – three courts had higher numbers in the previous five years. Division Four of the First District had 54.55% of its criminal cases unanimously reversed, the Third District had 52.38%, and Division Two of the First District saw half of its criminal decisions unanimously reversed.
Direct appeals from the Circuit Court – which frequently see a high reversal rate because they often are constitutional cases – did reasonably well, with 45.45% unanimous reversals. The Fourth, Fifth and Second Districts were next, with 39.29%, one-third, and 31.43% unanimous reversals. Division Six of the First District only had 27.27% of its criminal decisions unanimously reversed. Division Three of the First District and unattributed cases from the First District fared well too, with only 26.32% and 25.81%, respectively, unanimously reversed. But it was Division Five of the First District which led the state – between 2010 and 2015, only 14.29% of its criminal decisions reviewed by the Supreme Court have been unanimously reversed.
Join us back here next Tuesday as we summarize our conclusions before moving on to the next area of our analysis – whether over time, the Court has tended to allow petitions for leave to appeal from more conservative or liberal Appellate Court decisions, area by area, and whether conservative or liberal decisions in each area tended to have higher (or lower) reversal rates.