For the past two weeks, we’ve been reviewing the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent history with amicus briefs. Today, we turn our attention to the criminal and quasi-criminal docket between 2008 and 2015.
Amicus briefs were far more common in civil cases than in criminal matters between 2008 and 2015 – just as was the case between 2000 and 2008. In fact, as we see in Table 354 below, the Court accepted no amicus briefs at all in criminal cases between 2008 and 2010. In 2011, the Court accepted four briefs in unanimously decided cases, but none in non-unanimous cases. In 2012, the Court allowed four amicus briefs in cases decided with dissents to three in unanimous decisions. The following year, the Court accepted eight amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases to only three in unanimous ones. In 2014, the Court allowed only one amicus brief in a non-unanimous criminal case, but allowed 13 in unanimous ones. Last year, the Court allowed no amicus briefs in criminal cases decided unanimously, but allowed six in unanimous decisions.
We report the average number of briefs per case on the criminal side in Table 355 below. Of course, the average for the years 2008 through 2010 is zero. In 2011, the Court averaged 0.11 extra briefs in unanimous criminal decisions. In 2012, the Court averaged 0.4 amicus briefs in non-unanimous decisions to 0.13 in unanimous ones. In 2013, the Court averaged 0.62 amicus briefs per case in non-unanimous decisions to 0.12 extra briefs in unanimous decisions. In 2014, the Court averaged only 0.14 amicus briefs in non-unanimous cases, but accepted 0.48 briefs per case on the unanimous side of the ledger. Last year, the Court accepted no amicus briefs in non-unanimous criminal decisions, but averaged 0.22 amicus briefs in unanimously decided cases.
Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to another new issue: which Justices have written the longest and shortest opinions year by year since 2000?