Yesterday, we established that all things being equal, the Illinois Supreme Court has tended to ask somewhat more questions in civil cases where they reverse than in cases where they affirm. Today, we address the Court’s criminal cases from 2008 to 2016.
Our database consists of 160 affirmances in criminal cases and 188 reversals. Once again, we find the losing party averaging more questions. In affirmances, appellants averaged 18.18 questions to only 8.37 for appellees. In reversals, appellees averaged 14.39 questions to 13.47 for appellants. Overall, we see that once again, reversals result in more questions, although the effect is even more mild with criminal cases than with civil cases. In reversals, the Court has averaged 27.8 questions to 26.49 for affirmances.
Not surprisingly, question totals have been more variable both in affirmances and reversals for the losing party. In affirmances, the standard deviation for appellants has been 10.43 to 7.06 for appellees. In reversals, appellants’ standard deviation has been 8.97 to 9.58 for appellees. For total questions, the standard deviation for affirmances has been 13.54 to 14.58 for reversals.
Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to another issue in studying the Court’s oral arguments.