Last week, we showed that in contrast to the data for the California Supreme Court, time under submission from the allowing of the petition for leave to appeal to oral argument and argument to decision was longer at the Illinois Supreme Court for reversals than for affirmances. In those posts, we looked at the data aggregated for the entire 2010-2016 period. But is the relationship stable from year to year?
We divided the data for time under submission between affirmances and reversals by year and recalculated the means. Table 449 shows the average lag time in days from PLA grant to oral argument for affirmances and reversals in civil cases. We see that between 2010 and 2012, affirmances took longer to be argued than reversals did. Since that time, the correlation between lag time and result is minimal. In 2008, affirmances averaged 208.64 days from PLA grant to argument. Reversals were argued, on average, in 189.06 days. In 2011, the gap widened – affirmances took 220.81 days to be argued, while reversals were argued in only 161.56 days. In 2012, the gap increased to its biggest level of the period, as affirmances took roughly two months longer to be argued. Affirmances averaged 242.5 days from grant to argument, while reversals averaged 177.86 days.
For 2013, affirmances were argued nearly two months more quickly, while the average for reversals drifted upwards. Affirmances averaged 178.54 days, while reversals averaged 192.26 days. But in 2014, the trend briefly reasserted itself: affirmances averaged 214.22 days, while reversals averaged 189.44 days. Since that time, reversals have had the longer average lag time, but this is almost entirely the result of affirmances moving more quickly – the averages for reversals have stayed right around their long term trend. In 2015, affirmances on average were argued 182.86 days after the allowance of the PLA. Reversals were argued 198.05 days after the grant. For 2016, affirmances averaged 175 days, while reversals averaged 178.55.
What about the time from oral argument to decision? Here, the relationship between lag time and result has been stable over time – reversals have taken longer nearly every year. In 2010, affirmances were handed down, on average, 116.79 days after argument. Reversals took 173.73 days. In 2011, affirmances came down in 123.88 days, while reversals took 142.94 days. In 2012, affirmances were filed in 146.75 days, while reversals were filed in 168.76 days.
2013 was the only year in the period when affirmances took longer – affirmances were filed, on average, 166 days after argument to 116.89 days for reversals. In 2014, affirmances were filed only 106.78 days after argument to 128.72 for reversals. The following year, reversals were about the same – 130.14 days – while affirmances moved even more quickly at 98.71 days. Last year, affirmances averaged 127.9 days to 185.36 days for reversals.
Join us back here tomorrow as we look at the Court’s criminal docket, year by year.