Last time, we began reviewing the performance of each District and Division of the Appellate Court for the years 1990 to 2017 using a different metric: average votes each year to affirm the Appellate Court’s decision, regardless of whether the ultimate result was to affirm or reverse. After reviewing the numbers for Chicago’s First District in our last post, this time we’re looking at the data for the rest of the state.
The Second District’s yearly votes to affirm has been evenly distributed across the spectrum: seven years at four votes or higher (1990, 1996, 1999, 2006, 2013, 2015 and 2017); six years between three and four votes to affirm (1992, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2011); and eight years between zero and two votes to affirm (1993, 1995, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2016).
The Third District has fared well. For the past twenty-eight years, the Third District’s average votes-to-affirm in civil cases has been at four or more eleven times – 1993, 1995, 1999-2002, 2004-2006, 2011 and 2014. The votes to affirm has been between three and four six times – 1996-1997, 2007, 2013 and 2016-2017. The Third District’s votes to affirm were between zero and two only five times – 1990, 1992, 2003, 2012 and 2015.
The Fourth District’s civil votes to affirm has generally been fairly high as well. The rate was four or more in eight years (1998, 200-2001, 2005, 2011-2012 and 2015-2016). The rate was between three and four an additional eight years (1994, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2008-2009, 2014 and 2017). The rate was between zero and two only four times (1990-1991, 1997, 2013).
Given that the Fifth District had the highest reversal rate in the state, we would expect the yearly votes to affirm to be low. They were – only in 2016 was the court’s votes to affirm rate at four or more in civil cases (it was 5.2). In four years, votes to affirm was between three and four: 1993, 2003-2004 and 2007. For sixteen of the twenty-eight years, average votes to affirm civil decisions from the Fifth District was between zero and two: 1990-1992, 1995, 1000-2001, 2005, 2008-2010, 2012-2015 and 2017.
Finally, we address the cases which the Supreme Court has taken directly from the Circuit Courts. Overall, the Court reversed in 66.94% of those cases, and the votes to affirm numbers reflect that. The trial courts’ civil votes to affirm were four or more in four years (1993, 2003, 2013, 2016); between three and four in three years (1994, 1997 and 2009); and between zero and two in fourteen years (1990-1992, 1995-1996, 1998-2002, 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2014). In three years, the Court accepted no civil cases from the Circuit Courts.
Join us back here next week as we turn to the votes to affirm rates for the criminal docket.