Last time, we reviewed the data on the distribution of majority opinions in criminal cases from 1990 to 2018. This time, we’re reviewing the lengths of each Justice’s majorities.
In 1990, Justice Stamos led at 35.83 pages, and Justice Calvo averaged 31 pages. Chief Justice Moran averaged 17.2 pages. In 1991, Justice Cunningham averaged 46 pages, while Justice Calvo averaged 11 pages. In 1992, Justice Moran averaged 34.23 pages, while Justice Heiple averaged 13.1 pages. In 1993, Justice Freeman wrote the longest opinions at 29.67 pages. Justice McMorrow averaged 11. In 1994, Justice McMorrow averaged 31.67 pages, while Justice Harrison averaged 12 pages. In 1995, Justice Freeman led with 29 pages, while Justice Heiple wrote the shortest opinions at 14 pages. In 1996, Justice Miller wrote the longest majorities – 36 pages. Justice Heiple averaged 15.67 pages.
In 1997, Justice McMorrow averaged the longest majorities – 30.2 pages. Justice Heiple averaged 10.22 pages. In 1998, Chief Justice Bilandic averaged 26.22 pages, while Justice Heiple averaged only 7.5 pages. In 1999, Justice McMorrow averaged 28.43 pages, while Justices Heiple and Harrison were both in single digits – 8.56 pages and five. In 2000, Justice McMorrow averaged 31.13 pages and Chief Justice Bilandic averaged 25.36 pages, while four Justices averaged under twenty – Rathje (14.92), Heiple (13.57), Harrison (12.67) and Miller (11.7). In 2001, majority opinions were quite short – Chief Justice Freeman led, averaging twenty pages. Justices Fitzgerald, Garman, McMorrow, Miller and Thomas averaged between ten and twenty, and Justice Kilbride and Harrison were in single digits – nine and 5.8 pages, respectively. In 2002, Justices Garman and McMorrow led, averaging 23.11 and 23.09 pages. New Justice Rarick averaged thirteen pages, while retiring Justice Harrison averaged three. In 2003, every Justice but two averaged between ten and twenty pages, with Justice Freeman leading at 18.43. Justice Rarick averaged five pages.
Between 2004 and 2010, the expected length of the Court’s majority opinions in criminal cases depended on which Justice was writing. In 2004, Chief Justice McMorrow averaged the longest majorities at 25.29 pages, while Justice Garman averaged only 10.44. In 2005, Justice Karmeier averaged 27 pages, while Justice Kilbride averaged 13.25. In 2006, Justice Fitzgerald averaged 24.2 pages, while new Justice Burke averaged ten. In 2007, Justice Garman averaged the longest opinions – 26.25 pages. Justice Kilbride averaged 9.5 pages. In 2008, the entire Court was under twenty pages, with Justice Freeman leading (18 pages) and Justice Karmeier shortest at 13.13 pages. In 2009, Justice Karmeier averaged 24.33 pages, while Justice Burke averaged only 11.71 pages. In 2010, Justice Garman’s majorities averaged 30.22 pages. Justice Burke’s averaged 10.5 pages.
In 2011, Justice Garman averaged the longest criminal majority opinions at 21 pages, while Justice Burke averaged nine. In 2012, Justice Garman once again led at 16.14 pages and Justice Freeman averaged 7.5 pages. In 2013, Justice Theis’s majorities averaged 13.14 pages, but that led the Court. Chief Justice Kilbride (nine pages) and Justices Karmeier (eight), Freeman (eight) and Thomas (6.33) were all under ten pages. In 2014, Justice Karmeier’s majorities averaged 15.75 pages, while four Justices – Thomas, Theis, Freeman and Burke – averaged the shortest opinions, all between nine and ten. In 2015, only Justice Thomas was over ten pages, leading at 11.67. Justice Freeman’s criminal majority opinions averaged only 5.5 pages. In 2016, Chief Justice Garman led at 12.43 pages, with Justice Freeman at 12.2. Justice Burke’s majorities were the shortest at 7.4 pages. In 2017, average length ticked up a bit. Justice Theis’ average majority was 22.29 pages. With every Justice in double digits, Justice Burke was shortest at 11.83 pages. Last year, Justice Thomas averaged the longest criminal majority opinions at 24 pages. Justice Freeman was shortest prior to his retirement, averaging 10.5 pages.
Join us back here next time as we turn our attention to a new topic.