We’ve all heard it any number of times: the appellate courts only review final judgments.  Even if you can figure out a theory to take a non-final judgment up, the appellate courts won’t decide it on the grounds that it isn’t necessary – let it percolate out, and maybe the case will settle, or the case may moot out another way.  But is it really true?

For the next three weeks, we’re reviewing the share of appeals accounted for by final judgments – first civil cases, one decade at a time, then criminal cases.

From 1990 through 1992, the share of final judgments in civil cases was at its lowest level – 42.7% in 1990, 43.4% in 1991, 47.83% in 1992.  It rose nearly twenty points in 1993 to 65.79%.  The share edged down into the fifties for most of the rest of the decade before rising to 65.85% in 1999.

Join us back here next time as we review the data for criminal cases in the 1990s.

Image courtesy of Flickr by GPA Photo Archive (no changes).