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Who Wrote the Longest Majority Opinions in Civil Cases (Part 1)?

For the past several weeks, we’ve been looking for insights into the Court’s decision-making processes by reviewing the data for the length of the Court’s opinions.  This week and next, we’re looking at a related question: which Justices tended to write the longest and shortest majority opinions.  This week, the civil side.  We’ll take the … Continue Reading

Does It Take More Pages to Reverse Than to Affirm in Criminal Cases (2004-2018)?

Yesterday, we showed that in contrast to our result in civil cases, when majority opinions reversing tended most years to be longer than majority opinions affirming, the opposite was generally true in criminal cases – between 1990 and 2003, affirmances were longer.  Today, we’re looking at the years 2004 to 2018. In 2004, reversals were … Continue Reading

Does It Take More Pages to Reverse Than to Affirm in Criminal Cases (1990-2003)?

Last time, we took our first look at a new question: do majority opinions in civil cases tend to be longer when the Court reverses than when it affirms?  The answer, for a substantial majority of years, was yes.  So today and tomorrow, we’re looking at the flipside: are reversals longer in criminal cases too?  … Continue Reading

Does It Take More Pages to Reverse Than to Affirm in Civil Cases (2004-2018)?

Last time, we began looking at a new question: are majority opinions reversing the Appellate Court on average longer than majorities affirming the result below?  Between 1990 and 2003, the answer was, most of the time, yes.  This time, we’re looking at the data for civil cases between 2004 and 2018. In Table 965, we … Continue Reading

Does It Take More Pages to Reverse Than to Affirm in Civil Cases (1990-2003)?

I remember many years ago my first-year Criminal Law professor telling us that you can always tell within the first five pages how an appellate criminal law case involving violent crime will come out: if it reads like a slasher movie, the defendant has lost.  If you get well into the opinion and are wondering … Continue Reading

How Has the Length of the Court’s Opinions in Criminal Cases Changed Over Time (Part 2)?

Yesterday, we reviewed the Court’s year-by-year experience with the length of its opinions (majorities, special concurrences and dissents) in criminal cases for the years 1990 through 2003.  Today, we’re looking at the years 2004 through 2017. The average majority opinion declined in length after about 1996, and its downward drift continued during this period.  In … Continue Reading

How Has the Length of the Court’s Opinions in Criminal Cases Changed Over Time (Part 1)?

Last week, we began our study of the length of the Court’s opinions since 1990 with a look at the civil docket, looking at such questions as whether opinions are getting consistently longer or shorter, and whether longer dissents are related, all other things being equal, to longer majority opinions.  This week, we’re looking at … Continue Reading

How Has the Length of the Court’s Opinions in Civil Cases Evolved Over Time (Part 2)?

In our last post, we addressed the yearly average length of the Court’s opinions in civil cases for the year 1990 through 2003.  Today, we’re looking at the years 2004 through 2017.  In doing so, we’re looking for evidence on two questions: first, are opinions getting shorter or longer over time; and second, do longer … Continue Reading

How Has the Length of the Court’s Opinions in Civil Cases Evolved Over Time (Part 1)?

This week, we take up a new topic: how has the length of the Court’s opinions – majority opinions, special concurrences and dissents – evolved over the past twenty-eight years?  We’ll review the civil docket this week – today on the years 1990-2003 and tomorrow on 2004-2017 – and then turn to the criminal docket … Continue Reading

What District/Division of the Appellate Court Averaged the Most Votes to Affirm Before the Supreme Court in Criminal Cases (Part 2)?

Yesterday, we reviewed the average votes to affirm criminal cases from the First District at the Supreme Court between 1990 and 2017.  Today, we’re reviewing the numbers for the rest of the state. The Second District’s votes to affirm in criminal cases has been equally distributed.  For nine years, the votes to affirm was four … Continue Reading

What District/Division of the Appellate Court Averaged the Most Votes to Affirm Before the Supreme Court in Criminal Cases (Part 1)?

Last week, we reviewed the data across the Districts and Divisions of the Appellate Court for yearly average votes to affirm the Appellate Court’s decisions in civil cases before the Supreme Court.  This week, we’re looking at votes to affirm in criminal cases. In Table 943, we report the data for Division One of the … Continue Reading

Which District/Division of the Appellate Court Averaged the Most Votes to Affirm Before the Supreme Court in Civil Cases (Part 2)?

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 … Continue Reading

Which District/Division of the Appellate Court Averaged the Most Votes to Affirm Before the Supreme Court in Civil Cases (Part 1)?

For the past two weeks, we’ve been reviewing the reversal rates before the Supreme Court of each District and Division of the Appellate Court since 1990.  But not all affirmances (or reversals) are created equal.  A 4-3 reversal is arguably a different thing than a 7-0 reversal (and the same goes for affirmances by those … Continue Reading

Which District of the Appellate Court Has Been Reversed Most Often in Criminal Cases Since 1990 (Part 2)?

Yesterday, we reviewed the District-by-District reversal rates in criminal cases for the courts of Chicago’s First District.  Today, we’re reviewing the data for the rest of the state. But first, let’s review the criminal cases decided in the First District for which we couldn’t determine a specific Division (the vast majority of these cases fall … Continue Reading

Which District of the Appellate Court Has Been Reversed Most Often in Criminal Cases Since 1990 (Part 1)?

Last week, we reviewed the data on reversal rates for the various Districts and Divisions of the Appellate Court in civil cases at the Supreme Court.  This week, we’re taking a look at the criminal docket. In Table 918, we report the overall reversal rate for each intermediate Court in the 1,361 criminal and quasi-criminal … Continue Reading

Which District Outside of Chicago Is Reversed Most Often in Civil Cases (1990-2017)?

Last time, we reviewed the three-year floating reversal rate in civil cases from 1990 to 2017 of the Divisions of Chicago’s First District of the Appellate Court.  This time, we’re turning our attention to the rest of the state.  For Districts Two through Five, the highest long-term reversal rate was the Fifth District – 72.83% … Continue Reading

Which Division of the First District Is Reversed Most Often in Civil Cases (1990-2017)?

This week, we’re looking at one of the most frequently seen analytics about appellate decision-making and courts of last resort: which Appellate Court has the highest (and lowest) reversal rate.  First, a few words about method.  We define criminal and quasi-criminal cases in our database as criminal, quasi-criminal cases like habeas corpus, juvenile and mental … Continue Reading

How Was Dissent Distributed in Criminal Cases?

Yesterday, we took a closer look at last week’s analysis of the unanimity rate, asking how much of the docket was accounted for by one, two and three dissenter cases.  Over the entire period 1990-2017, 12.86% of the criminal decisions had one dissenter, 10.65% had two – both slightly below the rate in civil cases … Continue Reading

How Was Dissent Distributed in Civil Cases?

Last week, we discussed the evolution of the Court’s rate of unanimity in civil cases.  But of course, that analysis omits important variables – how was the dissent distributed?  It tells us something very different if, for example, the entire group of divided decisions were 6-1 or 4-3.  So this week, we’re looking at that … Continue Reading

How Has the Court’s Unanimity Rate in Criminal Cases Changed Over Time?

Yesterday, we began our review of how the Court’s unanimity rate has changed over time with a review of the data for the civil docket.  Today, we’re looking at the criminal docket.  For the entire twenty-eight years, the Court has decided 1,540 cases and been unanimous in 67.86% – less than a point higher than … Continue Reading

How Has the Court’s Unanimity Rate in Civil Cases Changed Over Time?

This week, we’re turning our attention to a new issue, comparing the evolution of the Court’s unanimity rate in civil and criminal cases over time.  Between 1990 and 2017, the Court decided 1,363 civil cases, 67.06% of them unanimously. In Table 890, we report the yearly numbers from 1990 to 1996.  In 1990, the Court’s … Continue Reading

How Do the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ Civil Dockets Compare (Part 2)?

Yesterday, we began a multi-day crossover post comparing the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ civil (and later in the week, criminal) dockets, how they compare to each other and how they evolved over time. Today, we’re comparing the Courts’ dockets from 2004 to 2017. We showed last time that the Illinois Supreme Court decided 139 … Continue Reading

How Do the Illinois and California Supreme Courts’ Civil Dockets Compare (Part 1)?

After reading this shout-out to our ongoing series of posts, both here and at the California Supreme Court Review, tracing how the courts’ civil and criminal dockets have evolved over time, I thought it was time for another cross-over series, both here and at CSCR. So, today and tomorrow, we’re looking at the two courts’ … Continue Reading

How Has the Court Decided Cases Involving Property Crimes Since 1990?

Yesterday, we took a close look at the Court’s arbitration cases since 1990.  Today, we’re on the criminal side of the docket, looking at the Court’s cases involving property crimes.  Less than a third of the Court’s property crime cases were won by the prosecution below – only 31.58%.  Oddly, the Court reversed 83.33% of … Continue Reading
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