Archives: Illinois Supreme Court

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Who Has Been the Bellwether Vote in Divided Criminal Cases (2004-2018)?

Last time, we began our review of the data on the criminal docket regarding how often each of the Justices voted with the majority in divided criminal cases between 1990 and 2003.  Today, we’re reviewing the years 2004 through 2018. In Table 1001, we review the most recent data for Justices Burke, Fitzgerald, Freeman, Garman, … Continue Reading

Who Has Been the Bellwether Vote in Divided Criminal Cases (1990-2003)?

Last week, we reviewed the data showing how often each Justice voted with the majority in a divided civil case.  This week, we’re looking at the criminal docket. In Table 997, we review the numbers for five Justices – Bilandic, Calvo, Clark, Cunningham and Fitzgerald.  Justice Bilandic was, for the most part, between sixty and … Continue Reading

Who Has Been the Bellwether Vote in Divided Civil Cases (2004-2018)?

Last time, we began our examination of a new question: who has most often been a bellwether vote – a Justice who is nearly always in the majority in a divided decision – in civil cases?  Then, we reviewed the years 1990-2003.  Now, we’re taking a look at the years 2004-2018. In Table 995, we … Continue Reading

Who Has Been the Bellwether Vote in Divided Civil Cases (1990-2003)?

On the vast majority of appellate courts, there are one or two Justices of whom appellate specialists say “they’re the votes you’ve got to have” – or alternatively, “lose those votes and you’re hurting.”  No matter the case, those Justices nearly always seem to be in the majority.  There can be at least a couple … Continue Reading

Who Wrote the Longest Majority Opinions in Criminal Cases Each Year Since 1990 (Part 2)?

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 … Continue Reading

Who Wrote the Longest Majority Opinions in Criminal Cases Each Year Since 1990 (Part 1)?

Over the past two weeks, we’ve reviewed the data on the distribution of the Court’s majority opinions in civil cases, and which Justice wrote the longest and shortest majorities each year.  Today, we’re reviewing the data in criminal cases. In our first table, we review the data for 1990 to 1996.  In 1990, Justice Stamos … Continue Reading

Who Wrote the Longest Majority Opinions in Civil Cases (Part 2)?

Yesterday, we began reviewing the Justice-by-Justice data for majority opinions in civil cases, beginning with the total number of majorities written each year.  Today, we’re looking at the average length of each Justice’s majority opinions in civil cases. In 1990, Justice Stamos averaged 25.8 pages per majority opinion, while Chief Justice Moran averaged 10.4 pages.  … Continue Reading

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
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