Archives: Illinois Supreme Court

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Reviewing the Justices’ Agreement Rates in Criminal Cases, 2002-2007

Last time, we reviewed the Justices’ agreement rates in divided criminal decisions between 1996 and 2001.  In this post, we’re looking at the data for the years 2002 to 2007. Because Justice Burke only joined the Court in 2006, her agreement rates vary widely among her colleagues – Justice Freeman 100%, Justices Fitzgerald, Garman and … Continue Reading

Reviewing the Justices’ Agreement Rates in Criminal Cases, 1996-2001

Today, we’re continuing our look at the agreement rates for every possible combination of Justices in criminal cases by reviewing the data for the years 1996 to 2001. Justice Freeman’s highest agreement rate during these years was with Justice Fitzgerald, 86.96%.  Justice Rathje was next at 74.07%.  Three Justices were in the sixties – Bilandic … Continue Reading

Reviewing the Justices’ Agreement Rates in Criminal Cases, 1990-1995

Today, we start the second part of our ongoing analysis of agreement rates among the Justices since 1990 – the criminal docket.  We proceed just as we did with the civil docket, tracking agreement rates in non-unanimous cases.  “Disagreement” is defined as two Justices not voting exactly the same way with respect to the judgment … Continue Reading

Reviewing the Justices’ Agreement Rates in Civil Cases, 2014-2018

For the past two weeks, we’ve been reviewing the Justices’ agreement rates in divided civil cases across the period 1990 to 2018, working six years at a time.  Today, we’ve reached our fifth and last post on the civil docket, reviewing the years 2014 to 2018.  As we did last time, to facilitate comparisons for … Continue Reading

Reviewing the Justices’ Agreement Rates in Civil Cases, 2008-2013

Yesterday, we reviewed the Justices’ agreement rates in civil cases for the years 2002 through 2007.  Today, we’re looking at the agreement rates for the next six years – 2008 through 2013, with one change.  Since we’re now getting into a period where nearly all the current members of the Court had begun their tenures, … Continue Reading

Reviewing the Justices’ Agreement Rates in Civil Cases, 2002-2007

Last week, we began our review, six years at a time, of the Justices’ agreement rates in civil cases.  First, we addressed the years 1990 through 1995, and then, we looked at the years 1996 through 2001.  Today, we’re turning our attention to the civil agreement rates for the years 2002 to 2007. During these … Continue Reading

Reviewing the Justices’ Agreement Rates in Civil Cases, 1996-2001

Last time, we reviewed the Justices’ agreement rates – how often each possible combination of Justices, two at a time, voted together – in civil cases between 1990 and 1995.  In this post, we’re looking at the same number for the years 1996 to 2001. In Table 1007, we report the data for our first … Continue Reading

Reviewing the Justices’ Agreement Rates in Civil Cases, 1990-1995

For the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at how often each member of the Court since 1990 voted with the majority in divided decisions on both the civil and criminal side, looking both for how closely aligned each Justice was with the majority of the Court, and perhaps a rough indicator of each Justice’s … Continue Reading

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
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