Yesterday, we reviewed the data on Justice Kilbride’s oral arguments in civil cases.  Today, we’re looking at the criminal cases.

As you can see from the Table below, Justice Kilbride asks very few questions in criminal oral arguments.  When he’s in the majority of an affirmance, he averages 0.48 questions to appellants, 0.3 to appellees.  When he’s in the majority of a reversal, he averages 0.69 questions to appellees and 0.57 to appellants.  When he’s in the majority of a split decision, he averages 0.4 questions to appellees and 0.17 to appellants.

When Justice Kilbride dissents from a criminal affirmance, he averages 1.46 questions to appellees and 0.85 to appellants.  When he dissents from a reversal, he averages 0.71 to appellants and 0.14 to appellees.

Join us back here next week as we continue our review of the individual Justices’ records.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Michel Curi (no changes).

A few weeks ago, we established that court-wide, the party which is likely to lose tends to get the most questions in oral argument.  Now, we’re investigating individual Justices’ records – when the Justice agrees with the majority, does he or she follow the usual pattern, and when he or she doesn’t agree, does the Justice more heavily question that party that will lose, or the party he or she thinks should lose?  This time, we’re looking at Justice Kilbride’s history – first up, civil cases.

In civil affirmances where Justice Kilbride is with the majority, Justice Kilbride more heavily questions the losing appellant than the winning appellee – 1.11 to 0.76.  When Justice Kilbride joins the majority in a civil reversal, his numbers are close to even – 1.22 questions to appellees, 1.12 to appellants.  When Justice Kilbride joins the majority in a split decision – “affirmed in part, reversed in part” – he averages 1.18 questions to appellees and 0.98 to appellants.

So now we turn to dissents.  When Justice Kilbride dissents from a civil affirmance, he more heavily questions the appellant who is going to lose – 1.38 to 0.85 for appellees.  When he dissents from a civil reversal, the pattern reverses – 1.3 questions to appellants, 0.44 to appellees.  The other combinations of result and vote are small sample sizes – when Justice Kilbride wants a split decision but the majority affirms, he averages two questions to appellees and none to appellants.  When Justice Kilbride supports a split decision but the Court reverses completely, he averages 2.5 questions to appellants, none to appellees.  When the majority settles on a split decision but Justice Kilbride votes to affirm, he averages 1.5 questions to appellees and 1 to appellants.

Join us back here tomorrow as we review Justice Kilbride’s criminal cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Christian Wilcox (no changes).

Last time, we reviewed Justice Garman’s record in oral arguments in civil cases, both when she agreed with the majority and when she didn’t.  Today, we’re reviewing the criminal docket.

Once again we begin with cases in which the Court affirms.  When Justice Garman agrees, she more heavily questions the losing appellant, 2.44 to 0.79.  She has participated in no cases where the majority affirmed and Justice Garman wanted to return a split decision.  When the majority affirms but Justice Garman wants to reverse, she more heavily questions the appellees – 2.67 to 1.67 for appellants.

For criminal reversals when Justice Garman joins the majority, she more heavily questions the losing appellees – 2.06 to 1.4 for appellants.  When the Court reverses but Justice Garman wants to affirm, she more heavily questions the appellants, 3.1 to 0.1 for appellees.  When the majority wants a split decision but Justice Garman wants to affirm, she more heavily questions the appellees – 1.25 to 0.75 for appellants.  When Justice Garman agrees with the majority in a split decision, she most heavily questions the appellants: 1.95 for appellants to 1.48 for appellees.

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to Justice Kilbride.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Tripp (no changes).

For the last two weeks, we’ve been looking at the court-wide data for questions at oral argument.  We discussed the academic research into oral argument questions, which demonstrates that at the U.S. Supreme Court, the party which will lose the case generally gets the most questions.  We then looked at the data for the Illinois Supreme Court year by year since 2008.  Today, we’re digging deeper on that theme: do individual Justices follow the court-wide pattern of more heavily questioning the party which will lose the case?  What about when the Justice disagrees with the majority – does he or she more heavily question the party which is likely to lose the case, or the party he or she disagrees with?

First, we list every possible combination of results – the court’s result for the case and the Justice’s vote.  The Court can affirm, reverse or return a split decision: “affirmed in part, reversed (or vacated, or modified) in part.”  An individual Justice has the same three options.  Matching the court results to the Justice’s votes, we get nine possible combinations: A(ffirm)A, AR(everse), A/AR(split decision); RA, RR, R/AR, and AR/A, AR/AR and AR/R.  Since some of these combinations seldom occur in a given year, rather than reporting year by year, we’re combining all the data from 2008 to 2019.

We begin with Justice Garman’s results.  Justice Garman clearly questions losing appellants more heavily when she joins the majority in an affirmance – 1.93 questions to appellants, 1.19 questions to appellees.  When Justice Garman disagrees with an affirmance, she concentrates her questions on the appellees she believes should lose: 2.71 questions to appellees, 1 to appellants.  As for the third possibility – the Court affirms where Justice Garman prefers a split decision: it has never happened.

When Justice Garman joins the majority in a reversal, she more heavily questions the losing appellees: 2.37 questions to 1.4 for appellants.  When she dissents from a reversal, she more heavily questions the appellant she believes should lose – 3.25 for appellants, 1.13 for appellees.  When she votes for a split decision while the court is reversing, she averages 2.5 to appellants and 1 to appellees.  Finally, we turn to cases where the majority reaches a split decision.  When Justice Garman agrees with that result, she averages more questions to appellees: 1.97 to appellees, 1.52 to appellants.  When Justice Garman wants to affirm but the majority returns a split decision, she focuses on appellants – 3.0 to appellants, 0 to appellees.  When the majority wants a split decision but Justice Garman wants to reverse, she more heavily focuses on the appellees: 3 to appellees, 1 question average to appellants.

So over the past thirteen years, the data is fairly clear on the civil side: when Justice Garman agrees with the majority, she averages more questions to the party which will lose.  When she dissents, in whole or in part, she tends to focus on the party which she believes should lose.

Next time, we’ll address Justice Garman’s history in criminal cases.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Adam Moss (no changes).

Last week, we reviewed the academic literature studying oral argument analytics, and then compared the data for civil and criminal cases, both affirmances and reversals, to the outcome of those earlier studies.  This week, we’re digging deeper on that work.  For last week’s comparison, we aggregated outright reversals and split decisions: “affirmed in part, reversed in part.”  Now let’s disaggregate – compare outright reversals to split decisions.

Continue Reading Can You Predict a Split Decision in Civil Cases at the Illinois Supreme Court After Oral Argument?

Last time, we surveyed the academic research applying analytics techniques to appellate oral arguments and then reviewed the data for civil arguments at the Supreme Court since 2008.  In this post, we’re reviewing the data for the same period on the criminal side of the docket.

Continue Reading Can a Winner Be Predicted In Illinois Supreme Court Criminal Case Oral Arguments?

Today, we begin a new subject in our ongoing analytics study of the Court’s decision making – oral arguments.  Although the academic community has been producing analytics studies of appellate decision making for a century, the analytics study of oral arguments is a much more recent development.

Continue Reading Can a Winner Be Predicted In Illinois Supreme Court Civil Case Oral Arguments?

Yesterday, we began our review of the Supreme Court’s civil constitutional law cases from 1990 to 2019.  Between 2005 and 2019, the Supreme Court decided 64 civil constitutional law cases.  Thirty-three of the Court’s constitutional law cases involved challenges to state government actions, and these cases were evenly distributed across the fifteen years.  Thirteen cases involved court process and procedure.  Nine cases involved claims of individual rights and another nine involved challenges to local government actions.

Continue Reading What Kinds of Civil Constitutional Law Cases Does the Supreme Court Decide (Part 2 – 2005-2019)?

For the past two weeks, we’ve been digging deeper on the Supreme Court’s caseload, dividing the cases by area of law into sub-areas.  This week, we’re looking at the Court’s docket of civil constitutional law cases – what kinds of cases make it to the Supreme Court?  We’ll divide the cases into four categories: cases involving the actions of state government; cases involving the actions of local governments; cases involving court process and procedure; and individual rights.  Once again, the height of a bar on the chart signifies the total number of civil constitutional law cases for the year.  The height of each colored ban in the bar signifies the number of cases involving that issue.

Continue Reading What Kinds of Civil Constitutional Law Cases Does the Supreme Court Decide (Part 1 – 1990-2004)?