Yesterday, I complained to Miranda that it seems like every time the Appellate Court reverses a conviction, the Supreme Court reverses the Appellate Court. Since today is Saturday and I have nothing better to do, I decided to spend some time and determine whether that was indeed correct. I looked only at the judgments of the Supreme Court in criminal and habeas cases starting with those published in January of 2007 and ending Friday.
This is what I found:
The Supreme Court granted certification to appeal from the judgment of the Appellate Court 27 times. Of those 27 cases, it affirmed the Appellate Court 19 times and reversed 8 times.
Of the 8 reversals, all 8 were against the defendant (meaning, convictions were re-instated).
Of the 19 affirmances, 6 were in favor of the defendant (meaning they upheld 6 reversal of convictions) and 13 were against the defendant (meaning they upheld 13 affirmances of the conviction). [Out of those 19, 3 were companion cases.]
The State was granted certification to appeal 14 times.
There were 22 direct appeals to the Supreme Court (either pursuant to statute, or by transfer).
Of those 22 direct appeals, the conviction was affirmed 18 times and reversed only 4 times.
Overall, after 49 appeals to the Supreme Court in criminal or habeas cases, the conviction was affirmed 39 times and 10 were reversed.
I did not analyze the types of cases or the voting split or who wrote the most decisions. What might be really interesting, however, is the percentage of times the state is granted certification as opposed to the defendant. I suspect one number is rather high and the other quite low. I’m not going to do that, however, because that’s just too tedious.
I set out to prove myself correct and I did so.