Daily Archives: April 19, 2010

It’s criminal!: an analysis of CT Supreme Ct opinions

Two long years ago, on a bored Saturday afternoon, spurred by my (now AWOL) muse Miranda, I wrote this post which superficially analyzed Connecticut Supreme Court decisions. The analysis was pretty limited: how many times did the State win and how many times did the defendant win.

Well. I’ve done it again. Here is my updated count, from February 2008 to today.

In that time period, the Supreme Court decided approximately 110 cases dealing with criminal law (I’ve left out the habeas corpus cases because…well, this was fucking depressing enough. If I include habeas cases, the numbers are sure to get worse for defendants).

Of those 110 cases, an astounding 64 were direct appeals to the Supreme Court. This is either a direct appeal by statute (few) or a transfer to the Supreme Court before the Appellate Court got to decide it (many, many more than in years past).

Of those 64 direct appeals, 52 were affirmances of convictions.

Of the 46 cases that went through the Appellate Court, the State was granted cert in 28 cases, the defendant in 18 (the numbers may be off by one or two, because there were a couple of “cross-appeals”. I don’t remember how I counted them).

Of all the cases that came from the Appellate Court, the breakdown is as follows:

  • When the State appealed a reversal of a conviction, the Appellate Court was affirmed 8 times.
  • When the defendant appealed an affirmance of a conviction, the Appellate Court was affirmed 14 times.
  • When the defendant appealed an affirmance of a conviction, the Appellate Court was reversed only twice (!).

and the big kahuna:

  • When the State appealed a reversal of a conviction, the Appellate Court was reversed 21 times.

So, in 29 cases where the State appealed from the Appellate Court’s reversal of a conviction, they won 21 times, which is 75%.

The Appellate Court was reversed by the Supreme Court in 23 cases out of 46, which is a 50% failure rate.

Of the reversals, the defendant “lost” 91.3% of the time.

A conviction upheld by the Appellate Court was upheld by the Supreme Court 87.5% of the time.

A defendant was successful in the Supreme Court in only 10 out of 46 cases, which is a paltry 21% success rate.

[Keep in mind that I have included partial wins as wins.]

Overall, out of the 110 criminal-ish cases considered by the Supreme Court, the defendant was ultimately successful in getting either an acquittal or new trial in 22 cases, which is a 20% rate of success. By contrast, the State “won” in 80% of all cases considered by the Supreme Court.

Also keep in mind that over the course of the last two plus years, the Supreme Court has issued some very, very bad decisions and one or two good decisions, which they promptly started to roll back.

Liberal, defendant-loving judges indeed. Welcome to Connecticut, the Texas of the Northeast.

http://apublicdefender.com/2008/02/02/superficial-analysis-of-ct-supreme-court-decisions/