United States: How Were The Court's Civil Cases Distributed At The Court Of Appeals (Part 1)?

Last Updated: October 13 2017
Article by Kirk Jenkins

Last week, we reviewed the government's record in civil and criminal appeals. This week, we begin our review of which Districts of the Court of Appeal have produced the most civil cases each year.

Just as we did earlier this week in our study of the Illinois Supreme Court's caseload, we use population distribution as a rough cut estimator for how we expect the caseload to geographically distributed. The twelve counties of the First District comprised 16.12% of California's population as of the 1990 census. However, between 1994 and 1999, the First District accounted for 75 civil cases, or 25.42% of the Court's civil docket. Division One produced two cases per year in 1994, 1996 and 1997, one each in 1998 and 1999, and a high of four in 1995. Division Two produced five cases in 1994, four in 1997, three each in 1998 and 1999, two in 1995 and one in 1996. Division Three produced five cases in 1995, four in 1998, two in 1994 and 1999, and one per year in 1996 and 1997. Division Four produced five cases per year in 1996 and 1998, three each in 1994 and 1995, two in 1997 and none at all in 1999. Division Five produced three cases per year in 1994, 1995 and 1997, two in 1999, one in 1996 and none in 1998.

Where the First District was arguably a bit overrepresented on the Court's civil docket between 1994 and 1999, the Second District's share of the civil caseload closely matched its population. The four counties of the Second District, based on the 1990 census, contained exactly 34% of California's population. For the years 1994 through 1999, the Second District produced 110 of the Court's civil cases – 37.29% of the docket. Division Five led the Second District, producing 21 civil cases during these years; Division Seven was second at 19, with the others tightly bunched behind. Division One of the Second District produced four cases in 1998 and 1999, three in 1995 and 1997, two in 1994 and none in 1996. Division Two produced five cases in 1997, three in 1998, two in 1996 and one per year in 1994, 1995 and 1999. Division Three produced a high of six cases in 1997, three in 1999, two in 1995 and one per year in 1994, 1996 and 1998. Division Four produced four cases in 1995 and 1999, three in 1998 and one case per year in 1994, 1996 and 1997. Division Five produced five cases per year in 1996 and 1999, four in 1994, three in 1995 and 1998 and one in 1997. Division Six accounted for three cases per year in 1994, 1995 and 1997, two in 1999 and one case per year in 1996 and 1998. Division Seven produced five cases in 1994 and again in 1998, four in 1995, three in 1999, two in 1997 and none in 1996.

We report the data from the rest of the state in Table 326. The Court decided six civil cases from the Third District in 1999, five in 1995, 1996 and 1998, three in 1997 and two in 1994. The Court decided 45 cases in all from the Fourth District, which consists of San Diego and Imperial counties. The Court decided four cases from Division One of the Fourth in 1998, three in 1997 and 1999, and two per year from 1994 through 1996. The Court decided five cases from Division Two in 1998, three in 1994 and 1997, two in 1999, one in 1995 and none in 1996. The Court decided six cases from Division Three in 1994, two each in 1995, 1996, 1998 and 1999, and one in 1997.

The Court decided six cases from the Fifth District in 1997, two in 1994 and one each in 1995, 1996, 1998 and 1999. The Court decided four cases from the Sixth District in 1995, four in 1999, three in 1994, two in 1998, one in 1997 and none in 1996. The Court decided one direct appeal in 1994 and five in 1995. The Court decided one civil case within its original jurisdiction in 1995, two in 1998 and four in 1999. The Court decided no certified question cases at all during these years.

Join us back here tomorrow as we turn our attention to the data for the years 2000 through 2005.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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