A Statistical Analysis of the Workload of the California Supreme Court

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1 California Law Review Volume 65 Issue 2 Article 14 March 1977 A Statistical Analysis of the Workload of the California Supreme Court Holly J. Fujie Charles R. Myers Follow this and additional works at: Recommended Citation Holly J. Fujie and Charles R. Myers, A Statistical Analysis of the Workload of the California Supreme Court, 65 Calif. L. Rev. 531 (1977). Link to publisher version (DOI) This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the California Law Review at Berkeley Law Scholarship Repository. It has been accepted for inclusion in California Law Review by an authorized administrator of Berkeley Law Scholarship Repository. For more information, please contact

2 1977] CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT XII A STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF THE WORKLOAD OF THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT This year's supreme court issue continues the practice begun last year of publishing a numerical summary of the workload of the California judicial system, with particular emphasis on the supreme court, in order to highlight certain important statistical trends in the administration of law in California. This year's analysis updates the tables and figures presented last year, and is based upon data derived from the Annual Reports of the Administrative Office of the California Courts.' The analysis is, as before, divided into two parts: the first deals with the types of cases that make up the workload of the California Supreme Court; the second compares the workloads of the courts of appeal and superior courts with that of the supreme court. a. Business Transacted I. The California Supreme Court The total business transacted by the supreme court increased substantially for the third consecutive year. (See Table I and Figure I.) b. Summary of Filings In , the supreme court recorded 3,74 filings, an increase of 36 or.9 percent over the previous year. Petitions for hearing of cases previously decided by the courts of appeal amounted to 78 percent of all filings in the supreme court. Both civil and criminal appeals continued to increase, while civil original proceedings previously decided by the courts of appeal continued the decrease which began in Civil and criminal proceedings in the supreme court 1. JUDICA.L COUNCIL OF CAUFORNIA, ANNUAL REPORT OF THE ADMNISTRAT ve OFFICE OF THE CALIFORNIA COURTS ( ). We wish to acknowledge the assistance of Edward P. Hill, staff attorney, and the Statistical Unit of the Administrative Office of the California Courts.

3 % 532 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 65:257 ' r- % %n ' % %' % m N - v) im - NvN cn C i a, A t- r- % t- -h n 't t ' - Wo ". Wo N N %OCA C4 eq COO.. CD ' ' CO %D.w ~- %nc - CO C o.' Ncq oo n M % % C. N N \ - C annc tn - - \CC i - % oo \,? ' \O.i' C CO 1- e H ~ \- C CO COO C 'D' I' (S 4 C \4 CO - N9 N t- CC"v 4 OCO -~ - ' C t- F4 %D- ~ i-i - C- O %D- en ec. r 4 in %. inc- Ni M% 4 p C\ ) -~ > \- ' CD ' CO. CO V % ON -, r4) l t,..6h '' E ' O CC -N =-N; C.- a S "S ca' - *C C ' ' NO- cs =4g 6 ) V ~ aco ~ O- NC. N 4 W "~~~ J -O- oq c*. U)- * o *~~~ ~ 7E'~C ' E-4 2 C, U)C.C W * C~ Cd%4

4 19771 CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT Figure I California Supreme Court Business Transacted Fiscal Years Through Fiscal Year decreased this term, the latter by the substantial figure of 32 percent. (See Table II and Figure II.)

5 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 65:257 % * 4 % c ('no -C t- C4= r. c-nn C I %n %(4 P 4. eooon %~ t- 4/ Co a% oow n 1 c cli %n t c' N %:;%n~ en N o EE 't % t- 4 C3 t-4) 14. Cl C\. Cl Cn % I V -%n oocq E) w; P%2) 4o z u -i al4 C4 *Co '''~~-= 1%uo o 4)t%nCW. Or % tn a eon' n% - -o r'.-. w mcnot-oo con =C. C4%C-4 %a C'4 )we r. u In Sn'%-O 39%4 Ei. d~~n.r OO* Cu cz. i -- ' U Cu o ;z- an~cno rn% 4 * t 4-. Q r-tn--tn 'T n n r- ' in 4cn t- % w) a. 4 U) 'am. Uo c,~ : to, to -t c ~., ta o ca r5.= of.)*4

6 1977] CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT Figure II California Supreme Court Summary of Filings Fiscal Years through Ofigir6a Prooeedings Petitions for Hearing of Cases Previously Decided by the Courts of Appeal Direct Appeals 19&5.66 l.bbbt. --.t5 UW l, U-71 cawy Fiscal Year c. Petitions for Hearing The 12.8 percent increase in the number of petitions for hearing filed in was accompanied by a similar rise in the percentage of petitions granted to 7.9 percent-it's highest level since (See Table III and Figures III and IV.)

7 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 65:257 %N 1 N C% * % t-- MVI lt %r oo c.)cl, -%ON C 4.4 %n( d n N.- o en - r,~ ;NOel % N ; N % vi N un % r ' %% vi % 4 t- ' n ' ON - ~ co 'n W G %.% Go o %- \ en e %O- \ 44 in ' \ fnr; a4 o,ai-% N-,w. V% CwN \DNU,It s c. en) 'a o, t- ) t *. eq' 'e..i- "--in~ %n c4-s CO% > -. * d =o'.4 ) 2U -; t w Ca S... r~ -'5.. * ci. 4cj

8 1977] CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT owl o % 'o '. '-I pap!a guonne.d jo aaqtanx

9 538 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 65:257 o 4ID 4 -. P. U. o-4 Cort ooapa >4 c\ 4 r in-th surm or rm17-7 o17-6 repn tosmia CD to PCD 3 M~l~j 11. The Supreme Court Workload in Comparison with the Workloads of the Superior Courts and Courts of Appeal The increase in civil filings and the decrease in criminal filings in the supreme court from to cprrespond to similar changes in the courts of appeal and the superior courts. Decreases in criminal filings were slight at all levels. The increase in civil filings was more pronounced at the lower levels; overall, civil filings continue to increase steadily. (See Table IV and Figure V.)

10 1977] CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT '\ 'l, -t- e4 Vcq 4- a, o \ oo'o t- L \ 1-% utn Z9 P-1O' &) ~ 94.4 % ND m~- %% en en '4 -% %CM %t m.oo 4 %D-. c.q en o m w Cn % %n'%d bo Go-, -tn cq a, cq -1 '442 in en en - en- C % % : I.- 4. In C> 1 % >. f4 m qo %li'*. ' C4 m ot-. ~ t oo %-o. '4 4A% > en. Go S n W4 t4 -o A w -. e~ '-4 en 9:w 3)d C C.Z ~ s Q W

11 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 65:257 Figure V Filings in the Superior Courts, Courts of Appeal, and Supreme Court Fiscal Years through , Superior Court, Civil 1, UC z Court of Appeal, of Appeal, Criminal -Supreme Court, Criminal Fiscal Year

12 1977] CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT Table V expresses the civil and criminal appeals workload at the supreme court as a percentage of the civil and criminal appeals workload at the courts of appeal, and the workload of the courts of appeals is similarly presented as a percentage of contested dispositions in the superior courts. This presentation cannot trace any particular case through all three levels; it does, however, provide some indication of the relative propensity to appeal a matter to a higher court. Although roughly the same percentages of civil and criminal cases were appealed from the courts of appeal to the supreme court, a criminal case was almost five times more likely to be appealed from the superior court to the court of appeals as a civil case in This accounts for the dramatic difference between the supreme court and the superior courts in their respective ratios of civil to criminal matters. (See Figure VI.) Overall, the percentage of both civil and criminal cases pursued to a higher court rose from its previous high in indicating, perhaps, that litigiousness is not on the decline. Holly J. Fujie Charles R. Myers

13 542 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 65:257 % co % en co % m t- r- W t- cq w 6 r- t- cnf cx m % - en- ci r- % r- N I % % t4 q C - ('i cd -cli 'R in~ en ~ ~ _D n Nl - a t % _ en~ %% c'! C, %.i a,. en *q N -4 r4 - t- CD 5 ) e-] O'-t C(' -1 CD1 :D 4 m in -d a% % o C', w'. to! o~ C4 'su eq -; C', e4 i ci. C., '~o n. ca Ed <n t n C4 NOnci=r (D cc D W; ";,. -I' *I 'Ien C4 q t ' - cu- > '. i* g-. rn~~~' ' C) c ci 4 ccc cc 5- "2 c.i -. i1v-.- * cd, =ci! w.". ai ju :.o c = 1,= 1s U i cd...., lao.o -a jo ~ ' 2.Z --o2 oc E w cn t

14 1977] CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT Figure VI Percentage Breakdown Between Civil and Criminal Filings in the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, and Superior Courts Fiscal Year CIVIL CRINAL -ziii///a 47% 53% I Supreme Court 58% ' l Courts of Appeal 42% 9% ZSuperior Courts 1%

15 California Law Review VOL. 65 MAY 1977 No. 3 BOARD OF EDITORS Editor-in-Chief MARVIN B. PEARLSTEIN Managing Editors PETER L. SHAW LINDA J. L6PEZ Research Editors BRENT R. APPEL ROBERT EDWARD WHITE Articles JAMES P. LANDIS GARY L. BOSTWICK JON CRAIG H. STEVEN DURRETr CAROL KINSOCK FRANCONE BARRY MURPHY DAVID UTEVSKY JOHN J. WASILCZYK EDWARD J. WES JOHN R. BOBAY BRUCE E. COOLIDGE DAVID S. DURHAM DAVID B. FISHMAN ESTA BRAND STEPHEN M. BUNDY DAVID J. BYERS LINDA LITTLE CARLONI MICHAEL ALAN COLTON JANET M. COOPER JAMES A. DORSKIND ELIZABETH A. ERICKSON HAROLD J. EVANS BARBARA J. FORT HOLLY J. FUJIE PETER H. GOLDSMITH Executive Editor STEPHEN A. ZOVICKIAN Supreme Court Editor Zofi E. BAIRD Membership FRED SCHWARZER THOMAS BARLETrA DAN CAPRA CATHERINE J. DEBONO FRANCES JAN MALINOWSKI CHARLES E. MERRILL E. GABRIEL SMITH CATHY SURACE Associate Editors FRANK FRANCONE DANIEL HALL ANNA H. JEANS LAWRENCE N. MINCH GLENN M. GOTTLIEB DOUGLAS L. HENDRICKS BARRY P. JABLON ALAN B. KALIN JAMES E. KAPLAN DAVID A. KIKEL STEPHEN M. KRISTOVICH RONALD W. LEE WILLIAM F. MACK ROBERT A. MARK RICHARD E. MEADE CHARLES R. MYERS VIVIAN D. O'NEAL Administrative Assistant PATRICIA G. SMITH Note & Comment MICHALE DISARIO STRATTON JONATHAN R. BASS TINA COOPER RICHARD FANNAN RICHARD N. FRAsCH FRANKLIN A. GEVURTZ RUTH N. HOLZMAN M. ANNE JENNINGS HENRY LERNER HENRY LUKAS RILEY T. MARTIN III PATRICK WM. PATERSON JESSICA S. PERS PAUL G. ROSENGREN ROBERT B. SIDELL JAMES A. TOUPIN NORMAN P. VANCE ARNE WAGNER JOAN I. SAMUELSON CHARLES SCOTT SYLVIA YAU ROBERT J. ZEPFEL NANCY WALLACE PAGE SUSAN M. PE&A MARK A. POSNER MARK RINDNER RICHARD ROISMAN DEAN A. SCHLOBOHM JOSEPH E. SIEGELMAN DUANE A. SILER ALAN WALTNER CRAIG WEINSTEIN JAMES P. WIEZEL ANDREA PETERSON WOOLLEY

16 California Law Review VOL. 65 MAY 1977 No by California Law Review, Inc. ARTICLES THE PROBLEM OF "ISSUE" IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE Steven J. Simmons 546 THE EXECUTIVE INVESTIGATES ITSELF Frank M. Tuerkheimer 597 Faretta AND THE PERSONAL DEFENSE: THE ROLE OF A REPRESENTED DEFENDANT IN TRIAL TACTICS Richard H. Chused 636 COMMENTS EMERGENCY MAYORAL POWER: AN EXERCISE IN CHARTER INTERPRETATION SUBSTANTIVE CONSOLIDATIONS IN BANKRUPTCY: A FLOW-OF-ASSETS APPROACH Brent Appel 686 Edward J. Wes, Jr. 72 BOOK REVIEW THE GOOD GUYS, THE BAD GUYS AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT: FREE SPEECH VS. FAIRNESS IN BROADCASTING Don R. Pember 744