I have been drafting an article on appellant advocacy for the August edition of the Idaho State Bar’s The Advocate. As part of my research, I reviewed statistical data from the United States Courts of Appeal available at www.uscourts.gov. The website compiles statistics, by circuit, on appeals commenced, terminated, and pending in detailed tables identified as the B series of tables. The data includes information such as the sources of appeals filed, the median times from notice of appeal to decision , and how cases were terminated on the merits. The most recent statistical data is compiled from September 2013 to September 2014.

The data is worth reviewing if you have an appeal before any of the circuit courts. For instance, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the reversal rate for private civil cases is 16.6% and for criminal cases is 13.5% [see here]. I also found it interesting that oral argument is granted in only 21.2% of appeals; 78.8% are decided on the briefs [see here]. Those figures should differ considering the nature of the appeal—e.g., criminal appeals versus civil appeals or prisoner claims versus other civil appeals—but are interesting nonetheless.

The website was recently relaunched to improve functionality and to optimize use for mobile devices. It also includes enhanced search features for the data tables.