Last week, we finished reviewing the voting patterns of the California Supreme Court in automatic death penalty appeals – how often was the Court’s decision unanimous, and how often did the Court have zero and one dissenter? This week, we turn to the District-by-District reversal rates of the Courts of Appeal

Because the districts of the Court of Appeal typically hear only a few cases every year, we report floating three-year average reversal rates rather than year-by-year data. In Table 96, we report the data for the First and Second Districts. Division One of the First District has had a high reversal rate throughout these years. Only twenty percent of Division One’s cases were affirmed in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The three-year rate in 2003 was only 40%. The following year, the rate was one in three. In 2005, 42.86% of the Court’s decisions were affirmed. By 2006, only one quarter were. Most of Division Two’s cases, on the other hand, were affirmed – 55.56% in 2002, 60% in 2003, half in 2004, two-thirds in 2005, 80% in 2006 and 100% in 2007. Division Three of the First District remained below 50% affirmance for most of this period, while Division Four was between three fifths and one hundred percent. Division Five of the First District varied widely – one-third affirmance in 2002, sixty percent the next year, 71.43% in 2004, 55.56% in 2005, 36.36% the next year and 30% in 2007.

Division One of the Second District had most of its cases affirmed throughout this period – two-thirds in 2002 and 2004, 57.14% in 2005 and 2006, and four fifths in 2007. Although only a third of the decisions from Division Two of the Second District were affirmed in 2002 and 2003, the rate reached 71.43% by 2007. Division Three of the Second District was frequently reversed – 58.33% affirmance (about average) in 2003 and 2004, 46.15% in 2005, 36.36% in 2006 and half in 2007. Affirmance rates were consistently above one half for Divisions Four and Five. Division Six’s performance improved towards the end of the period – one-third in 2002 and 2004, half in 2005, three-quarters in 2006 and 60% in 2007.

Division Seven of the Second District has performed as well as any Court in the First and Second Districts during these years. As of 2002, 85.71% of Division Seven’s cases had been affirmed. In 2003 and 2005, 87.5% were affirmed. As of 2006, 77.78% of the Court’s decisions were affirmed. Only one-third of Division Eight’s cases were affirmed as of 2006 and 2007.

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We report the affirmance and reversal rates for the remaining Courts of Appeal in Table 97 below.

The affirmance rate for Division Three has remained high throughout these years – 90% in 2002, 90.91% in 2003, 78.57% in 2004, 73.68% in 2005, 73.91% in 2006 and 65.38% in 2007. Division Three of the Fourth District has performed the best. Division One of the Fourth District has not risen above one-half affirmance during these years. Division Two has only slightly exceeded that figure – 53.85% in 2007. Division Three reached 57.14% in 2003 and 62.5% in 2005.

The Fifth District has remained above fifty percent affirmance throughout these years too. Division Five has seen 62.5% affirmance. In 2003 and 2005, 55.56% of the Court’s decisions have been affirmed. Two-thirds of the Court’s decisions were affirmed in 2006 and 2007. The Sixth District has performed well too – fifty percent affirmance in 2002, one hundred percent 2003-2006, and 83.33% in 2007.

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Join us back here tomorrow as we turn to the Court’s criminal cases between 20002 and 2007.