Yesterday, we compared the average level of questioning in civil cases since 2008 for winning and losing appellants, and winning and losing appellees, year by year, showing that in nearly every year, losing parties averaged more questions than winners. Then we calculated the odds of winning, based upon the comparison between how many questions you get, and how many your opponent got. Today, we turn our attention to the same measurements on the criminal side of the docket.

Comparing winning and losing parties on the criminal side, the result is the same – in the past eight years, only once have winning parties averaged more questions than losing parties. And winning appellees – frequently, but not always, the State – often average significantly fewer questions than appellees who are in trouble. In 2008, winning appellants averaged 16.47 questions in criminal cases to 23.08 for losing appellants. Winning appellees averaged 8.25, losing appellees 15.88. In 2009, winning appellants averaged 16.85 questions to 19.05 for losing appellants. Winning appellees averaged 11.75 questions to 16.19 for losing ones. In 2010, winning appellants averaged 14.41 questions; appellants who lost averaged 22.97. Winning appellees averaged 7.83 questions; appellees who lost got 17 questions. In 2011, winning appellants averaged 15.42 questions to 22.1 for losing appellants. Winning appellees got only 8.1 questions; losing ones got 17.63. In 2012, winning appellants averaged 11 questions. Losing appellants averaged 20.53. Winning appellees averaged 8.47 to 15.44 for appellees who lost. In 2013, for the first time, winning appellants were slightly busier than ones who lost – 12.24 to 11.71. Winning appellees that year averaged 7.24 questions to 13.86 for losing appellees. In 2014, winning appellants averaged 10.93 questions to 15.3 for losing appellants. Winning appellees averaged 10.55 questions to 12 for losing appellees. Last year, winning appellants averaged 10.05 questions to 12.6 for losing appellants. Winning appellees were at their lowest level of the period, averaging only 3.7 questions. Losing appellees averaged 8.18.

Click here to view table. 

So what’s the bottom line? Just how long are the odds against you if you get more questions than your opponent? Interestingly, the result is fairly similar to the civil side.

Appellants who get 10+ fewer questions than their opponents win 89.47% of the time between 2008 and 2015. Appellees who get 10+ fewer win 74.22% of their cases. Appellants who get 1-9 fewer questions win 71.88% of the time. Appellees who get 1-9 fewer questions win less than half their cases – 47.83%. Appellants have won two thirds of the cases where questions were exactly equal. When an appellant gets 1-9 questions more than the appellee, appellants win 52.17% of the time. But appellees win only 28.13% of the time under those circumstances. If you get 10+ more questions than your oppoonent, you’re facing long odds – 25.77% of appellants win under those circumstances to 10.53% of appellees.

Click here to view table. 

Join us back here next Tuesday as we turn our attention to a new area in our study of the Court’s oral arguments.