This week, we’re turning our attention to a new subject, tracking which Justices most often dissented, year by year, and which Justices tended to write the longest and shortest dissents. Yesterday, we reviewed the Justices’ dissents in civil cases between 2000 and 2007. Today, we review the Justices’ criminal dissents for the same years.
In Table 128, we report the year-by-year distribution of dissents in criminal cases among the Justices. In 2000, Justice Mosk led the Court with six dissents in criminal cases. Justice Kennard was next with five dissents. Justice Werdegar dissented three times, Chief Justice George and Justices Brown and Baxter twice apiece, and Justice Chin once. In 2001, Justice Kennard led the Court (beginning a string of five straight years) with five dissents in criminal cases. Justice Mosk dissented three times, Justice Brown twice, and Chief Justice George and Justice Chin once apiece. The next year, Justice Kennard led the Court by a wider margin, dissenting eleven times in criminal cases. Justice Moreno dissented five times, Chief Justice George and Justice Brown three times, Justice Chin twice and Justice Baxter once. In 2003, Justice Kennard led with ten criminal dissents. Justice Brown had four, Justice Moreno had three, Justices Werdegar and Baxter twice and Justice Chin once. In 2004, Justice Kennard dissented ten times in criminal cases. Justice Brown dissented six times, Justice Chin twice and Justices Werdegar and Moreno once each. In 2005, Justice Kennard dissented seven times in criminal cases. Justice Baxter dissented three times, and Justices Brown, Werdegar, Chin and Moreno twice apiece.
In 2006, Justices Werdegar and Baxter were tied for the court-wide lead in dissents in criminal cases with six each. Justice Kennard dissented four times, Justice Moreno three and Justices Corrigan and Chin twice apiece. Dissents were quite rare in criminal cases in 2007: Justice Kennard dissented five times and Justices Werdegar and Moreno twice apiece.
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We report the average length of the Justices’ dissents in criminal cases in Table 129. Although Justice Kennard generally was the most frequent dissenter, many other Justices generally wrote longer dissents. In 2000, Chief Justice George’s criminal dissents averaged 16 pages. Justice Chin averaged 13 pages, Justice Kennard 8.2, Justice Baxter 8 pages, Justice Brown 7 and Justice Mosk 6.17 pages. For 2001, Justice Brown averaged the longest dissents, averaging 13.5 pages. Justice Chin’s average dissent was eight pages. Chief Justice George averaged six pages, Justice Kennard five and Justice Mosk three. For 2002, Justice Chin led the Court, averaging 11.5 pages in criminal dissents. Justice Brown averaged 11.33 pages, Justice Baxter 11 pages, Justice Moreno 9.6 pages, Justice Kennard 8.27 pages and Chief Justice George 7 pages. For 2003, Justice Chin led with an average dissent in criminal cases of 19 pages. Justice Baxter averaged 14 pages, Justice Moreno 10.33 pages, Justice Kennard 9 pages, Justice Werdegar 7.5 pages and Justice Brown 6.5 pages. In 2004, a 72-page dissent in one case drove Justice Chin’s average dissent to 43.5 pages. Justice Moreno averaged 19 pages, Justice Kennard averaged 7.6 pages, Justice Corrigan averaged 6.67 pages and Justice Werdegar averaged two pages.
For 2005, Justice Moreno led the Court, averaging 15 pages per criminal dissent. Justice Chin was next at 12.5 pages. Justice Baxter was next with 11.33 pages. Justice Werdegar averaged ten pages, Justice Kennard 9.29 pages and Justice Brown averaged three pages. For 2006t, Justice Chin led, averaging 21 pages. Justice Baxter was second at 11.17 pages. Justices Kennard (9 pages), Moreno (7 pages) and Corrigan (5 pages) all tended to write very short criminal dissents. For 2007, Justice Kennard led the Court with an average criminal dissent of 7.2 pages. Justice Moreno was next at 6.5 pages, and Justice Werdegar averaged 4.5 pages.
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Join us back here next Thursday morning as we turn our attention to the Justices’ dissents in civil and criminal cases between 2008 and 2015.