The Fate of Petitions for Review in Criminal Cases, 2014-15 and 2020-21

Recent data on petitions for review allow us to compare petitions submitted during the 2020-21 term with those featured in a post six years ago.[1]  The previous post, which covered petitions in 2014-15, addressed criminal cases, and we will maintain that focus today in surveying the outcomes of petitions from the State, the Public Defender, private lawyers, and defendants themselves.[Continue Reading…]

The 2021-22 Fantasy League Medalists

This season the Competition Committee sought to provide stiffer opposition for the Gavels, perennial champions from the State Public Defender’s Office, by disbanding one of the other teams and distributing its members among the other three contenders.  The results are now in, and they mark the end of the Gavels’ domination that extended back to the inaugural season in 2015-16.  Although the Gavels acquitted themselves well in 2021-22—surpassing their average point total for the previous six seasons—they could not threaten this year’s new powerhouse, the Waivers, whose total of 145 points exceeded by 50 the highest mark ever posted by the Gavels.

Last month’s awards banquet honored not only the Waivers but also several individual firms that appeared regularly in the season’s weekly highlights.  Brightest among these stars were a group of five that each scored at least 30 points, led by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty with 49 points and joined by Troutman Pepper (33), Stafford Rosenbaum (32), Boardman & Clark (31), and Pines Bach (30).

The following table provides totals for each team and every individual law firm.

Reversing the Court of Appeals, 2020-21 and 2021-22

A reader, who prefers anonymity, inquired recently about reversal rates for court of appeals judges.  His interest extended beyond summary figures from the four court of appeals districts, he explained, for he was curious to learn how frequently the supreme court affirmed or reversed individual judges.  While the court’s website does provide some information for the districts, I am not aware of reports on how the supreme court appraised the votes of each judge separately.  So, let’s find out.[Continue Reading…]

Wisconsin Supreme Court Statistics, 2021-22

These tables are derived from information contained in 52 Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions filed between September 1, 2021, and the end of the court’s term in the summer of 2022.  The total of 52 decisions omits orders pertaining to various motions, petitions, and disciplinary matters involving lawyers and judges. 

Also excluded are (1) Timothy Rave v. SVA Healthcare Services, LLC (dismissed as moot); (2) State v. Nhia Lee and James Cobb v. Gary A. King (dismissed as improvidently granted); and (3) State v. Manuel Garcia and Jama I. Jama v. Jason C. Gonzalez (which resulted in 3-3 per curiam decisions).

When two cases were consolidated and decided with a single decision, they are counted as only one.

The tables are available as a complete set and by individual topic according to the subsets listed below.

Four-to-Three Decisions
Decisions Arranged by Vote Split
Frequency of Justices in the Majority
Distribution of Opinion Authorship
Frequency of Agreement Between Pairs of Justices
Average Time Between Oral Argument and Opinions Authored by Each Justice
Number of Oral Arguments Presented by Individual Firms and Agencies


The 2021-22 Term: Some More Impressions

Today we’ll continue our assessment of the 2021-22 term with summaries of the outcomes in four areas of interest: (1) the length of decisions; (2) the number of concurrences and dissents; (3) the number of days between oral argument and decision filing; and (4) the frequency of fractured decisions.[Continue Reading…]

Are the Justices “liberals” and “conservatives”?

Yesterday’s post prompted an eminent Wisconsin attorney to contact me with an objection to the use of the terms “liberal” and “conservative” to characterize justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Here are the portions of his argument that I can quote while shielding his identity:[Continue Reading…]

The Supreme Court’s 2021-22 Term: Some Initial Impressions

With the final substantive decision of the term now published, we can begin our annual statistical assessment of the justices’ labors.  Today we’ll focus on the number of decisions, the issue of polarization, and Justice Hagedorn’s sway—and then take up a variety of other topics in the next week or two.[Continue Reading…]

Law Firm Fantasy League

The past few days delivered more points to the league than any previous week of season.  Leading the way were the Writs with 27 points, followed by the Waivers (20 points), the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office (15 points), and the Affirmed (9 points).  A number of individual firms scored multiple times, as detailed below.[Continue Reading…]

The End is Near?

Although the court’s term is said to end on June 30, decisions commonly trickle (and sometimes pour) out well into July.  Two readers, wondering if their cases still have a chance to be decided this term, have asked how frequently the court has filed decisions long past June 30.  As the question may also have occurred to others, let’s take a look at the court’s track record in this regard over the last two decades.  We’ll focus on (1) the number of decisions filed after June 30 each term, (2) the percentage that this number represented of all the decisions that term, and (3) the filing date of the term’s concluding decision.[Continue Reading…]

Law Firm Fantasy League

This week’s flurry of decisions nourished all four teams, led by the Waivers with 18 points from Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren (for a brief and favorable outcome in Friends of the Black River Forest v. DNR and a brief, oral argument, and favorable outcome in Wisconsin Property Tax Consultants, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue) and one point from Hawks Quindel (for an amicus brief in Joshua L. Kaul v. Frederick Prehn). 

Next came the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office with 10 points (for briefs and oral arguments in State v. X.S. and State v. Richard Michael Arrington), followed by the Writs with seven points (for a brief and oral argument from Pines Bach in Friends of the Black River Forest, an amicus brief from Pines Bach in Kaul, and an amicus brief from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty in Wisconsin Property Tax Consultants).  Even the Affirmed appeared on the score card with a point from Stafford Rosenbaum for an amicus brief in Kaul.

Click here for the updated standings.