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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ind. Courts - How have the judges fared?

Last week the ILB looked at the appellate advocacy of the three semi-finalists for the vacancy on our Supreme Court who have argued one or more cases before the Court. Today IU Law-Indy Prof. Joel Schumm has prepared this introduction for some upcoming entries on the four trial judge semi-finalists.

The four trial judge semi-finalists have served an average of seventeen years during which many of their cases have been appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals and occasionally to the Indiana Supreme Court. The appellate response to their rulings provides interesting and useful information about adherence to precedent and the extent to which a semi-finalist’s views may differ from the present appellate judiciary. Each of the four upcoming entries will include a reversal percentage and summaries of those cases in which the judge was reversed.

As a general point of reference, over the past five years approximately 22% of cases have been reversed or remanded on appeal. Indigent criminal defendants have an automatic right to appeal at no cost, and the reversal rate is typically around 15%. Civil litigants, who must generally pay the expense of an appeal, pursue appeals less frequently and are more successful with a 37% reversal rate.*

Methodology: I searched the Indiana Cases database of Westlaw for any case associated with the name of the judge. To account for variations in middle initials and shortened names, the following search terms were used: “Steve! /2 David,” “Cynthia /2 Emkes,” “Robyn /2 Moberly,” and Steve! /2 Nation.” Cases in which the judge’s name appears but he or she did not preside were eliminated from the analysis. A case was considered only once; therefore, if transfer was granted, only the Supreme Court opinion was considered.

Entries today and tomorrow will addresses the appellate review of cases from Judge David and Judge Emkes. Entries early next week will discuss Judge Moberly and Judge Nation.
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*For more on the overall Court of Appeals reversal numbers, check the annual reports of the Court of Appeals, available here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 22, 2010 09:37 AM
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Ct