How many opinions did the California Supreme Court release in the last year? How many death penalty appeals did the Court consider?
We have all the answers, thanks to the Court's Annual Report on Workload Statistics.
The total number of petitions and filings decreased from 10,144 in 2010-2011 to 8,977 over the last year, but the number of opinions issued by the court increased. In 2010-2011, the court issued 86 opinions. In the last court year, that number was 97.
Of those 97 cases, 27 involved civil cases, 43 involved noncapital criminal cases, and 27 resolved automatic appeals arising from judgments of death. The number of opinions filed in death penalty appeals was one more than had been filed in the previous court year; the number of opinions in civil cases decreased by 8; and the number of noncapital criminal cases increased by 20.
In addition to the opinions filed during the 2011-2012 court year, the court acted by order upon 16 petitions for writ of habeas corpus relating to death penalty judgments, 6 fewer than last year. The court issued an order to show cause in 3 of these matters for claims arising under Atkins v. Virginia, in which the U.S. Supreme Court clarified that the federal Constitution bars the execution of mentally retarded individuals. The court dismissed another 5 habeas corpus petitions as moot.
The Court notes that this was the first full court year Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. Associate Justice Goodwin Liu joined the court on August 31, 2011, sitting for his first oral argument calendar six days later. Justice Liu filled a vacancy that had been created by the retirement of Justice Carlos Moreno at the end of February 2011.
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