Trends in Reversal Rates: Examining State Courts of Last Resort

Carrie A. Schneider, University at Albany
Sara Ward Bryans, University at Albany

There seems to be a dramatic change in the rates of reversal in criminal court cases. For example, the reversal rate in Manhattan and The Bronx is down to approximately 1% of all cases. Several states have had a complete breakdown of their appellate systems, as is evident by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals which did not have a single reversal in an adult criminal case in 1997. The purpose of this paper is to examine the trend in reversal rates in the state courts of last resort. This paper compares the rates of reversal in criminal court cases with those of civil court cases in order to ascertain if this phenomenon is limited only to criminal cases.

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Updated 05/20/2006