We report after each month on interesting statistics from the data we generate from the daily opinion summaries from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and at the end of each court year (Oct.-Sept.) we will aggregate that–all of which provides useful insights into the inner workings of the Court, the relative success of various appeals, and more.
The July 2022 statistics are based on 245 total opinions released by the Court.
Where the appeals are coming from
- The Northern District of Mississippi and Southern District of Mississippi had perfect affirmance rates in July 2022, with 1 affirmance of a Northern District of Mississippi opinion and 5 affirmances of opinions out of the Southern District of Mississippi.
- The most appellate decisions came from petitions for review of decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals, the first time since we’ve been tabulating results that the BIA was a source of more appellate decisions than any of the district courts. 53 petitions for review were dismissed or denied, and 4 were granted at least in part.
- The Western District of Texas generated the most appellate decisions from a district court, with 54 decisions from the 5th Circuit on cases originating there. 45 were full affirmances or appeal dismissals; 2 were partial affirmances/partial reversals or vacaturs; 3 were full reversals; and 4 were full vacaturs.
- From decisions out of the Southern District of Texas, there were 29 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 3 partial affirmances/partial reversals/vacaturs; 4 full reversals; 6 full vacaturs; and 1 denial of a motion.
- From the Northern District of Texas, there were 39 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 3 full reversals; and 3 full vacaturs.
- From the Eastern District of Texas, there were 6 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 1 partial affirmance/partial reversal/vacatur; 1 full reversal; and 1 full vacatur.
- From the Eastern District of Louisiana, there were 7 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; and 1 full reversal.
- From the Middle District of Louisiana, there was 1 full affirmance/appeal dismissal; and 1 full vacatur.
- From the Western District of Louisiana, there were 14 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 1 partial affirmance/partial reversal/vacatur; and 3 full reversals.
- In petitions for other agency review, there was 1 denial of a petition for review; and 2 grants of petitions for review.
What the appeals are about
- The largest number of appeals are of criminal conviction and/or sentencing issues. 89 resulted in full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 5 were partial affirmances/partial reversals/vacaturs; 3 were full reversals; and 8 were full vacaturs/remands.
- In post-conviction relief cases, including state and federal habeas petitions, there were 10 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 1 full reversal; and 1 full vacatur.
- In immigration cases, there was 1 full affirmance; 53 dismissals/denials of petitions for review of Board of Immigration Appeals orders; 4 grants/remands of petitions to review BIA orders; and 1 denial of a motion.
- In prisoner suits, there were 8 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 1 full reversal; and 3 full vacaturs.
- In commercial – civil cases, there were 11 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 3 full reversals; and 1 full vacatur.
- In civil rights/constitutional claims (non-prisoner-suits), there were 6 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 1 partial affirmance/partial reversal/vacatur; 3 full reversals; and 1 full vacatur.
- In employment/labor law cases, there were 10 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; and 1 full reversal.
- In qualified immunity cases, there were 2 full affirmances; and 1 partial affirmance/partial reversal/vacatur.
- In personal injury/non-commercial tort cases, there were 7 full affirmances/appeal dismissals.
- In bankruptcy cases, there was 1 full affirmance.
- In maritime law cases, there was 1 full affirmance.
- In arbitration cases, there was 1 full affirmance.
- In healthcare law cases, there were 3 full vacaturs.
- In administrative law cases, there was 1 denial of a petition for agency review and 1 grant of a petition for agency review.
- In class action cases, there was 1 full vacatur.
How much law is being made?
- Of the 245 opinions released by the 5th Circuit in July 2022, 38 were designated for publication. 14 of those were full affirmances; 3 were partial affirmances/partial reversals/vacaturs; 9 were full reversals; 5 were full vacaturs; 2 were denials of petitions for review of BIA orders; 1 was a grant of a petition for review of a BIA order; 1 was a denial of a petition for other agency review; 2 were grants of petitions to review agency orders; and 1 was a denial of a motion.
- 207 of the July opinions were unpublished, including 133 full affirmances/appeal dismissals; 4 partial affirmances/partial reversals/vacaturs; 3 full reversals; 13 full vacaturs; 51 denials/dismissals of petitions to review BIA orders; and 3 grants of petitions to review BIA orders.
Who was doing what on the Court?
Who was the busiest, in that they were on the most panels issuing opinions in July? (Judge Engelhardt.) Who was the busiest writer, authoring the most attributed opinions? (Judge Jones.) How many opinions did the Court issue per curiam, with no author listed? (212, with 203 of those unpublished.) Who participated in making the most law, participating in the most panels with published opinions? (Judges Jones and Costa.) We have all that below (senior-status judges in italics):
|Dist. Ct. Judge|
Conclusions? Most decisions in July, as always, were unanimous, with only 6 dissenting opinions and 8 concurrences out of 245 opinions. By far the most decisions are per curiam, at 212, against 33 authored opinions. The Fifth Circuit continues to have a very active senior-status bench, with Judges Wiener, Higginbotham, King, and Davis participating in as many panels as many of the active-status judges. Meanwhile, among active-status judges, the lightest production in July was from Chief Judge Richman.
Wrap it all together, and an opinion in July 2022 was most likely to be an unpublished per curiam affirming a criminal decision from the Western District of Texas, with Judges Engelhardt, Southwick, and Dennis on the panel.