Judges’ reversal (or affirmance) rates

For those who are curious about how judges in the Third Circuit compare to one another on their reversal rates and who don’t want to pay for that information, I offer this table. Percent Affirmed by Judge, FY2010-FY2013.

The table lists judges of district courts in the Third Circuit who had more than ten appeals from their judgments in either of two three-year periods (FY 2010 to FY 2012, and FY 2011 to FY 2013). Three-year periods were used to smooth out year-to-year variation and to ensure a reasonable number of appeals for most judges. The listing shows 91 judges for the first three-year period and 93 judges for the second. A total of 38 judges – mostly magistrate judges (MJ) – were omitted from the table because there were fewer than 10 appeals from their judgments in both periods. The percentages show the percent of appeals that end with the judgment on review left intact (either because it was affirmed in its entirety or because the appeal was dismissed). A sense of a reversal rate (or more accurately, the percentage of appeals ending with something other than an affirmance or a dismissal) can be found by subtracting the listed percentage from 100. Rankings were assigned based on reported percentages, with the same ranking given to judges with the same percentage (e.g., if two or more judges had a reported percentage of 100, they were each assigned a “1”). Rankings range from 1 to 78 in both periods.

To give the reported percentages some context: across the 4,753 appeals in the FY 2010 to FY 2012 period captured in my data, 86.05% of those appeals ended with either an affirmance of the judgment or a dismissal of the appeal. Across the 4,524 appeals in the FY 2010 to FY 2012 period, 85.92% ended with either an affirmance of the judgment or a dismissal of the appeal. These percentages include the appeals from judgments issued by all judges, both listed in the table and omitted due to having too few cases.

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