Maryland Certiorari Statistics, 2020 Term

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

For the fourth straight year, I’ve tracked the Court of Appeals’ petition docket. The judiciary’s annual statistical reports give the overall grant rate for civil and criminal certiorari petitions. Because unrepresented (pro se) parties file the majority of petitions each year, however, the overall statistics are not terribly helpful for lawyers in advising their clients regarding the odds of certiorari.

Below are the statistics for the Court’s 2020 Term (petitions filed 3/1/2020 to 2/28/2021), alongside the statistics for the 2019 Term (petitions filed 3/1/2019 to 2/29/2020) and the 2018 Term (petitions filed 3/1/2018 to 2/28/2019).

My numbers do not include pro se petitions or petitions that were dismissed or voluntarily withdrawn.

I have decided to freeze the numbers as of June 23, 2021. Because of Wednesday’s ruling against the State in State v. Ablonczy, the Court of Appeals is likely to deny 12 petitions by the State (eight from the 2020 Term, and four from the 2021 Term) raising the same question. Given the sheer number of those petitions, it would throw off the total numbers to include them.

A few caveats:

  • Correlation does not imply causation.
  • Each petition rises or falls on its own merits.
  • My data-collection efforts are not perfect.
  • I must make some judgment calls from time to time as to whether to treat related petitions as one petition.
Civil Petitions Filed Through Counsel2020 Term2019 Term2018 Term
Overall21% (29/138)30% (41/138)22% (35/160)
Filed by State100% (1/1)100% (4/4)80% (4/5)
Filed by Locality29% (2/7)50% (5/10)40% (4/10)
Filed by Office of the Public DefenderN/AN/A100% (1/1)
Filed by Private Counsel, for Private Party19% (25/130)26% (32/124)18% (26/144)
Bypass Petitions50% (3/6)40% (6/15)36% (4/11)
From Reported COSA Opinion46% (13/28)62% (18/29)31% (9/29)
From Unreported COSA Opinion10% (9/87)16% (11/68)15% (15/101)
From COSA Opinion That Drew a Dissent33% (1/3)88% (7/8)50% (3/6)
Criminal Petitions Filed Through Counsel2020 Term2019 Term2018 Term
Overall30% (25/82)34% (31/90)32% (28/87)
Filed by State78% (7/9)69% (9/13)83% (15/18)
Filed by Office of the Public Defender26% (8/31)33% (11/33)20% (7/35)
Filed by Private Counsel22% (9/41)25% (11/44)18% (6/34)
Bypass Petitions0% (0/1)0% (0/1)0% (0/2)
From Reported COSA Opinion62% (8/13)76% (16/21)70% (14/20)
From Unreported COSA Opinion24% (15/63)24% (14/58)21% (12/56)
From COSA Opinion That Drew a Dissent100% (3/3)N/A100% (1/1)

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