Monday, November 28, 2005

I Didn't Need to Know the Odds

Over at Crime & Federalism, Mike has a disturbing post about the odds of success on appeal for various kinds of cases. According to Mike's source, the national average of reversals in US Courts of Appeals in 2002 was 9.5%. From criminal cases, that number drops to 5.6%. Or, in another way of putting it, your chances of success in a crimnial appeal are 1 in 18. And that's an average - I can't imagine what it's like in the Fourth Circuit.

In some ways, those number are frightening in that my clients have so little chance of success that I best not screw up whatever hope they might have. On the other hand, their also somewhat comforting, 'cause it means that no matter how skillfully I advocate in a particular case I stand a slim slim chance of winning.

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