The Judicial Council’s 2019 Court Statistics Report is out, with numbers from 2008–09 through 2017–18.  If you’re trying to convince the Supreme Court to hear your case, how you read the statistics depends on whether you’re a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type.

On the one hand, your petition for review in fiscal year 2018 had less competition for the court’s attention than in the past; only 3,896 PFR’s were filed.  (A different report, covering a more recent annual period, shows 3,702 PFR’s.)   “Only” because there haven’t been that few since fiscal year 1992.  PFR filings peaked at 5,903, in fiscal year 2008.

On the other hand, your odds of getting a petition for review granted worsened in fiscal year 2018, if you take out grant-and-holds and grant-and-transfers.  There were only 27 straight grants (18 civil cases and 9 criminal cases), less than one percent of all PFR’s filed.  The prior fiscal year, there were 76 straight grants, which accounted for about two percent of the petitions filed.

If you include grant-and-holds and grant-and-transfers, the percent of total successful PFR’s for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 were 12 and 7.  However, those historically high numbers seem attributable mostly to a dramatic increase in criminal case grant-and-holds because of a court policy change.

The 27 straight grants is the lowest number in all the Judicial Council statistics available, dating back to fiscal year 1988.  It is likely an anomaly, owing at least in part to the court being shorthanded by one justice during most of fiscal year 2018.  However, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s generally a long shot to have a PFR granted.