We recently speculated about how much a 2015 Supreme Court policy change that dramatically increased the number of grant-and-hold orders in criminal cases has added to the court’s workload. We underestimated.

We wrote: “More criminal case grant-and-holds probably means considerably more work for the criminal central staff (see here), but not for the rest of the court. Civil and capital central staffs (see here and here) apparently deal with a small number or no grant-and-holds, respectively. Also, while the justices themselves and their chambers attorneys might have some increased work in determining which criminal cases to grant and hold and deciding dispositions for those case that are grant-and-holds, it could be just ‘a bit’ of an increase because they likely rely to a large extent on criminal central staff analyses.”

The flaw in our analysis was guessing at the amount of time justices and their staffs spend disposing of grant-and-hold cases. Being recently better informed, we now know that the policy change caused more than “just ‘a bit’ ” more work for them.

The justices and their staffs do not “rely to a large extent on criminal central staff analyses.” Rather, the central staff is not involved at all; it’s the chambers of the justice who authored the lead opinion (i.e., the opinion for which the grant-and-hold cases were waiting) that prepares for the justices a conference memo proposing a disposition for each grant-and-hold. And a lead case can have literally hundreds of grant-and-hold cases. (See, e.g., posts about People v. Lewis (2021) 11 Cal.5th 952 here and here.)