California's Supreme Court issues 110 to 115 opinions annually, almost twice as many as the U.S. Supreme Court. Typically, these include more than 20 capital appeals. (Another 30 capital-case-related habeas corpus matters also are disposed of each year.) Yet this is only a small portion of the cases that are awaiting our attention. At the moment, nearly 400 capital appeals are pending before the court, about 80 of which are fully briefed and ready for oral argument and decision. About 130 non-death-penalty cases presenting important civil and criminal issues also are pending, 80 of them fully briefed, and the court selects additional cases for review at almost every weekly conference. Only if the state Supreme Court were to defer these other cases could it more quickly address the backlog of capital appeals -- and even then, new death penalty appeals and new legal issues requiring review would continue to pour into the system.
One of the 80 fully-briefed, non-capital cases pending at the Supreme Court is In re Tobacco II Cases, no. S147345 (review granted 11/1/06), which raises reliance and class certification in UCL cases after Proposition 64. [Via How Appealing.]