Welcome to The Briefcase

Commentary and analysis of Ohio criminal law and whatever else comes to mind, served with a dash of snark.  Continue Reading »

×

July 9, 2006

I got to the office at my usual time, about six in the morning, and was working on my second cup of coffee when Phil ambled in about a half hour later.  He got his own cup, then walked into my office and plopped himself into the chair across the desk from me.  "Well, the Indians sucked," he said.

I typed out a last line.  "Why the past tense?"

"Yeah," he chuckled, taking a tentative sip of his coffee.  "Saw Judge Manos died."  Another sip.  "Jeez, he was a tough old bird.  Remember the first time I had something with him, my first case in Federal court, asked another lawyer what Manos was like, guy says, 'Well, kid, let me put it this way.  If I ordered twenty tons of sonsofbitches, and you sent me John Manos on a flatcar, I'd call it substantial performance.'"  He'd decided the coffee was too hot yet.  "Didn't care for him much."

"The other lawyer?"

"No, Manos.  Thought he was a bully."

"Oh, he was tough, but he was fair."

"You think so?"
I leaned back in the chair.  "A while back I had a case, home contractor who was doing the routine down in the ghetto, going to door to door, selling home improvement jobs, you know, $20,000 for a new kitchen in a house that's worth maybe thirty.  He'd get them to sign mortgages by telling them he'd add a bit to it so he could put a couple grand in their pockets.  Of course, he had people sign the disclosure forms in blank, so they had no idea what interest they were being charged, what their payments were.  Then the contractor would sell the mortgages to an outfit in Texas, get eighty cents on the dollar.  Of course, the people couldn't make the payments, so the mortgage company would foreclose.

"Anyway, some lawyer, a black kid, just out of law school, working out of his home in the Heights, got about fifteen of the cases together, and sued the contractor and the company he was selling the paper to.  The contractor hired a lawyer I used to be friends with, and he brought me in on the case to do the research, pleadings, that sort of stuff.

"The case was assigned to Manos, and before the pretrial my friend's talking about how Manos is going to tear this young lawyer a new one, scare the hell out of him, maybe get him to dismiss.  Worst case scenario, pressure him to settle the case on the cheap.

"So we go to the pretrial, and after Manos talks to both sides for a couple of minutes, he asks the plaintiff's lawyer to excuse himself.  Then he turns to us and says, 'This is what your clients are going to do.  They're going to cancel each of the mortgages.  They're going to pay each plaintiff fifteen thousand dollars.  And they're going to pay thirty thousand dollars for plaintiff's attorney fees.'  He stopped and looked us dead in the eye.  'And if they don't do that, I'm going to refer this case over to the US Attorney for prosecution.'"
Phil grinned.  "Guess you settled the case, huh?"

I smiled.  "I guess we did." 

"Pretty good payday for the lawyer and his clients."

"Yeah, but it was a fair result.  Know what I mean?"

He nodded.  The coffee had cooled; he took a couple more sips, then drained the cup.  "That story makes me feel better about Manos," he said as he stood up.

"Hey, Phil," I called to him as he started to walk out.  "What's the difference between God and a Federal judge?"

He paused in the doorway.  "Don't know."

"God doesn't think he's a Federal judge."

Phil laughed.  He left, and I went back to work.

Search

Recent Entries

  • September 12, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Prior consistent statements, whether State v. Hand is applied retroactively, and a big Coming Attraction
  • September 11, 2017
    Case Update
    Looking back at Melendez-Diaz, and the 8th goes 0 for 2 in the Supreme Court
  • September 8, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    Pro bono work, screwed-up appeals, and is Subway shorting their customers?
  • September 5, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    The barriers to expungement, jury verdict forms, and hybrid representation
  • August 31, 2017
    Constructive possession
    Constructive possession is 9/10ths of the law
  • August 29, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A traffic stop found Samson Primm in possession of a few grams of marijuana, but he hires a lawyer and files a motion to suppress the stop. On the day of trial, the City asks to dismiss the case. Primm...
  • August 28, 2017
    Truth in plea bargaining
    So I got a brochure last week from Judge Donnelly over at the Common Pleas court. As you can see, it's a panel discussion on plea bargaining. The judge asked me to get out the word, so I just sort...
  • August 15, 2017
    Summer Break
    Got a bunch of stuff to do over the next couple weeks, and with the slowdown in the courts, it's a good time to take a break. I'll be back here on August 28. See you then....
  • August 11, 2017
    Friday Musings
    Drug trafficking, ADA lawsuit abuse, and e-filing
  • August 10, 2017
    Case Update
    Waiting on SCOTUS; two Ohio Supreme Court decisions