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 »

×

August 7, 2006

The crew down on Lakeside has been churning out some decisions, so I thought I'd play catch-up and check some of them out.

If you've been thinking of making an argument on appeal that the failure to advise a defendant that he was going to be classified as a sexually-oriented offender made his plea involuntary, don't bother.  The court rejected that argument in State v. Tackett, holding that since that raised a non-constitutional issue, only substantial compliance with the statute was required, and the plea satisfied that test despite the court not informing him that designation as a sexual offender was mandatory. 

Another stop-and-frisk ruling in a drug case appropriately named State v. Scales, where the court reversed a denial of a motion to suppress.  The police approached the defendant after they spotted him waving down a car, and a frisk revealed marijuana and cocaine.  The court said that the defendant's waving down a car wasn't sufficient to warrant the stop.  The problem with search cases, though, is that they're so fact-dependent the outcome hinges almost entirely on what panel you wind up with, and this one's no different.  Then again, that's the general problem with Fourth Amendment law. The former is so complex and multivariate that it's virtually impossible to draw any definitive bright lines.  And as far as what panel you wind up with is concerned, the same thing applies in the lower court; any good defense lawyer can predict the outcome of a search motion in the trial court with 90% confidence as soon as he hears what judge is assigned to the case out of the arraignment room.  Anyway, if you're a defense attorney, Scales is definitely a keeper.

I've talked about arbitration cases in the past -- here and here -- and this court's welcome trend of subjecting them to exacting scrutiny.  The court goes in an opposite direction, though, in Bell v. Hollywood Entertainment, upholding an arbitration agreement which compelled an employee to arbitrate any employment disputes, including discrimination complaints.  What's dismaying is that the court didn't go beyond the fact that the employee signed the agreement -- actually, signing it was a condition of her employment -- never even considering questions of substantive or procedural unconscionability, as it had in the previous cases involving consumer arbitration clauses.  There doesn't seem to be much reason for this:  yes, a prospective employee can choose to go to work instead for another company which doesn't have such a clause, but a consumer can choose to do business with a company which doesn't, too, and that hasn't prevented the courts in the latter cases for making a more thorough analysis.

Search

Recent Entries

  • July 24, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Some things we knew, some things we didn't
  • July 21, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    Computers and sex offenders, civil forfeiture, and phrases that should be put out to pasture
  • July 20, 2017
    Case Update
    A look at the Ohio Supreme Court's decision in State v. Oles, and did you know that Justice Ginsburg has a .311 batting average with runners in scoring position? Oh, wait...
  • July 18, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Judicial bias, RVO specs, 26(B) stuff, waivers of counsel... And more!
  • July 17, 2017
    No more Anders Briefs?
    I have a case now in the 8th District where I came close to filing an Anders brief the other week. It's an appeal from a plea and sentence. The plea hearing was flawless. The judge imposed consecutive sentences, and...
  • July 13, 2017
    Sex offenders and the First Amendment
    Analysis of the Supreme Court's decision in Packingham v. North Carolina
  • July 12, 2017
    Removing a retained attorney
    What does a judge do if he thinks a retained attorney in a criminal case isn't competent?
  • July 11, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    The court does good work on a juvenile bindover case, and the State finally figures out that it should have indicted someone in the first place
  • July 10, 2017
    Case Update
    SCOTUS ends its term; the Ohio Supreme Court issues another opinion, and likely the last one, on the trial tax
  • June 28, 2017
    Plea Bargaining -- The defendant's view
    A look at the Supreme Court's decision last week in Lee v. United States