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


Less Money, Less Money

A few quick notes today; I'm going on vacation at the end of next week, and have some stuff to wrap up before then.  First, I was apparently premature in my exultation the other day over the increase in appointed counsel fees.  Yes, the County Commissioners did approve an increase of $100 in the maximum fee, making up for the cuts which had been imposed in 2001, and restoring fees to the level that had been set back in the 1970's.  But the judges turned it down.  That's right, the judges refused to restore the fees.  I don't know at this point whether it was all of them or a committee of them or merely the administrative judge, but that's where it stands.  I'm going to do some more digging, but this might be something to keep in mind the next time you get a letter inviting you to give $100 to a judicial candidate in return for getting to eat crappy food and having him smile, shake your hand, and pretend that seeing you has been the best thing that's happened to him in weeks. 

Speaking of judicial candidates, the betting here is that sometime in the next two weeks the Plain Dealer is going to run a story with the following lead:  "In another embarassment to the campaign of judicial candidate Christine Agnello Russo, her former in-laws allege that they have documentary evidence showing she is a spawn of Satan."  Film at 11.

As a follow-up to my post of yesterday, I talked to Jim Hardiman, the lawyer who represented Robbie Moore.  As I mentioned, the maximum consecutive sentences initially imposed on Moore were reversed by the court of appeals, and the case is back in front of the trial court for resentencing.  A sentencing hearing was supposed to have been held last week, but was continued to give each side an opportunity to file a sentencing memorandum.   Part of the reversal was based upon the trial court's not giving an adequate explanation for the maximum or consecutive sentences, but Foster takes that out of the picture.  The remaining issue is consistency.  If the trial court imposes the same sentence, it'll go up again, at which point the court of appeals will have another opportunity to expound upon the issue of consistency in sentencing.

Also, a shout-out to attorney Brian McGraw, who was kind enough to send me a sheet containing a breakdown of appointed counsel fees for all 88 Ohio counties.  We'll talk about that next week.  Hint:  if you're thinking of relocating your practice, Guernsey County might be a nice place to put down roots, but Coshocton, not so much...

And last, good news for all of you lawyers who are working hand in glove with al Qaeda to replace the government of our Founding Fathers with an Islamic caliphate.  In an effort to flush out the traitors in our ranks, the Bellefontaine Municipal Court began requiring all attorneys seeking to represent indigent defendants to fill out a form, pursuant to the Ohio Patriot Act, certifying that they do not provide material aid to terrorist organizations.  No, I'm not making that up.  In a 4-3 per curiam decision, the Supreme Court decided this was a bit much, and issued a writ of prohibition.


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