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Weekly roundup

A few weeks back, I mentioned that there's some recent legal scholarship arguing that summary judgment is unconstitutional, at least on the Federal level, because it contravenes the 7th Amendment's guarantee of a jury trial.  The same argument could be extended to Ohio cases, under Article I, Section 5 of the state Constitution.  Last week, the 10th District reversed a grant of summary judgment.  The case is relatively routine, but what caught my eye is that the appellant's attorney framed the assignments of error in constitutional terms.  You might want to check it out.  On the other hand, it does no good to do this if you don't raise and argue the issues in the lower court, and that might be more than you want to take on.  Just a thought.

On to the cases:

6th District says that filing of affidavit of indigency before sentencing is required to avoid mandatory fine in drug case, even though judge suspended costs; determines that attorney wasn't ineffective in failing to file affidavit, since finding of indigency was unlikely:  defendant had posted $100,000 bond and retained attorney... 1st District holds court wrong in taking judicial notice of reliability of laser device, based solely upon transcript of another municipal court hearing on it; a journal entry from the second court finding the device reliable was required... 12th District holds that 24-minute delay for traffic stop not unreasonable... Trial court erred in denying motion to vacate plea without first conducting a hearing, says 1st District...

Good case on grandparent visitation from 9th District, which upholds schedule a noncustodial parent would have received, where child lived with grandparents for three years... Father's deployment to military duty not change of circumstances justifying modification of custody from father to wife, where deployment was contemplated at time of decree, holds 3rd District... Trial court used improper standard in appeal from administrative agency when it evaluated agency's conclusions on sufficient evidence, not on a "preponderance of substantial, reliable, and probative evidence," says 9th District...

There were four disciplinary cases handed down by the Supreme Court last week, for various and sundry offenses, most involving taking money from people and not doing the work.  One of them that struck me as particularly compelling was Columbus Bar Ass'n v. Farmer, where the attorney had taken over an appeal, telling his client and the family that the brief filed by appointed counsel "wasn't worth the paper it was written on," and that he'd need to withdraw that one and file a new one.  He got over $8,000 from the family, filed a motion withdrawing the old brief, and then filed his own -- which consisted of the brief the appointed lawyer had filed, virtually word for word.

Plagiarism, and getting people to part with money by promising them things you can't or won't do, aren't good things.  But neither is badmouthing other lawyers.  People aren't going to respect us as a profession if we don't respect each other.

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