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 »


Helpful practice tips

As you know, Friday's the day I troll the web for news of the interesting and absurd, but the holidays seem to have thrown most people off; there's not a lot of fascinating stuff out there this week.  I did pull this blurb off of the Legal Theory Blog, about an article entitled Nomos, Conflict, and the Tragedy of Adjudication: The Jurisprudence of Robert Cover, the abstract of which reads,

Robert Cover is known for having argued that in every plural society there exist, along with the State, multiple normative entities that create and maintain their own sense of normativity, that is, their own holistic modes of assessing good and bad, valid and invalid, right and wrong. Beyond that, few systematic attempts have been made to pursue this view as a comprehensive theory of law. 

This is one of the (many) times I wish I was a bright guy, because then if I read that article I could probably get past the second paragraph without having my mind wander to questions like why anyone would make something called a "Thickburger," and why anyone would eat it. 

On a slightly more serious tone, the US Supreme Court is considering a grant of certiorari in a case the California Supreme Court handed down in June, in which it upheld the denial of a passenger's motion to suppress evidence seized at a traffic stop.  Despite finding that the stop was unlawful, it ruled that the evidence could be used because the stop didn't constitute a seizure of the passenger.  You can find a fuller discussion here

And back on the lighter side, those of you who've ever had an AOL account will appreciate this.  Canceling an AOL account is only slightly less complicated than getting a death sentence commuted; you can't simply send them an email telling them you want to cancel, you have to call them and talk to a live person, who will spend a fair amount of time trying to talk you out of it.  (As this tape, which got extensive coverage a few months back, shows.)  This suggestion of how to avoid that comes courtesy of CRM Lowdown's Ten Worst Support Companies for Call Center Service:

For those who are at their wits end trying to cancel their AOL account, here's a tip from Utterly Boring: A guy tried for better part of a week to cancel AOL. He talked to six or seven different people on six different days. Each time he was thwarted. Finally, weary of the runaround, he went into a "chat room" and started threatening to kill people in the room. His AOL account was canceled in three minutes.

As for helpful hints in your practice, a month ago, I mentioned that the Supreme Court is going to make all filings available on its web site for download.  To help implement this, the Court just adopted an amendment to its Rules of Practice:  effective February 7, one copy of all pleadings has to be in a "scannable" version -- unbound, unstapled, single-sided (you can paper-clip it together).

Finally, from the Department of Maybe You Ought to Spend More Time on Witness Prep:  The defendant in State v. Edwards is on trial for felonious assault for hitting someone in the head with a baseball bat.  He has a previous juvenile delinquency adjudication for felonious assault for hitting someone in the head with a baseball bat. 

During appellant's direct examination in the case at bar, his trial counsel asked him whether he had "ever hit anybody in the head with a baseball bat?" Appellant began to explain about the prior juvenile adjudication. Before appellant could fully respond, his trial counsel stopped him and asked whether appellant was talking about something that happened in the past. The State objected, and the trial court sustained the objection, noting that trial counsel "asked him a question. You got an answer." Appellant continued to explain the prior juvenile adjudication.

The defendant's assignment of error alleging ineffective assistance of counsel was overruled, because of the overwhelming evidence of guilt.

Have a good weekend.  I'll be back next week with posts on whether judges can give stiffer sentences on a Foster remand, an interesting search case from the 8th District, and another foray by the 8th into the labryinthine world of sovereign immunity.


Recent Entries

  • June 28, 2017
    Plea Bargaining -- The defendant's view
    A look at the Supreme Court's decision last week in Lee v. United States
  • June 27, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A worrisome decision on expert funding, and, mirabile dictu, a court's dismissal of a case for a discovery violation is upheld
  • June 23, 2017
    Crime and the First Amendment
    Facebook and sex offenders, and encouraging someone to kill himself
  • June 20, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    I come a cropper, plus inventory searches and mandatory probation
  • June 19, 2017
    Case Update - SCOTUS
    What's coming up in the US Supreme Court in the next two weeks
  • June 12, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    After weeks in the desert, we come upon an oasis of defense wins
  • June 7, 2017
    A switch in time
    Why what the Supreme Court did in Aalim II and Gonzales II is a bad thing
  • June 6, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A turnabout on prior calculation and design, and harmless error in all its manifestations
  • June 5, 2017
    Case Update
    A death penalty case, fourteen years after the crime, and we're just getting started. And two appellate decisions on search and seizure.
  • May 31, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    "What's a law enforcement accountability activist?" asked someone never, but the answer is here. Plus, cell phone experts, joinder, and the fading glory that was State v. Hand.