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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 »

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Case Update

The only case of note out of the Ohio Supreme Court this week was State v. Sterling, which struck down a provision of the DNA testing law which allowed the prosecutor to refuse DNA testing to an inmate, and then made his decision unreviewable by the courts.  The Court unanimously held this was an unconstitutional violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.  Ya think?

As for the US Supreme Court -- remember them? -- they've granted so few writs of certiorari that their argument calendar isn't even filled.  At this rate, they'll hand down 71 opinions -- the fewest since 1865.

On to the courts of appeals:

Criminal.  6th District reverses conviction of two minors for being under influence in "public place," holds that interior of private automobile doesn't fall within definition... Defendant moves to withdraw plea before sentencing, judge says he'll apply stricter after-sentence standard but invites counsel to brief issue, 2nd District says defendant waived issue by not briefing it... 6th District affirms conviction of agg vehicular manslaughter, against sufficiency of evidence argument, where defendant bent down to pick up ringing cell phone and ran over child... 8th District affirms grant of motion to suppress where police detained defendant, who was in company of intoxicated man, for twenty minutes while they ran a record check on both, found warrant on defendant... 3rd District reaffirms that court need not personally advise defendant of rights in plea to petty offense... 9th District continues its new policy of dismissal appeals for lack of final order where judgment entry does not contain an express statement that defendant is found guilty; if you've got a criminal appeal in the 9th you need to read this...

Civil.  6th District reversed lower court's refusal to allow party to intervene to assert claim of adverse possession; good discussion of law on intervention as of right... 8th District holds that arbitration clause is substantively unconscionable in employment discrimination case, because clause requires each side to pay for own attorneys, and defendant could be ordered to pay plaintiff's fees if case were litigated in court...

As you might have gathered, I don't read through all the decisions each week in order to determine what goes in here.  For the criminal ones, I'll generally glance through the first paragraph to see if there's anything that catches my eye.  Sometimes something does jump out.  This is the opening paragraph from the 2nd District's decision opinion last week in State v. GreathouseOne of these is not like the others...

Greathouse also contends that: the jury verdicts are against the sufficiency and manifest weight of the evidence; trial counsel was ineffective in failing to raise the issue of allied offenses of similar import; the trial court abused its discretion in denying his request for new counsel; the trial court abused its discretion in failing to order a competency evaluation; the trial court erred in failing to order a mistrial after Greathouse flipped over the defense table and was tackled by deputies; the trial court improperly removed Greathouse from the trial without securing a waiver of rights; and the trial court erred in imposing court costs.

In that light, it's not terribly surprising that the defendant's sixth assignment of error on appeal was, "APPELLANT'S OUTRAGEOUS CONDUCT PREJUDICIALLY AFFECTED HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL."

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