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Case Update

I'd talked about the US Supreme Court decisions earlier in the week.  As most lawyers know, Monday is the day that opinions are announced, and there are a number of big ones left in the term.  I'll discuss any that are announced today later in the week.  The Ohio Supreme Court didn't have any major decisions last week, unless you count In re SJK, in which the court held that payment of a traffic fine didn't moot the case for appeal purposes, since the imposition of points on the drivers license constituted a collateral disability which preserved the case for review.  So that's good news if a lot of your practice is dependent on appeals of traffic cases.  And if a lot of your practice is dependent upon traffic case appeals, you could probably use some good news.

Can a defendant be convicted of a carrying a concealed weapon with ammunition at hand -- a felony -- if he has the gun and the codefendant next to him has the ammo?  The 1st District says yes.  It also affirmed summary judgment for an employer in a sexual harassment case, although acknowledging that the offending employee's acts were "creepy."  Those acts included placing a condom on the desk of a female employee, apparently in heed of the observation that not all poems are written with the pen. 

Rara avis: the 2nd District reverses a conviction for ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to object to a hearsay statement.  It also rules that the one-year limitations period in a defamation case begins to run from date of publication, not the date when the plaintiff discovers the defamation. 

Around here, the 8th District affirms summary judgment in another slip-and-fall case, holding that the open and obvious doctrine isn't defeated by a claim that the color of steps and floor were uniform, making the steps harder to pick out.  The 9th District holds that the trial court's failure to instruct on an element of a crime -- in this case, the intent to commit an offense, the last element of burglary -- is not a "structural error"; if the defense doesn't object, it's analyzed under the plain error standard. 

Last, if you're going to base your appeal of your conviction of a drunk driving conviction on the basis that there was no evidence at trial that you were the one that the cop actually arrested, it's probably a good idea if your attorney hasn't asked the officer questions like, "That would have been after you already arrested my client, after you made a decision in your mind that he was under the influence of alcohol, correct," "After you stopped my client you go up to the vehicle and at that point you have personal contact with him, is that correct," and "When you asked my client to perform these field sobriety tests, uh, he had a legal right to refuse, he did not have to do these tests for you, did he?"

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