Perhaps the most interesting decision out of Columbus was a disciplinary case in which two prosecutors received a public reprimand by working out a plea bargain with the defendant -- through his mother. If she'd been representing him, that would've been okay, but since somebody else was, not so much. Actually, the defendant might have been better off if she had been: after working out a deal for five years in prison, he got the plea vacated when news of his mother's involvement came to light. He went to trial, got convicted, and wound up getting sentenced to eight years. Always listen to your mother....
The most interesting case, perhaps, but not the only one. The Court also handed down an important case on the Lemon Law, and one on the speedy trial statute for prisoners, which I'll talk about later this week. So let's get to the courts of appeals.
The plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident, and sued three years later when he received a recall notice indicating a defect in the motorcyle which may have caused the accident; the 1st District affirms dismissal on statute of limitations grounds, holding that the discovery rule tolls the statute only for latent injuries (i.e., where the plaintiff does not know that he has been injured), not for latent defects (i.e., where plaintiff does not know why). The 12th District affirms a default judgment of $400,000 in an attorney malpractice action based upon the attorneys representation of both plaintiffs in a criminal case, holding that the failure of one party to appeal their conviction, and the rejection of an ineffective assistance claim in the other appeal, didn't preclude the malpractice action. The 4th District reverses a grant of summary judgment in a defamation case, ruling that plaintiff's claim he was fired because of false allegations of sexual harassment stated an action in defamation per se and not per quod. And in the Yeah, I Guess Department, the 5th District upholds the denial of unemployment benefits: the employee had been terminated for absenteeism because he'd been sentenced to 11 months in prison.
The 2nd District reverses the denial of a motion to suppress oral statements, holding that the statements, given at gunpoint, weren't voluntary. There's a decent discussion in this 8th District case about the distinction between recklessness and knowing intent in felonious assault, in the case of the use of a car as a deadly weapon. The 8th also holds that a trial court in a plea hearing is only required to inform the defendant of the maximum sentences which can be imposed on each count, and that the failure to advise him that the sentences can be imposed consecutively doesn't void the plea. If you're trying to expunge an arrest record for a defendant who was acquitted, you'll want to take a look at this 10th District case, which reversed a denial of expungement, holding that the court didn't properly consider the balancing factors involved.
Finally, this week's winner of the Bizarro Legal Argument, from the 10th District's decision in
The second assignment of error asserts that the trial court erred in limiting the cross-examination and presentation of the testimony as the issue of ethnic bias among and between different tribal groups from Somalia.