The big national legal news over the past week, of course, was Britney Spears losing custody of her children. Jeez, who coulda seen that coming, huh? In Ohio, the man-bites-dog story was the Supreme Court's reversal of a death penalty case; the prosecutor had failed to turn over police reports implicating someone else in the crime, and the defense lawyers should have argued that the defendant's wife couldn't testify. The Court did affirm a death penalty case, too, just to make sure that the earth didn't fall off its axis.
There were a couple of civil cases of note, too, one affecting how appeals in sovereign immunity cases are handled, and another dealing with expert testimony on medical causation. I'll do a post later this week on cases that are pending in the Supreme Court, and I'll discuss those there. On to the courts of appeals...
In criminal cases, a good decision out of the 8th District on what the state needs to prove for forfeiture. Not so good for the defendant, though; he argued that he shouldn't have to forfeit $8300 in cash, four guns, and a cellphone, and the court let him keep the cellphone. The 8th also holds that counsel was ineffective for failing to ask for a waiver of court costs at the time of sentencing. The 12th District holds that un-Mirandized statements of a motorist which aroused the suspicions of the officer who stopped him did not require suppression of the search that was conducted after a police dog alerted to the car. It also holds that passing bad checks and theft by deception were not allied offenses.
In civil cases, the 8th District holds that a hearing is required before counsel can be disqualified for "side-switching." It also reverses a summary judgment in a slip-and-fall, holding that a 1 1/8" raised threshold at a doorway was not open and obvious. The 3rd District joins other courts in holding that jaywalking is negligence per se. The 5th District holds that a trial court erred in granting arbitration in a consumer transaction without allowing plaintiff time to discovery regarding the unconscionability of the provision.
I use Lexis to do these summaries (I've got Westlaw, too, but find it to be a substantially inferior product), and in the listing of the cases it will give either a synopsis or a list of "core terms." Sometimes you can't tell much about the case from the core terms, other times... Well, like this one from the 6th District, which had the terms "pig, nuisance, manure, odor, injunction, cow, cattle, assignments of error, noise, abused..."
Fascinating case, it turns out. The defendant landowner had decided to start a pig farm after he shot a goose on someone else's property, and "was charged with hunting upon the land of another without permission and killing a migratory bird without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird." (I'm not making any of this up.) His motives for starting the farm were succinctly put to one of the plaintiffs, as quoted in the decision: "I'm going to f**king put pigs in here and chase your f**king asses back to Cleveland. I have been here for 15 years and I'm sick of you people."
Having a pig farm next door certainly would've chased my f**king ass back to Cleveland.