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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 »


Case Update

Nothing out of the US Supreme Court this past week, but on Friday the judges are to have a conference on District of Columbia v. Heller, the case in which a Federal court tossed out the District's gun ban on 2nd Amendment grounds.  If it accepts the case, and a companion one on the same issue, it would be the biggest gun rights decision ever.  Scotusblog has background and analysis of the issue here

Closer to home, the Robed Ones in Columbus didn't come up with anything breathtaking either, other than a reversal of a dismissal of an appeal of a dismissal of an indictment, which I'll talk about later this week.  Although you may want to check out this decision, which goes into some detail on the residency requirements for personal jurisdiction; it involves a defendant who fled to Canada to avoid, among other things, paying his attorneys.  On to the courts of appeals...

Criminal.  A truly ugly case out of the 1st District, upholding opinion testimony by two police officers that defendant was the aggressor in a murder case where he was claiming self-defense.  Sign of the times:  6th District upholds a verdict against challenge for juror misconduct on the basis that one of the jurors was blogging about the case during trial.  It also reverses a conviction for assault, holding that admission of police testimony about what the victim told them violated defendant's confrontation rights under Crawford.  The 3rd District tosses a plea in a juvenile case, holding that the court didn't properly determine whether the juvenile validly waived counsel.  The 12th District reverses a criminal conviction for ineffective assistance of counsel because attorney didn't contest search warrant, which hadn't been signed by the judge. 

Civil.  The 10th District holds because court posted notice of trial date on its docket, defendant had adequate notice, even though he was in prison.  The 8th District affirms a dismissal of a legal malpractice claim, holding that time ran from date of conviction and defendant's claim on appeal of ineffective assistance, not from date where Federal court granted habeas on that basis.  The 4th District holds that there's no statute of limitations for civil protection orders.  A party seeking a modification of custody need only show a change of circumstances, not a "substantial" change, rules the 3rd District.  In a reverse discrimination case, the 2nd District holds that an affirmative action plan, when coupled with other evidence, can be introduced as proof of discriminatory intent.  When Bad Things Happen to Bad People:  used car dealership screws a customer over a $6200 used truck, forces him into arbitration, but the arbitrators are so offended they award the consumer over $100,000, including $60,000 in punitives and $23,000 in attorney fees; 11th District upholds it.

Finally, who says judges don't have a sense of humor?  From State v. Dorsey, 1st District case in which appellate counsel filed an Anders brief:   

We note that the record indicates that Dorsey wrote a poem to the trial court, and that the trial court responded in kind. In keeping with the spirit of the case, we provide our own verse:
Your appeal we consider in detail
The record and filings, 'tis true.
We review for mistakes and for error
In a quest for full justice for you.
Every word that was uttered we ponder
Every law that controlled we review.
For some detour from fairness unquestioned
But alas, we cannot find a clue.
No problem with guilt we uncover
No relief from the sentence does cue.
We conclude the process untainted
And the result was unquestionably due.


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