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Case Update

The big legal news out of the nation's capital was that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case challenging the District of Columbia's law banning possession of handguns.  How Appealing has a bevy of news articles on it, and, if you're really into this sort of thing, you can check out the treatment of it on ScotusWiki (yes, that does exist; I'm not making it up), which has links to all the briefs and other documents.

Closer to home, the Ohio Supreme Court finally handed down some decisions.  One of them was State v. Jones, in which the Court ruled that a trial judge didn't have to explain to a misdemeanor defendant that a plea of guilty waived his right to appeal a motion to dismiss the indictment.  The actual issue was exactly what is meant by Criminal Rule 11(B)'s requirement that a judge must advise a defendant of the "effect" of a plea.  What's interesting is that it was a 4-3 decision, with Justice O'Connor joining Moyer and Cupp in dissent.  Moyer especially has long urged a strict and literal adherence to the rules, and it may be he's getting some converts to that position.

On to the courts of appeals...

Criminal.  8th District reaffirms decisions holding that to avoid mandatory fines, affidavit of indigency has to be filed before sentencing, even where counsel has been appointed... Huh?  9th District says that defendant not entitled to instruction on accident on charge of firing gun into habitation because his possession of gun was unlawful... 12th District says defendant has right to allocution, but that doesn't mean he can talk forever:  12 pages of transcript was more than enough... 11th District says 20-year delay in prosecution violated defendant's constitutional right to speedy trial....

Civil.  10th District notes that forum selection clause in contract can confer venue, but not subject matter jurisdiction... Well, yeah:  12th District affirms mother's petition to change children's names, where father was doing 30-year prison term for attempted murder of mother... Also reverses summary judgment for doctor in suit by patient for invasion of privacy where another patient walked off with her medical records... 11th District reverses grant of summary judgment in slip and fall, says question of how far box stuck out into aisle raised issue of fact as to whether condition was "open and obvious"...

Sauce for the Goose...  Wells Fargo files a foreclosure, and the house goes to sheriff's auction.  The paralegal was supposed to tell Wells Fargo's counsel not to bid on the property, but instead told him to bid $110,000.  Wells Fargo files a motion to vacate on the grounds of inadvertence, mistake, we goofed, so sorry, etc., claiming that enforcing the sale will give the homeowners a "windfall."  Shit happens, says the 8th District in Wells Fargo Bank v. Herbert:

Essentially, Wells Fargo is asking this court to surmise the future value of the Herberts' home and also to assume that the Herberts will gain a financial windfall as a result. Home buyers, on a daily basis, take financial risks when purchasing homes: they risk that the market value of their home will decrease, they risk spending more than market value on the purchase of a home, etc., and later claim that the purchase was made by mistake, inadvertence, surprise, excusable neglect, or, based upon newly discovered evidence and that they never should have purchased the home. To grant relief to Wells Fargo Bank based upon Civ.R. 60(B) essentially grants relief to a bank, who, like all other home buyers, risks a future loss from their purchase.

Man, it must have felt good to write that.

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