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Case Update - Survivor Edition

You'd think that if I'm going to take a week-long break from blogging, the courts of Ohio would have the common decency to take a vacation from handing down opinions, too.  Not so much; my buddy Lexis advises me that no fewer than 438 decisions have come down since my last case update.  About 160 of them are those brief case announcements from the Supreme Court where it tells various supplicants not to bother it with their silly little problems.  That still leaves plenty of appellate court decisions, though. 

Before we get to those, the Ohio Supreme Court handed down a couple of significant decisions last week, one upholding the 2005 tort reform statutes in several significant respects, and the other on the application of Crawford v. Washington to scientific evidence.  I'll discuss those two in more detail in the next two days.  In Washington, the Roberts Gang gets back to work with a justices' conference on Friday to determine which cases they're going to review.  Probably the biggest is the case out of Louisiana on the constitutionality of imposing the death penalty on child rapists.  There's also one from Ohio on the Foster/ex post facto issue. 

So, let's tackle those courts of appeals decisions...

Civil.  Can a small claims court treble damages under the CSPA if the total damages would be beyond its jurisdictional limit of $3,000?  No, says the 9th District... 11th District upholds trial court's refusal to permit late response to request for admissions, but see this post for law contra... Good discussion of liquidated damages in this 1st District case, reversing trial court's nullification of provision in an employment contract... Good discussion of ethical considerations in attorney serving as witness in this 6th District case where attorney represented herself and her family in suit against school district for disability discrimination...  In rare win for plaintiff in slip-and-fall on ice case, 8th District reverses summary judgment, says that failure of landlord to fix leaky outside faucet may have cause unnatural accumulation of ice... Ya think?  Although I don't normally do child abuse or neglect decisions, this one stuck out:  2nd District affirms ruling that child could not be placed with mother within reasonable time; child was ten years old and weighed twenty-seven pounds... 4th District says law of the case doctrine precludes defendant from raising issue of admissibility of evidence when they didn't cross-appeal on that issue in previous appeal by plaintiff... 3rd District says "substantial impairment" of Lemon Law is objective, not subjective view of customer, holds that defective latch which increased wind noise didn't substantially impair "use, safety, or value of the motor vehicle"...

Criminal.  Unusual twist to the corpus delicti rule:  even though defendant's confession to having sex with minor was sole evidence against him, because defendant did not object to evidence at trial or assert claim that it was inadmissible on appeal, issue wasn't preserved by mere insufficient evidence claim, says 9th District... Headscratcher:  10th District upholds search of car as "investigatory stop" after defendant has exited it and is fifteen feet away from it... 8th District affirms suppression of evidence found in car legally parked two blocks away from house where defendant arrested, rejects claim that automobile and inventory exceptions allowed search... 3rd District holds that court erred in ordering restitution to sheriff's department of costs of extraditing defendant from Iowa... 1st District holds that consent to frisk invalid when given after defendant was handcuffed... 8th District completely screws up Crawford issue, holds that "Crawford only applies to hearsay statements that are not subject to any hearsay exceptions"...

The Force wasn't with him.  The defendant in the 12th District's decision in State v. Brown argued that the victim's identification should have been thrown out because the victim's original description failed to mention that the defendant had an image of Darth Vader on his t-shirt, and that

"the image of Darth Vader is not a fact a person would forget." Appellant urges the court to believe that because Darth Vader "is a universal archetype" of evil, anyone who saw an image of Darth Vader would unfailingly recall it under any circumstance. 

The court suggests in dicta that it might have been more receptive to the argument if the t-shirt portrayed an image of Dick Cheney.

Okay, I made that part up.


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