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Case Update

An interesting decision from the US Supreme Court this past week on retroactivity in criminal cases.  In Danforth v. Minnesota, the Court held that states are free to determine whether to grant retroactivity to US Supreme Court decisions, regardless of how the Court itself treats the issue.  For example, if the Court subsequently holds that Crawford v. Washington isn't retroactive (the circuits are currently split on the issue), the Ohio courts could still hold that it is.  That could have implications in some states more willing to depart from the High Court's dictates, but I don't think Ohio's one of them.

Down in Columbus, the gang was also busy.  I talked about the decision in Hyle v. Porter, striking down the retroactive application of Ohio's sex offender laws, last Thursday.  In Groch v. GM, the Court upheld Ohio's workmen's compensation subrogation law and the 10-year statute of repose for a products liability claim against a manufacturer.  And in State v. Schlee, the Court held that a trial court can look to the Civil Rules for guidance when no rule of criminal procedure is applicable to a motion made by a party in a criminal case.

On to the courts of appeals...

Criminal.  1st District tosses two cases because of improper jury instructions:  says trial court erred in not instructing jury on meaning of "turbulent behavior" in disorderly conduct prosecution, and that trial court should not have instructed jury that defendant could be found guilty of both felony murder and voluntary manslaughter, since second offense is lesser offense of first... 3rd District upholds traffic stop where driver weaved within lane, even though he didn't cross lines... 2nd District holds that even where child's hearsay statements are admissible under Evid Rule 807, trial court must still determine that child is competent under Rule 601 before admitting them... 2nd also says that trial court abused discretion in refusing to accept guilty plea at trial after both sides rested, holds that protestation of innocence is not sufficient reason to reject plea... Trial court dismisses case with prejudice for failure of prosecution to provide discovery, appellate court (8th District) affirms; read those words several times, you're not likely to see them again anytime soon...

Civil.  Where plaintiff's lawyer screwed up, statute of limitations for legal malpractice claim ran from when plaintiff became aware of screw-up, not from when trial court granted summary judgment on plaintiff's claim, says 9th District... Catch-22:  plaintiff filed civil case against State of Ohio in common pleas court, that court transferred it to court of claims; 4th District holds that court had no authority to transfer case in that situation, but since transfer isn't a final order, appellate court has no jurisdiction to consider question... Where last day for filing objections to magistrate's report was on a day where court closed early for elections, deadline for filing should have been extended to the following day, says 2nd District...

What does PETA have to say about this?  From the 3rd District's decision last week in State v. Wegmann

In his first assignment of error, Wegmann asserts that the trial court erred in excluding evidence and testimony of his expert's firearms testing on a chicken. Specifically, Wegmann contends that the chicken was substantially similar to human tissue and that the testing was relevant, reliable, and corroborative of Wegmann's accident defense. We disagree.

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