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Case Update

Nothing going on in Columbus, but the US Supreme Court this week granted cert in two criminal cases.  Pulido v. Crones is a 9th Circuit habeas decision, and might afford the Court an opportunity to decide whether a defective jury instruction is a "structural error," which of course always necessitates reversal, or whether it can be judged under the "harmless error" standard.  Arizona v. Gant involves the question of how far the police can go in searching a vehicle after arresting the occupants, and I'll have more on that later this week.

Before we go onto the courts of appeals, some of you may be wondering why there's a paucity of 1st District decisions any more.  Seems that they've changed their policy with regard to accelerated docket decisions:  those aren't considered "opinions" any more, and aren't published.  Last year, the 1st District handed down 226 opinions.  In the first two months of this year, they've handed down nine.  Two of them did make the cut this week, though...

Criminal.  1st District rejects argument that RC 2945.05, which requires jury waiver to be in writing, applies to guilty plea; also holds that defendant has no right to preclude court from giving instruction on lesser included offense if the evidence warrants it... 2nd District holds that where 11-year-old boy was transported alone to police station by armed detective, trial court erred in determining that boy's interrogation at station wasn't "custodial"... Where defendant's arrest on first case led to discovery of evidence of second crime, defendant's speedy trial rights not violated by indictment on second crime coming after plea and sentencing on first; defendant not prejudiced by alleged inability to enter into "package plea," says 6th District... 8th District affirms maximum sentence in gross sexual imposition case, but comes up with interesting conclusion that appellate court reviews sentencing de novo... Who knew?  2nd District says trial court erred in giving defendant greater than agreed sentence when he didn't show up for sentencing, because trial court didn't warn defendant that it would do so... 

Civil.  6th District reaffirms that statute of limitations tolling under RC 2305.15 -- absence from state -- does not require that defendant left state for purpose of avoiding service... 8th District rules that certified nursing practitioner not qualified to give expert testimony as to liability of hospital nurses for patient's bedsores; also holds that arbitration provision in case against nursing home in unenforceable for being procedurally and substantively unconscionable... 9th District reaffirms rule that prosecutor's decision to charge insulates complainant from liability for malicious prosecution, unless complainant has given false information or unduly pressured prosecutor...

The melting pot.  In City of Columbus v. Obasohan, the 10th District reverses defendant's conviction for resisting arrest, ruling that the trial court erred in excluding evidence that the arresting officer, when he arrived at the scene of an argument over a traffic accident, said something about "the damn Somalians again."  The court points out in a footnote that the defendant is actually Nigerian.

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