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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

The big case out of the Supreme Court last week was somewhat timely, in light of the Eliot Spitzer saga.  Jackson v. Columbus dealt with an investigation in to the city's police chief concerning allegations involving gambling, prostitution, and favoritism.  Included in the subsequent report was an allegation made by a prison inmate that Jackson had impregnated a juvenile prostitute.  The report noted that the inmate "had a reputation of being a 'scam artist,' a 'liar,' and 'not reliable as he uses information to his advantage,'" so Jackson sued, arguing that the publication of a report from a source such as this constituted publication with knowledge of its falsity, or recklessness in that regard, which is the necessary showing for a public official to avoid First Amendment protection for the reporting party.  The lower courts didn't buy it, but the Supreme Court did, reversing summary judgment for the paper.

One of Jackson's arguments was that the investigators didn't even talk to him, and if they had, they would have learned he couldn't have fathered a child, because he'd had a vasectomy.  Guess it's too late for Eliot to try the erectile dysfunction defense...  In light of all this, my faithful readers can take comfort in knowing that should my own probity be questioned, I can promise you that I have spent nowhere near $80,000 on prostitutes in the last few years, as I reassured my wife last night.

On to the courts of appeals...

Civil.  1st District gives crash course in civil procedure:  defendant sued 3rd-party defendant, got summary judgment against plaintiff, plaintiff filed suit after statute ran against 3rd party, when that was denied, filed appeal.  Court holds that statute ran against 3rd party, appeal not valid against defendant because they weren't included in notice... 8th District affirms grant of stay for arbitration in home purchase agreement... 7th District reverses summary judgment for insurance company in case involving coverage for insured while he was making delivery for employer, says driving "for a fee" exclusion is ambiguous, applies only where driver paid a fee for specific delivery, not just getting paid an hourly wage... Where school releases student to noncustodial parent and custodial parent sues, 8th District says school entitled to sovereign immunity, but schoolteacher is not... 11th District affirms summary judgment in wrongful death case, says coroner's report's conclusionthat death was suicide created rebuttable presumption of cause of death...

Criminal.  8th District affirms suppression of statement as involuntary:  police had persuaded mildly retarded defendant to write letter of apology to aunt for going through her purse, then used statement to charge her... 9th District affirms denial of new trial motion based on judge allowing jurors to take jury instructions home, says no evidence aliunde of the misconduct... Catch-22:  Defendant makes ineffective assistance of counselclaim because his attorney failed to request examination of witness statement under CrimR 16, 5th District says it can't consider error because witness statements aren't part of record.  Probably because counsel forgot to ask for them.  I'm just guessing here... 2nd District tosses admission in juvenile case, says while magistrate in plea hearing did inform defendant of rights, he didn't inform him of nature of charges... 5th District says that defense counsel's prior representation of key prosecution witness not conflict of interest...

Bullshit traffic stop of the week.  In State v. Bouie, the police officer stopped the defendant's car because the defendant put the turn signal on as the car was making the turn, instead of putting it on the required distance before turning.  Which, in case you were wondering, is 100 feet.


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