Reason No. 38 why I don't practice divorce law. There must have been some sweaty palms over on the 3rd floor of the Lakeside courthouse, home to the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Division, in the wake of the Ohio Supreme Court's decision the other day in Disciplinary Counsel v. Sargeant. Sergeant was a judge of the Sandusky County Common Pleas Court, and was publicly reprimanded by the Supreme Court for "unnecessary and unjustified delay" in ruling on six separate cases. Several divorce cases had dragged on for two years.
Well, if Sergeant was on the bench here, his nickname would be "Speedy." As chronicled by the Plain Dealer, the town's favorite fishwrap, divorce cases here can languish for as long as four years. (Actually, longer; one lawyer in my office was upset that he wasn't interviewed for the article, claiming that he has the longest unresolved case: the complaint was filed six years ago, and the final hearing was just continued for the seventh time.)
After the appearance of the newspaper article, various excuses were proffered and promises of correction made. The decision in Sergeant might provide a further prod in that direction. Meanwhile, word is that plans to officially rename the Domestic Relations Court "The Land that Time Forgot" have been put on hold.
More on sex offender residency restrictions. A study was published a couple of months back in the Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior with the imposing title, "Does Residential Proximity Matter? A Geographic Analysis of Sex Offense Recidivism." From the abstract:
Examining the potential deterrent effects of a residency restrictions law in Minnesota, this study analyzed the offense patterns of every sex offender released from Minnesota correctional facilities between 1990 and 2002 who was reincarcerated for a new sex offense prior to 2006. Given that not one of the 224 sex offenses would have likely been prevented by residency restrictions, the findings from this study provide little support for the notion that such restrictions would significantly reduce sexual recidivism.
Forum-shopping. Overlawyered points us to an article about the "Texarkana triangle, labeled "'the third worst judicial hellhole' by the American Tort Reform Foundation for its 'plaintiff-friendly' decisions in patent infringement lawsuits." That friendliness apparently extends to other torts, too:
Within the United States, motor vehicle product liability cases consist of only 0.18 percent of all lawsuits filed since 2004. In Texas since 2004, those cases are 0.72 percent of all Texas lawsuits. So since 2004, Texas has received 28 percent of all U.S. motor vehicle product liability cases.
But what is most significant is that of those Texas cases, 61 percent are filed in the Eastern District of Texas. That means that of all the U.S. motor vehicle product liability cases, 17 percent are being filed in the Eastern District of Texas.
The two major cities in the Marshall Division - Marshall and Texarkana -- have a combined population of around 60,000.
Scheduling matters. Because of the holiday, there'll be no post here on Monday. I'm getting a new grill on Saturday (a Weber Genesis EP-310), just in time to have our biannual spare rib feast. (The other occasion is on Labor Day.) I'll be back with the Case Update on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I'll talk about one of those cases, the Supreme Court decision last week affirming a 139-year sentence for three home robberies, where the trial judge had given the defendant maximum consecutive sentences on a plea. See you then.