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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

Our Watch on the Potomac continues:  at least one Supreme Court opinion is expected tomorrow.  Still on tap:  the decision on the gun rights case, which I discussed here; forfeiture by wrongdoing under Crawford (here); and the FCC's "fleeting expletives" policy (here).  I'll have something later in the week on anything that does come down.  And sometime next month, I get to do several posts of the "Supreme Court year in review" variety.  Yet another reason to choose life.

Nothing out of Columbus, outside of a tax case and three more disciplinary cases, providing the standard caveats for attorneys wishing to keep practicing law:  don't try to make Internet sexual hookups with minors, especially if they're really FBI agents, don't get convicted of crimes, and don't take illegal drugs, especially if it's going to make you do things like take money without providing any services to your client. 

That latter case might serve as a note of caution to appellate lawyers:  one of the cited instances of misconduct was the attorney not showing up for oral argument in an appeal.  Considering the widely-recognized futility of oral argument -- former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Craig Wright was once asked if he could remember an occasion where oral argument had an effect, and after reflecting for several minutes, said there was one case where a 7-0 decision became a 6-1 decision -- that's a somewhat surprising result. 

On to the courts of appeals...

Criminal.  1st District holds that RC 2923.161, which prohibits discharging a firearm "at or into" a habitation, does not include discharging a firearm inside the habitation... Stunner from the 2nd:  defendant pleads out to rape with agreed 3-5 year sentence, gets 5 years, case gets a Foster remand for resentencing, judge simply reimposes original sentence; appellate court holds that judge's failure to give any indication that he'd considered 2929.11 or 2929.12 requires vacating and remanding sentence... 5th District says that tolling provision for statute of limitations doesn't apply to failure to pay child support, any support owed more than six years ago cannot serve as basis for charge...  2nd District says new sex offender registration and notification law ("Adam Walsh Act") not punitive, therefore person challenging reclassification not entitled to appointed counsel... 4th District says that add-on sentence for repeat violent offender specification was declared unconstitutional in Foster; other districts have ruled to the contrary, issue is pending before Supreme Court... 9th District says that admission of evidence of prior acts of abuse by defendant in domestic violence case were admissible where he raised accident as a defense...

Civil.  2nd District reverses verdict in med mal case, says trial court erred in prohibiting cross-examination of defense expert on "commonality of insurance":  that expert was covered by same carrier as defendant... 6th District holds that individual can't escape personal liability on lease by simply writing in her title after signature, must also state name of principal... 5th District says that denial of motion to intervene is final appealable order, but granting of motion is not... 2nd District upholds constitutionality of RC 9.481, which prohibits municipalities from requiring employees to live in the city... 9th District reverses trial court, finds that husband's support obligation should have been reduced because wife was voluntarily underemployed...

At least when I go to strip clubs, I don't carry a gun.  The facts in the lawyer misconduct case of Disciplinary Counsel v. Lodico are mercifully brief:

On January 9, 2005, respondent was involved in an incident at a Canton, Ohio strip bar. Respondent went to the bar with his girlfriend and two other women. He had been drinking before arriving there. As he was leaving the bar, respondent became involved in a physical altercation with six people in the parking lot. At one point, he pointed a .45-caliber Glock pistol with a laser sight at all six people, one at a time.


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