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Friday Roundup

Technological meltdown.  The Luddites might have had a point.  For the last three weeks, there's been a little icon on my computer, telling me that "new updates are ready to be installed."  On Tuesday, I check it out, and it's for Windows Service Pack 3, the latest patch intended to make me secure from hackers and viruses.  Sure, I say.  I go through the steps to start the install, it does what it's supposed to do, and twenty minutes later tells me that I need to reboot the computer to complete the intallation.  I click the button to restart, then turn to my desk to do a few things while the computer goes through the reboot procedure.

When I turn around after a few minutes, I'm greeted by the Blue Screen of Death.  "Fatal System Error," I'm told.  This has happened to me from time to time, on various computers I've had in the 26 years I've been using them, so it's no big deal.  I use Bensing's First Rule of Computer Repair:  pull the plug, wait ten seconds, then plug it in again and reboot.  I get the BSoD again.  And again.

I spend an hour checking the web on another computer, and learn that this is not an uncommon problem after installing Service Pack 3.  There are a number of recommended fixes, and I try them all, and none of them work.  I spend three, count' em, three hours on the phone with assorted flunkies from Dell and Microsoft, all of them competing with each other to see who would be the most unknowledgeable or unhelpful.  (Pretty much of a tie, it turned out.)  Bottom line is that I need to reinstall Windows, which will destroy my data, so I have to have somebody take all the data off first, and that costs money and takes time, neither of which I have in abundance.  But a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, so some man came and took my computer away, and that's what he's gotta do...

By the way, did I mention that I lost my cell phone on Monday?  No?

Adam Sandler's next movie idea.  Back in June, I told you about RC 2921.38, ominously titled "harassment with bodily substance," which essentially prohibits someone who might be inclined to hurl "blood, semen, urine, feces, or another bodily substance" at somebody else from doing so.  (And yes, it would be fascinating to see a court engage in an extended discussion of the application the doctrine of ejusdem generis to the statute.)  And then, courtesy of the Volokh Conspiracy, I run across this story, about a defendant who responded to being arrested for drunk driving in the following fashion:

During fingerprinting, Cruz then allegedly moved closer to one of the officers and passed gas, the station reported. In the complaint, the investigating officer wrote that police noticed a "very strong" odor.

Lest our General Assembly think that they need to come up with a statute which might criminalize such conduct, West Virginia decided to go with a charge of simple assault on a police officer.

That's a good one for CourtTV.

Swann dive.  I've been telling you for the past week that I was going to explain the Ohio Supreme Court's recent decision in State v. Swann.  Turns out I already did, pretty much, after the oral argument back in May.  The case involved the trial judge's exclusion of evidence that another person had confessed to the crime for which Swann was charged, on the grounds that the evidence wasn't sufficiently corroborated to be reliable.  Two judges on the court of appeals had concluded this was error, but one wrote an opinion deciding that it was a constitutional violation of defendant's right to present a defense, basing that on a US Supreme Court decision which wasn't really comparable.  That wound up being the "majority opinion," and that's the issue that the Ohio Supreme Court took up.

In my post back in May, I'd predicted that the court would do what the prosecutor requested:  reverse the case and remand it back to the court of appeals to determine whether the trial judge had abused his discretion in excluding the evidence.  That's exactly what the court did, and my prognosticative skills, along with $3.75, will get me a cup of mocha java at the Starbucks across the street.  Back then, I'd worried that, given that deferential standard of review, the court of appeals might figure they didn't want to get reversed twice on the same case, and uphold the trial judge.  I don't think that's going to be a problem, though; Justices Lanzinger, Lindberg Stratton, and Pfeiffer dissented from the result, saying that there was sufficient evidence in the record to conclude that the trial judge had abused his discretion in disallowing the testimony.

So all's right with the world.  Or, at least, will be, when I get my computer back.  And get another cell phone...


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