Welcome to The Briefcase

Commentary and analysis of Ohio criminal law and whatever else comes to mind, served with a dash of snark.  Continue Reading »


Friday Roundup

I've got one of those Charge of the Light Brigade briefs -- onward, onward, into the valley of "judgment affirmed" -- due today, in Federal court no less, so let's just take a quick spin around the web.

The Post-Heller landscape.  I'd written a number of posts (here and here) suggesting that the Supreme Court's decision last June in District of Columbia v. Heller could have some major ramifications on criminal law.  My argument was that the Court, by establishing a fundamental right to bear arms, had opened the door to claims that weapons disability laws, and even gun specifications, in some cases weren't based on a sufficient showing of a compelling governmental interest to pass constitutional muster. 

There have been some interesting developments, but not the ones I anticipated.  In fact, as Doc Berman's post over at SL&P notes, the courts have uniformly rejected claims that Heller altered the landscape for laws regulating gun possession.  In fact, as this article demonstrates, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence views Heller as a plus:  the establishment of a fundamental right to own a gun takes gun confiscation, the big bugaboo of gun rights groups, off the table, leaving room for "common-sense" gun regulations.  As the Center explains:

The Court went out of its way to make clear that most gun laws are 'presumptively' constitutional while also putting to rest gun owners' fears of a total ban or ultimate confiscation of all firearms.  By taking the extremes of the gun policy debate off the table, Heller has the potential to allow genuine progress in implementing reasonable gun restrictions, while protecting basic rights to possess firearms. The unintended consequence of Heller is that it may end up 'de-wedgeifying' one of the more divisive 'wedge' issues on the political landscape: guns. The net result of Heller would then be positive by leading to the enactment of the strong gun laws that we need -- and the vast majority of Americans want -- to protect our communities from gun violence.

And lo and behold, as this article notes, Heller's also getting some tough love from the right, with two prominent conservative Federal judges claiming that the decision "is illegitimate, activist, poorly reasoned and fueled by politics rather than principle," and contending that the ruling was "the right-wing version of Roe v. Wade."  That's some serious smack.

Pissing in a bottle.  Courtesy of Drug War Rant, we find this article, informing us that Polk County, Florida officials are brimming with enthusiasm for extending drug testing of students beyond athletes, and including "all students involved with extracurricular activities."  Or, at least, certain activities:

The district's expanded testing will include students who participate in activities that involve some kind of competition, something in which a first-, second- and third-place award is presented, Kelley-Fritz said.

I was on the debate team in high school.  Just think:  if our school had something like this back then, me and my teammates wouldn't have done lines of blow in the bathroom before trudging off to a tournament to debate the anti-ballistic missile system.

Seriously, one of the main purposes of a system of public education is socializiation:  to inclulcate young people with society's values.  We are raising a generation of people to believe that the 4th Amendment and the concept of privacy do not grant rights, but are merely obstacles to the government's regulation of our lives.  And trivial obstacles at that.

Good news, bad news.  For lawyers, anyway.  Turns out that the legal profession Work.jpgisn't immune to the economic slump, as this picture over at Above the Law shows.  This Washington Post article details some of the carnage:  capping associate salaries, layoffs, even firm closings.  But there's good news, too: 

Fees could reach a record $1.4 billion for lawyers, accountants and other professionals working on the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy, the largest in U.S. history.

Have a good weekend.  I'll see you on Monday.


Recent Entries

  • August 15, 2017
    Summer Break
    Got a bunch of stuff to do over the next couple weeks, and with the slowdown in the courts, it's a good time to take a break. I'll be back here on August 28. See you then....
  • August 11, 2017
    Friday Musings
    Drug trafficking, ADA lawsuit abuse, and e-filing
  • August 10, 2017
    Case Update
    Waiting on SCOTUS; two Ohio Supreme Court decisions
  • August 7, 2017
    Two on allied offenses
    A look at the 8th District's latest decisions on allied offenses
  • August 3, 2017
    Thursday Ruminations
    Computerized sentencing, lawyer ads, and songs from the past
  • August 1, 2017
    8th District Roundup
    One thing that doing this blog has taught me is how much the law changes. The US Supreme Court's decisions in Blakely v. Washington and Crawford v. Washington have dramatically altered the right to jury trial and confrontation, respectively. The...
  • July 28, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    The better part of discretion
  • July 26, 2017
    Supreme Court Recap - 2016 Term
    My annual review of the Supreme Court decisions from the past term
  • July 24, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Some things we knew, some things we didn't
  • July 21, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    Computers and sex offenders, civil forfeiture, and phrases that should be put out to pasture