What's Up in the 8th
State v. Ennist has some good stuff about speedy trial. Did you know, for example, that a guilty plea waives your right to claim a violation of your statutory right to speedy trial, but not your constitutional right? Neither did I. Didn't make much difference, as it turns out; proving the constitutinal violation is a lot tougher than proving the statutory violation. What Ennist also stands for is the proposition that you're never going to get a plea vacated when you've got a record in the trial court like this:
"The Court: I understand that you've been vacillating back and forth and back and forth. I'm not here to strong-arm a plea out of you.
"The Defendant: I know, and I'm sorry. I strongly apologize. She's [Ennist's attorney] been doing great for me. I apologize, and I plead guilty to the charge, ma'am, the intimidation.
"The Court: Okay. You know what, Mr. Ennist, I'm going to give you and [your attorney] a chance to talk. The Court will stay on the bench, and I'll have [the prosecutor] remain at the trial table, as well. I want to make sure that you are entering this plea fully understanding that there will be no trial, if you change your plea, and all of the other trial rights that you would be waiving. Okay, Mr. Ennist?
"The Defendant: I really appreciate it."
In Ohio Cas. Ins. Co. v. Robinson, the court takes a look at two civil rules: 3(A), which requires that service be obtained within a year of filing the complaint, and 4(E), which allows a trial court to dismiss a case if the plaintiff can't show good cause why service hasn't been obtained within six months. The plaintiff had obtained good service on one defendant, and had been trying to get service on the other; service by publication was actually completed five days after the court dismissed the case against both defendants. That was a good enough attempt at service to warrant a reversal.
Gates v. Speedway Superamerica teaches a simple, but important, lesson: if you're a customer at a gas station which isn't properly lit, and you fall down, it sucks to be you, because the gas station -- or any business owner -- isn't obligated to light the area.
Finally, I'm guessing that the supporters of Issue 5 will decide not to highlight the decision in Buckeye Check Cashing v. Madison. Issue 5 is the referendum measure intended to repeal the recent legislation limiting payday lenders to a miserly 28% interest rate on their loans. (It's explained in more detail here, and yes, the existence of a web site called "ballotpedia.com" is probably one of the 12 signs of the apocalypse.) Ms. Madison got a loan of $400, which she didn't repay, but the not-so-fine print allowed Buckeye to recoup a hefty 212% of that: there was the $60 charge for the loan, plus interest at 5% a month, and then a charge of $250 in attorney fees for suing to recover the money... The trial court, bless its Robin Hood heart, had granted judgment for only $400, but the 8th District concluded that the contract terms were unambiguous and, unfortunately, Ms. Madison had never entered an appearance or filed a brief to argue that the allowance of attorney fees was against public policy or that the contract was unconscionable. Hard to figure why she couldn't pay an attorney to do that for her.