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Case Update

Nothing going on down in Columbus, but now with the elections over, maybe we'll see some things happening:  the oral argument calendar for the Supreme Court resumes next week.  Speaking of elections, 43 new judges were elected in Ohio last week.  If that doesn't seem like a whole lot, considering that we've got 88 counties, it isn't.  Although Ohio judges aren't given the lifetime appointments their Federal counterparts are, in practice you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference, other than the mandatory retirement age.  Only six incumbent judges were defeated in the entire state on Tuesday.  Here in Cuyahoga County, of the twelve judges -- common pleas and appellate -- running for re-election, only three were opposed.  And two of those had just been appointed to vacant seats this year.

Down in DC, no decisions as of yet, but the Court's going to have oral argument on Monday on a Crawford-related matter:  whether crime lab reports are testimonial, and thus require live testimony by the person who conducted the test and prepared the report.  I'll have more on that later this week.

As for the courts of appeals...

Civil.  8th District holds that non-compete covenant in sale of business entitled to less scrutiny than one entered into by employee... 9th District affirms another admitted liability/$0 damages case; tough to claim very limited ability to use left arm when surveillance video shows you carrying packages with it...  6th District affirms Ohio law upholding auto insurance exclusion for driver with invalid license, where license had expired a few days before accident; fact that driver has six months to renew license without penalty immaterial... 9th District reminds everyone that a judge signing a magistrate's order under the words "approved and adopted by" isn't a valid journal entry... Sure way to lose your teaching license, according to the 5th District:  show up drunk at a high school dance, tell a female student that "her ass looked good in her dress," then rub hands across aforementioned ass...

Criminal.  6th District says that police officer's pulling up behind defendant's car and blocking it from leaving driveway constitutes an investigatory stop, not a consensual encounter, reverses denial of motion to suppress... 4th District holds that conviction for escape is permissible, even where defendant breaks detention from illegal arrest... While better practice would be to orally advise defendant at plea hearing that court not bound by state's recommendation of sentence, plea still voluntary where that language is contained in written plea agreement, says 6th District... Ouch:  10th District says "basic pain compliance" -- pressing on defendant's jaw to get him to spit out bag of cocaine in his mouth -- was a reasonable search... 4th District holds that in light of Adam Walsh Act, designation of defendant as sexual predator under old law is moot... 12th District says that defendant waived right to closing argument in bench trial when his attorney and prosecutor didn't request one... Excellent discussion of when firearms specs merge in this 2nd District case...

Dufus of the week.  In State v. Hoskins, the 9th District affirms the defendant's conviction for abusing harmful intoxicants, namely, paint thinner.  The court's opinion contains several details on what a wonderful high this is:  "Hoskins was very slow to answer his questions, could not tell officers his name, did not appear to understand what was going on, was unsteady, and could not walk straight."  And it appears that the journey is every bit as much fun as the destination:

Hoskins' roommate testified that he observed Hoskins pour paint thinner into a white plastic bag, put it over his head, and breathe.  He testified that Hoskins was outside screaming, and that his words were slurred.

In the immortal words of Rodney King, can't we all get a bong?

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