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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

It would be a lot easier for me to write about cases if there were cases to write about.  The Ohio Supreme Court hasn't handed down an opinion on a non-election-related case since October 23.  The big news out of the US Supreme Court was SCOTUSblog's eye-glazing account of how the Court had granted an amicus curiae 15 minutes of oral argument in an anti-trust case, instead of the customary 10.

So, without further ado, on to the courts of appeals...

Civil.  If you've got a will contest action for undue influence, read this 1st District case:  12, count 'em, 12 assignments of error, dealing with all kinds of meaty substantive and evidentiary issues... Patient's fall in hospital shower due to claimed negligence of nurse is a "medical claim" subject to one-year statute of limitations, says 5th District... 4th District affirms denial of summary judgment to police officers who released drunk driver's impounded car without court order, says officers' willful and wanton misconduct in doing so took case out of sovereign immunity... 5th District reverses grant of summary judgment in employer intentional tort case, good discussion of factors to consider in determining whether Fyffe test is met...

Criminal.  5th District says that officers had right to make warrantless entry into defendant's home to arrest parole violator, upholds defendant's conviction for obstructing justice and obstrucing official business for trying to block entry... Police stop vehicle for tinted windows, pat down defendant because of smell of burnt marijuana from car, find drugs; 2nd District says that whether police had right to pat down defendant immaterial, since he had an outstanding arrest warrant, and drugs would have been inevitably discovered when he was arrested on that... 10th District says that restitution cannot be ordered for losses caused by offenses which were dismissed as part of plea bargain, unless that restitution was part of bargain... Merely talking to a known criminal (in this case, a prostitute) is insufficient to constitute probable cause for arrest, but is sufficient "articulable suspicion" to permit a Terry stop of car, at least according to the 2nd District... 5th District says that destruction of blood sample did not violate defendant's rights, no finding of bad faith despite fact that court had ordered preservation of evidence...

Cases I never got done reading.  The opening paragraph in the 2nd District's decision in Leno v. James:  

This matter is before the Court on the pro se Notice of Appeal of Michelle A. James, filed December 19, 2007. On July 18, 2007, Alex Leno, who used to live with James at her apartment, filed a complaint in the Small Claims Division of Kettering Municipal Court, seeking the return of specific items left behind when he vacated James' apartment, including a gray cat named Brutis. A hearing was held on September 4, 2007, and James relinquished the items Leno sought, with the exception of Brutis. James asserted ownership of the cat. On October 30, 2007, the Magistrate issued a decision ordering James to return Brutis to Leno.


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