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Case Update

The gang down in DC really knows how to holiday; nothing's scheduled for this week, and nothing's happened in the past two save for Chief Justice Roberts' yearly report on the state of the Federal judiciary, in which he devotes a substantial amount of time to complaining about judicial salaries (judges were the only federal employees not to get a cost-of-living pay raise last year) and the efforts the branch devotes to saving taxpayers money.  Well, yeah...  It's worth it to do a Federal case just to get a chance to see the judge's chambers in the Federal courthouse they built here in Cleveland a few years ago.  I'm not saying they're spacious, but the first time I walked into one, the secretary pointed me in the right direction and told me the judge's desk was just over the horizon.  

Down in Columbus, the big decision -- and about the only one -- was Middleburg Heights v. Quinones,  which involved the question of how municipalities could assess court costs in traffic cases.  The 8th District had ruled that costs could only be assessed per case, rather than per charge.  The Supreme Court agreed, but left a Grand Canyon-sized loophole:  a court can assess "special project fees" on a per charge basis.  And what can a special project fee be?  Just about anything the mind can imagine.

Finally, a reminder in Webber v. Kelly that a reversal for manifest weight of the evidence requires concurrence of all three judges on a court of appeals panel, while reversal on insufficiency requires only a majority.  Two judges had agreed that Webber's conviction of felonious assault was against the manifest weight, but he didn't raise an insufficiency argument until his habeas case, and by then it was too late.  Might not have mattered; there are different standards for the two, and a reversal on one doesn't mean there will be a reversal on the other.

Things didn't slow down much in the courts of appeals, though; they handed down almost 300 cases in the last two weeks.  The highlights...

Civil.  8th District holds that when a foreign judgment has been transferred to an Ohio court and becomes dormant, the Ohio court, not the issuing court, has jurisdiction to revive it... Court can allow late filing of responses to request for admissions despite rule's language that untimely filing results in requests being deemed admitted, 10th District says... Defendant's interest in proceeds of certificate of deposit in Ohio bank not sufficient for personal jurisdiction, 1st District says... 9th District says that injured person is not third-party beneficiary of tort-feasor's uninsured motorist insurance, has no right to sue insurer for bad faith... 1st District reverses court's disqualification of counsel, says trial judge didn't follow required procedure for doing so...

Criminal.  10th District rules that appellate court can consider evidence presented at trial in reviewing trial judge's denial of motion to suppress... 7th District affirms maximum consecutive sentences of 90 years in child rape case... Interesting discussion, by both majority and dissent, of when rape merges with gross sexual imposition in this 11th District case... 5th District reverses denial of postsentence motion to withdraw plea, holds that plea was based on false testimony by police at motion to suppress hearing, thus creating a "manifest injustice"... 2nd District says that defendant can't allege insufficiency of evidence in appeal from no-contest plea unless he can show complaint was defective... 9th District says that nolle pros of indictment wasn't done in open court, as rule requires, speedy trial time continued to run through reindictment... 11th District says that exigent circumstances can't justify search of defendant's home after fire, officer was not there to assist in putting out fire, but had responded to investigate possible marijuana grow... 2nd District tosses search where police stopped bus, searched defendant's passenger's bag based on anonymous tip...

Bullshit Lawsuit of the Week.  It apparently took Dolores Karnofel a bit too long to realize that her 11-year nephew and his parents weren't going to provide the deep pockets for the lawsuit she filed to recover for eye injuries she allegedly received "due to [the nephew] shooting a yellow Lance Armstrong 'Live Strong' bracelet at her."  Last week the 11th District affirmed the dismissal of her amended complaint seeking to add the Lance Armstrong Foundation as a new-party defendant, because she'd filed it seven months after the statute of limitations ran.

Did I mention she's proceeding pro se?


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