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 »


Case Update

No news on the Potomac, but the Court will hear oral argument today in Rivera v. Illinois, which presents an unusual fact pattern and an interesting issue.  The judge had overruled a defense peremptory challenge in voir dire, holding that it was discriminatory (yes, Virginia, Batson applies to defense challenges, too), and seated the juror.  The courts later determined that the judge was wrong to do so.  Does that require automatic reversal of the jury verdict?  Although the Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue, most courts have held that a Batson error isn't subject to harmless error analysis.  (In the only Ohio case that I could find which discussed the question, the 2nd District ruled that harmless error analysis was proper, but that involved a case where the disputed juror was seated as an alternate, and never participated in deliberations.)  The normal Batson error, of course, involves dismissing a juror who should have been seated.  This presents the flip side of that issue.

Down in Columbus, the only decision of note -- to me, anyway -- was State v. Brewer.  Brewer's conviction for gross sexual imposition had been reversed because of improper admission of hearsay testimony, and he claimed that without that testimony, the evidence was insufficient to convict him, and double jeopardy barred his retrial.  The 8th District didn't buy it, and the Supreme Court affirms, holding that in reviewing the sufficiency of evidence, the appellate court can consider all the evidence, including that which was improperly admitted.

So, let's take a look at what happened in the courts of appeals...

Civil.  1st District says that Texas defendant's solicitation of investment from Ohio cousin was sufficient transaction of business to give Ohio courts personal jurisdiction over him... 6th District holds that trial court couldn't use nunc pro tunc entry to reverse dismissal of case for failure of plaintiff and counsel to appear for trial... 11th District affirms grant of summary judgment where plaintiff fell while exiting elevated booth at restaurant, says step was open and obvious... Statute of limitations did not run in legal malpractice action because lawyer had not unequivocally indicated that his representation had terminated... 8th District says that once clerk notes on its docket that it's served final judgment on parties, service of judgment is deemed complete, whether party actually gets it or not...

Criminal.  Well, duh:  8th District rejects allegation of Colon error in criminal tools statute, says "with purpose" means same thing as "purposely"... 10th District rejects defendant's claim that he was entitled to discovery of videotape interview of victim in child rape case...  Tastes great, or less filling?  9th District affirms tampering with evidence conviction of defendant for swallowing bag of meth...  Bad check cases could be aggregated to get to felony level, says 10th District... 12th District bounces case for speedy trial violation, says that mere entry of arrest warrant into law enforcement data system not sufficient diligence to toll time... In felony OVI case, 11th District holds that defendant can attack prior convictions only on basis he wasn't represented by counsel, not on failure to comply with other rules or statutes... 2nd District vacates plea in rape case because plea form incorrectly told defendant he would be eligible to file for judicial release...

High times.  Assignment of error of the week, in the 10th District's case of  State v. Bankston:



Recent Entries

  • June 28, 2017
    Plea Bargaining -- The defendant's view
    A look at the Supreme Court's decision last week in Lee v. United States
  • June 27, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A worrisome decision on expert funding, and, mirabile dictu, a court's dismissal of a case for a discovery violation is upheld
  • June 23, 2017
    Crime and the First Amendment
    Facebook and sex offenders, and encouraging someone to kill himself
  • June 20, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    I come a cropper, plus inventory searches and mandatory probation
  • June 19, 2017
    Case Update - SCOTUS
    What's coming up in the US Supreme Court in the next two weeks
  • June 12, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    After weeks in the desert, we come upon an oasis of defense wins
  • June 7, 2017
    A switch in time
    Why what the Supreme Court did in Aalim II and Gonzales II is a bad thing
  • June 6, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A turnabout on prior calculation and design, and harmless error in all its manifestations
  • June 5, 2017
    Case Update
    A death penalty case, fourteen years after the crime, and we're just getting started. And two appellate decisions on search and seizure.
  • May 31, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    "What's a law enforcement accountability activist?" asked someone never, but the answer is here. Plus, cell phone experts, joinder, and the fading glory that was State v. Hand.