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Friday Roundup

Mind games.  I've mentioned judges sentencing on acquitted conduct before -- enhancing a sentence based on conduct the defendant had never been charged with, or had even been acquitted of, but a Federal judge in Illinois went one better:  he increased the sentence based on a finding that if the defendant had been out on bail, he would have tried to murder someone.  The 7th Circuit decides that's just a bit too over the top, and reverses

Overheard.  Line of the week, one lawyer talking about another lawyer:  "He lies so much he had to hire someone to call his dog."

Overload.  Several Ohio Supreme Court justices have implored the General Assembly to do something about sentencing in Ohio.  Now the plea comes from another source:  the Ohio prisons chief:

Ohio's prisons director says unless sentencing guidelines are changed, the state's inmate population will reach 60,000 within a decade.

Ohio prisons are at 132 percent capacity with 50,719 inmates. Collins told lawmakers that without changes, Ohio would have to spend about $1 billion by 2018 to build extra space for the increased number of inmates.

Overpaid?  Snaps to my main man Chief Justice Tom Moyer, who managed to guide the Ohio Supreme Court through the year at $1.5 million under budget, according to this press release.  Good news for bad times; the cratering economy has caused even Moyer's USSC counterpart, Chief Justice Roberts, to tone down his annual plea for more money for judicial salaries.  This may not merely reflect sentimentality toward the four million people who've lost their jobs over the past year; as the article notes, there's not exactly a paucity of people willing to take a job which allows them to retire after fifteen years at full salary for life.  Plus, as this article notes, recent research questions whether judges are really leaving the bench because of the low salaries, and also indicates that salaries don't have much relationship to judicial performance. 

Of course, some judges find unusual ways to augment their incomes;  as this article relates, two juvenile judges in Pennsylvania did so by getting kickbacks for sentencing kids to two privately run youth detention centers.

Overstressed.  Of course, judges aren't the only members of the legal profession feeling the economic pinch.  $1000 per hour billing rates appear on the way out, and in fact there's some question of whether the billable hour will even survive.  The market for those coming out of law school is pretty grim, with jobs in the legal sector down over 1% since a year ago.  This prompted the local fishwrap to write a story on depression in lawyers.  I started to read it, but it bummed me out so much I couldn't finish it.

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Recent Entries

  • March 20, 2017
    Taking time off
    I'm taking the week off. Have a major brief due on Thursday, plus a trial in Federal court starting next Monday. Plus, I'm pretty sure that Obama wiretapped me, too, so I'm working on getting to the bottom of that....
  • March 17, 2017
    What's Up with the 8th?
    The 8th District cases come out every Thursday. By about ten o'clock in the morning, the court will have posted the "weekly decision list" on its web site. It will give a summary of the case, usually in a sentence...
  • March 14, 2017
    Rippo and Pena-Rodriguez
    SCOTUS issues decisions on judicial recusal and biased jurors
  • March 13, 2017
    Case Update
    A SCOTUS decision on career offenders, and appellate cases on what a judge can consider in sentencing, and untimely motions to suppress
  • March 9, 2017
    A switch in time
    The court reverses itself in Gonzalez
  • March 8, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    More sentencing stories, and the right way to handle an Anders brief
  • March 7, 2017
    Case Update
    Knock and announce and the Ohio Constitution, and Anders briefs.
  • March 6, 2017
    Never mind
    The Ohio Supreme Court reverses Gonzalez.
  • March 2, 2017
    Of bright lines and bookbags
    Oral argument in State v. Oles and State v. Polk
  • February 28, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A good outcome in a search case, probably a good outcome (to be) in a drug case, and a very bad outcome in a child rape case