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

As you're reading this, there might be an opinion coming down from the US Supreme Court; only twice since 1968 has the court started a term without issuing a decision before December.   The Court has issued three per curiam reversals, one of which we'll talk about on Wednesday.  The big attraction in DC, though, was the filing of the amicus briefs in McDonald v. Chicago, the case involving the application of the 2nd Amendment to the states.  (If you have more time than you know what to do with, a full list of the amicus filings is here, with links to the briefs.)  For those of us who are into constitutional law, the most interesting aspect of the case is the attempt to revive the 14th Amendment's Privileges and Immunities Clause as a means of incorporating the Bill of Rights.  The Clause was rendered moribund by some post-Reconstruction decisions, which most scholars now regard as horribly reasoned; the Court instead adopted the amendment's Due Process Clause as the vehicle for incorporation.  And it also looks like the Court in McDonald, unlike in Heller, will have to tackle the question of whether gun regulations will be subject to strict scrutiny, the rational basis test, or something in between. 

Nothing going on in Columbus, and little else percolating in the courts of appeals.  A look...

Civil.   A bank's customers writes $23,000 in bad checks, four years later the bank gets around to suing him.  The statute of limitations for that is three years, the bank tries to get around it by making a claim for "unjust enrichment," the 1st District says no, it's what the claim is actually for, not what you call it, that determines the applicable limitations period... Trial court orders plaintiff to sign authorization allowing discovery of all her medical records, 10th District says no, court must conduct in camera inspection to see which ones are relevant to lawsuit... 11th District holds that motion to vacate is not a substitute for appeal, to the great benefit of the eight attorneys in this state who still don't know this...

Criminal.  Officer spots digital scales with "white powder" on it in back seat after traffic stop, that's not enough to support conviction for drug paraphernalia, says 12th District...  Back in January, the 7th District held that trial judge properly advised defendant of his constitutional rights, but failure to tell defendant that he was waiving these rights by pleading guilty required plea to be vacated.  Defendant makes the same argument to the 11th District, they're not buying it... Defendant takes girl at gunpoint from phone booth, drives her forty blocks away, rapes her twice; 8th District holds that firearm specs for rape and kidnapping merge, as it was one "continuous transaction"...

Probably because they were using live ammo.  In Baker v. Just for Fun Party Ctr., the 1st District's opinion begins with the recitation that the plaintiff's daughter "received an invitation for a child's birthday party" which "contained a half-page 'Waiver/Release.'" 

Uphill battles.  The moral of the story in the 8th District's decision in State v. Strozier:   if you're convicted of felonious assault based upon your own admission that you knocked the victim down, then sat on her and punched her in the face until she was unconscious, you're going to make it very difficult for your lawyer to win an appeal on insufficiency and manifest weight of the evidence.


Recent Entries

  • September 12, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Prior consistent statements, whether State v. Hand is applied retroactively, and a big Coming Attraction
  • September 11, 2017
    Case Update
    Looking back at Melendez-Diaz, and the 8th goes 0 for 2 in the Supreme Court
  • September 8, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    Pro bono work, screwed-up appeals, and is Subway shorting their customers?
  • September 5, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    The barriers to expungement, jury verdict forms, and hybrid representation
  • August 31, 2017
    Constructive possession
    Constructive possession is 9/10ths of the law
  • August 29, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A traffic stop found Samson Primm in possession of a few grams of marijuana, but he hires a lawyer and files a motion to suppress the stop. On the day of trial, the City asks to dismiss the case. Primm...
  • August 28, 2017
    Truth in plea bargaining
    So I got a brochure last week from Judge Donnelly over at the Common Pleas court. As you can see, it's a panel discussion on plea bargaining. The judge asked me to get out the word, so I just sort...
  • August 15, 2017
    Summer Break
    Got a bunch of stuff to do over the next couple weeks, and with the slowdown in the courts, it's a good time to take a break. I'll be back here on August 28. See you then....
  • August 11, 2017
    Friday Musings
    Drug trafficking, ADA lawsuit abuse, and e-filing
  • August 10, 2017
    Case Update
    Waiting on SCOTUS; two Ohio Supreme Court decisions