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Case Update

SCOTUS comes back into session next week, and with the dismissal of Briscoe v. Virginia, the only big criminal cases remaining on the Court's docket are the two on life without parole for juveniles, discussed here, and discrepancies in the Miranda warning, discussed here.  The gang down in Columbus wasn't very prolific this past week, either.  The major news was the acceptance of State v. Hodge, discussed last week, which presents the issue of how Oregon v. Ice impacts State v. Foster's determination that judicial fact-finding for imposing consecutive sentences is unconstitutional.  The interesting tidbit on Hodge is that the decision to accept it was only 4-3, with an unlikely alignment of Justices Pfeifer, Lundberg Stratton, and Cupp dissenting.

But while some cases come, some go.  In the latter category is State v. Rardon, which presented an interesting fact situation:  police responded to a disturbance call, saw Rardon throw something in the grass, and retrieved a flare gun.  He was charged with possession of a deadly ordnance and tampering with evidence, the latter from his trying to discard the item.  The trial court found him not guilty on the first -- a flare gun is specifically defined in the Revised Code as a "safety device" -- but guilty of the latter.  The case thus presented the intriguing question of whether a defendant can be convicted of tampering with "evidence" that actually isn't evidence of anything.  Alas, we'll never know; last week Rardon got kicked out becuase of a missed filing deadline.

On to the court of appeals...

Criminal.  Trial court's allowance of battered woman syndrome evidence in trial for defendant's killing of girlfriend impermissible, says 6th District, since explanation of why girlfriend stayed with defendant irrelevant; error harmless, though... 8th District says that defendant not entitled to discovery in post-conviction relief proceeding... 6th District vacates plea for failure of trial court to inform defendant of post-release control; original appellate counsel had filed an Anders brief... Police chase defendant for no good reason, arrest him, find he has outstanding warrant; 2nd District says that defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy because of warrant, affirms denial of motion to suppress... In shaken baby case where defendant acquitted of felony murder, but jury hung on involuntary manslaughter, 6th District holds that retrial on latter count not barred under double jeopardy, either on elements or issue preclusion theory...

Civil.  Detective injured in auto accident while going to court on subpoena eligible for workers comp benefits, says 8th District; good discussion of "coming and going" rule... Plaintiff filed suit in common pleas court, court decides it should have been filed in Court of Claims, transfers it there; 10th District holds that there's no statutory authority for such a transfer, upholds dismissal of claim for lack of jurisdiction... 9th District holds that by showing up at hearing, husband waived claim of lack of personal jurisdiction because he hadn't received service of complaint, distinguishes cases saying that filing leave to file answer doesn't waive claim...

Ahead of the curve.  Ebay Fuller's mother was certainly prescient in some respects, giving him that name way back in 1977, when the Internet, let alone the on-line auction site, wasn't even imagined by most people.  As we learn in the 8th District's decision last week in State v. Fuller, though, there's a flip side to that.  When an informant wandered into a Cleveland police station claiming he could purchase Ecstasy from someone he knew only as "Ebay," police quickly checked -- what else, the Internet -- and found that there were only two people by the first name of "Ebay" in the entire State of Ohio, and only one in Cleveland.  The deal goes down, and Ebay now has three years of imprisonment to despair that web sites like this one weren't available in 1977 so that his mother could have chosen a more popular name.  Wouldn't have done the informant much good to claim that he could buy Ecstasy from someone named Michael, would it?

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