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 »

×

Friday Roundup

Once upon a time.  Travis had done all the right things, and he said all the right things.  I'd done my part, for sure.  Travis, who'd been down to the joint a couple times in the early part of the decade, had stayed out of trouble since then, until one night he came home and got into a scuffle with his girlfriend. There was some stuff about not letting her leave the house, and when he finally fell asleep on the couch, she called the cops.  They came in and arrested him, and when he went to grab for his pants, several bags of crack fell out.  But I'd gotten the prosecutor to drop the kidnapping charge, and Travis was looking at only a misdemeanor domestic violence and a trafficking charge.

That was still enough to get him shipped, so I'd told him he needed to clean up his act and prove to the judge that he was serious about overcoming his habit.  And he'd followed my advice to a T.  At the sentencing, I was able to give the judge attendance sheets showing that in the past 41 days, Travis had been at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting 26 times.  The judge, very knowledgeable on the subject of addiction, quizzed Travis about the meetings, his efforts to get a sponsor, and so forth.  Travis answered easily, and also told the judge about how his efforts had allowed him to be reunited with his girlfriend and his three kids, and how he'd realized how important it was for him to be a good father.  He'd been clean now for forty-five days.  One day at a time.  He'd only worked a couple of jobs in the past three years, but he was getting that together, too, and he'd lined up a couple of interviews.  The judge, obviously impressed, gave him two years of community control sanctions.

Outside the courtroom, Travis hugged me and thanked me profusely.  "You did what you had to do, man," I said, giving credit where credit was due.

At which point Travis looked away, then back at me, then dropped his voice to a conspiratorial hush.  "Hey, you think they'll test me today?"

*   *   *   *   *

For the record, every notice of a hearing I send to a client in a criminal case contains this phrase at the bottom:

If you plead guilty or are convicted on the date of the hearing, you will be tested for drugs and alcohol.

Just like that, bolded.  I include this to prevent a repeat of the long-ago conversation which prompted it, after I went out and explained to my client that the pre-sentence report showed he'd tested positive for drugs when he went down to the probation department right after his sentencing:

CLIENT:  But you didn't tell me I'd be tested for drugs.

ME:  Gosh, you're right.  It's my fault.

Speaking of sentencings, the Saga of Shawn comes to a merciful end.  For those who missed previous episodes, a quick recap:

  • Shawn is charged with leading the police on 100-mph automobile chase.  (A 100-mph horseback or foot chase would certainly be memorable, no?)  I cleverly find proof that he wasn't the driver, and the prosecutor agrees to drop the fleeing charge and let Shawn plead to a 4th and 5th degree felony.
  • Which Shawn would've done on the day of trial, had he shown up.
  • Notwithstanding Shawn's absence, when he does show I talk the judge into letting him back out on bond, talk the prosecutor into dropping the 4th degree felony, and get the judge to agree to give Shawn probation.
  • Which he would've done at Shawn's sentencing, had Shawn shown up.
  • Shawn's mother instead took him to a funeral, then rejected my advice of having him turn himself in.

So Shawn gets pick up in the inevitable traffic stop, and here we are in front of the judge.  I make the pitch, in roundabout fashion, that Shawn's mother is the real bad guy here, and she probably is:  I called and told her the day before the sentencing to make sure Shawn showed up for that, and she decided it was more important to take him to the funeral.  But the judge pointed out that Shawn also had about four outstanding warrants for other misdeeds; "We can't blame that on Momma, can we?"

The judge gave him six months.  Outside, the mother asked only a single question:  "When does he get out?"  "With jail credit, he'll do another three months," I answered, suppressing the urge to strangle her.

Boo f*****g hoo.  The word for today is Schadenfreude, a German word meaning, "taking delight in the misery of others."  (And if anybody had a word for that, you'd figure it would be the Germans.)  It's prompted by the release of the 2010 Client Advisory, a publication intended to advise the major legal firms -- affectionately known as BigLaw -- of the legal market.  And the news wasn't good; we are told that "it was the worst year for the legal market in at least the past half century."  We're introduced to a number of charts, all of which have a downward tilt as the year progresses, which resulted in the top 250 firms laying off a total of 5,259 lawyers in 2009, with associates hardest hit, their ranks thinned by almost 9% during the year.

But all was not lost.  While many of the BigLaw markets -- general corporation, tax, real estate, and capital -- went to negative growth by 10 to 15%, there was one bright spot:  the demand growth in bankruptcy jumped by about 20%.

Search

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