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

Wasted youth.  As Jim Croce might have put it, you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger, and you don't screw with a Federal judge.  Or his clerks.  With a hat-tip to Legal Blogwatch, we find that 19-year-old Texas college freshman Kelsey Golston learned this the hard way.  When called for jury duty, she failed to appear, told a clerk who called her that she'd had a flat tire, and hung up on the clerk when she called back later and told Golson that the judge wanted her to appear the next day to explain herself.

There's an old joke about the difference between God and a U.S. District Judge being that God doesn't think he's a U.S. District Judge, and those of us who've had the pleasure of appearing before the latter can guess what happened next:

Kelsey Gloston stood in ankle and wrist restraints in court Tuesday afternoon wearing flip flops, a tight white T-shirt, short-shorts and sporting green streaks in her hair.

But while Kelsey might have skipped over the stuff in social studies about the right to jury trial, her father instinctively knew what a true-blooded American should do in such a situation:  he announced that he planned to sue because Kelsey's "ankles were bleeding and bruised from the restraints," and gave a less-than-ringing endorsement of his daughter and his own parenting skills:  "She's 19, she's ignorant, she's a kid. They don't take anything seriously."

But all's well that ends well.  Kelsey appeared in court the next day and read from a written apology, the judge announced he wouldn't hold her in contempt, and dad said he'd reconsidered and wouldn't sue.  He did comment earlier that his daughter shouldn't be treated "like she murdered 25 people along the freeway," failing to understand that, in the pecking order of Federal offenses, murdering 25 people on the highway probably ranks below dissing a district judge.

It's not that "Commando" shouldn't have been seen by anyone under 18.  It shouldn't have been seen by anyone.  The Supreme Court finished oral argument for the term this week, but the big news was the Court's acceptance of certiorari in Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association.  California, like some other states, bans the sale of violent video games to minors; the law defines a violent game as one "in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being" in a way that is "patently offensive," appeals to minors' "deviant or morbid interests" and lacks "serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."  The 9th Circuit tossed the law last year. 

The Court's decision to accept review surprised many.  State laws on this subject have been uniformly struck down, so there's no controversy between the circuits, which is usually a reason for the Supreme Court to step in.  And given the reversal of the animal cruelty video case just the week before, it doesn't seem likely that the Court would overrule the 9th's decision.  Some have suggested otherwise:  that the Court might be willing to take another look at restrictions which are limited to minors.

In any event, probably the best line on the whole thing was the observation of Ann Althouse:  "who could have imagined that one day the Supreme Court would take a case called 'Swcharzenegger,' and Schwarzenegger would be arguing for preventing young people from viewing graphic depictions of violence?"

They cut this scene from "Smokey and the Bandit."  Crime and Federalism poses the query of whether this is the "greatest tasering video of all time."  Certainly in the top ten, in my view.



Recent Entries

  • February 23, 2018
    Marsy's Law -- Restitution
    How the Victim's Rights Amendment passed last November affects restitution
  • February 20, 2018
    What's Up in the 8th
    A search decision, more "policies," and why a seminar for muni court judges on taking pleas might be a good idea
  • February 14, 2018
    Two more to death row
    A couple of death penalty decisions from the Ohio Supreme Court
  • February 12, 2018
    En banc on sentencing
    The 8th looks at the appellate court's role in reviewing sentences
  • February 8, 2018
    SCOTUS and the Fourth
    A couple of upcoming Supreme Court decisions on search and seizure
  • February 5, 2018
    What's Up in the 8th
    The benefits of appealing muni court cases, lecture time, and when you absolutely, positively, cannot raise arguments about manifest weight and sufficiency
  • February 2, 2018
    Friday Roundup
    School specs and sovereign citizens
  • January 31, 2018
    A tale of three cases
    The Ohio Supreme Court decides one case, and decides not to decide two others
  • January 29, 2018
    What's Up in the 8th
    Getting rid of an attorney, no contest pleas, and probation conditions
  • January 26, 2018
    Friday Roundup
    Information society. Last week I did a post about Aaron Judge and the lack of hard data in the field of criminal law. We have mainly anecdotal information on what kinds of sentences judges hand down, we have no idea...