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Commentary and analysis of Ohio criminal law and whatever else comes to mind, served with a dash of snark.  Continue Reading »


Case Update

As I mentioned last week, SCOTUS has ended oral arguments for the term; among the most notable last week was Doe v. Reed, in which the Court is asked to decide whether a state public records law requires the disclosure of signers of an anti-gay-marriage ballot petition initiative.  The notable decision from the Court was Salazar v. Buono, in which the Court upheld, by a 5-4 vote, a 2004 law which had authorized a veterans group to erect a Christian cross on the Federal land in the Mojave desert.  The cross had been there since 1937, but nobody had raised an issue about it until a Buddhist group was denied right to build a shrine nearby. 

While SCOTUS has decided 33 cases so far, 44 that have been argued this term still are awaiting decision.  Courtesy of SCOTUSBlog, here's a list of the cases still pending.  The big ones are on the imposition of life without parole sentences on juveniles, discussed here and here, and the prosecutions under the "honest services" law, discussed here.

Nothing from the gang down in Columbus except for the flogging of the usual lawyer miscreants, so let's get to the courts of appeals...

Criminal.  In Hyle v. Porter (discussed here), Ohio Supreme Court held that sex offender residency restriction under former RC 2950.031 couldn't be applied to person who committed offense and owned home before effective date of act in 2005.  6th District joins 5th, 10th, and 11th Districts in holding that this means act can't be applied to person who committed offense before effective date of act, even if he subsequently acquired the property... Aggravated murder and aggravated burglary are not allied offenses, says 8th District... Defense counsel in child rape case didn't render ineffective assistance by failing to call expert on false reporting of rape allegations by children, 2nd District holds... Guilty plea waived issue of trial court's denial of motion to continue trial date, 9th District rules... Defendant's testimony that he was in fear of victim at time he stabbed him not sufficient to warrant jury instruction on inferior offense of aggravated assasult, says 10th District; fear insufficient to demonstrate "sudden passion or fit of rage"...

Civil.  6th District says that trial court was right to award proceeds of life insurancy policy to wife; husband had changed beneficiaries in violation temporary injunction after wife had filed for divorce...  2nd District says that sovereign immunity statute does not protect political subdivision against employee discrimination suit... Company resisting discovery on grounds that material sought is a trade secret has burden of showing it; conclusory affidavit insufficient, says 6th District... Employee who injured foot running in marathon sponsored by employee not entitled to workers comp benefits, 9th District rules; event not limited to employees, not held on its property, and not supervised by company...

Yeah, I know you do things differently in juvenile court, but still... In Leone v. Owen, the 6th District reverses the grant of a civil protection order against a juvenile.  The two boys involved, 12 and 13 years old, showed up with their fathers, and the magistrate permitted the fathers to cross-examine each others' kid.  The least of the problems with this procedure is the unauthorized practice of law, and that, coupled with the failure to get a knowing waiver of counsel out of the juvenile, was enough to toss the case.  The court raised an interesting question, but really didn't get around to deciding it:  getting a civil protection order is a civil matter, and normally you don't get appointed counsel for a civil case.  But violation of the order is a criminal offense, should that mean you're entitled to appointed counsel when the protection order is sought? 

And your point is?  In State v. Coe, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in admitting certain photographs, because "the photographs selected by the prosecutor were designed to sensationalize  the injuries of the victims rather than prove the elements of the State's case."


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