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 - Appellate Edition

We looked at the US and Ohio Supreme Court decisions yesterday, so we'll pop the top and take a gander at the appellate decisions from the past week today...

Eric Walker, a minor, was badly injured in an auto accident, and through his father sued and obtained a judgment of $183,000, presenting evidence of medical bills in the amount of $93,000.  Two years later, the father sued for reimbursement of the the medical bills.  Too cute by half, the 1st District decides in Walker v. HodgeAlthough the father's suit was timely -- he filed four years to the day after the accident, and the statute for medical bills incurred by a parent is four years -- the evidence clearly indicated the jury considered the medical bills in the award of damages to the son, so it was res judicata. 

In Aldo v. Angle, the plaintiff mother argues that the trial court should have found the father was voluntarily underemployed after he quit his job with an private-sector aviation company to take a job with the Federal Aviation Administration.  The 2nd District holds that just taking a job for less pay doesn't constitute underemployment; here, the father took the job because it offered better security.  And Ezerski v. Mendenhall is a suit against a municipality for failure to secure storm sewer covers.  The trial court had granted the municipality summary judgment on sovereign immunity grounds, but the 2nd District reverses, finding that proper maintenance of the sewers is a proprietary, not governmental, function. 

Moving on to criminal cases, stale information will void a search warrant, but week-old information pertaining to drugs isn't stale, says the 6th District in State v. Alvarado.  If you're going to shoot up a house, killing one child and wounding another, the resulting convictions of involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and discharging a firearm into a habitation won't merge, says the 10th District in State v. Coffman.  What's more, pursuant to statute, the five-year specification for shooting out of a vehicle and the three-year spec for brandishing a firearm don't merge, either.  In State v. Phillips, the defendant argued that his four prior OVI convictions shouldn't have been admitted, because the records of them did not contain any written jury waivers.  No matter, says the 12th District; lack or invalid waiver of counsel is the only constitutional infirmity that can be used to collaterally attack a prior conviction and prevent it from being used to enhance a penalty. 

The March of Techology.  In State v. Osborne, the 9th District affirms the defendant's conviction for telephone harassment.  Osborne and another girl, both apparently intoxicated, had gone into a Verizon Wireless store and used one of the demonstration phones to send derogatory, racially-charged text messages to the victim.  And how did Osborne get caught?  The victim's sister worked in the store, saw Osborne and the other girl using the phone and carrying on, and knew Osborne had been harrassing the victim.

Here's some people who should probably read this blog.  In State v. Adams, the defendant's indictment for robbery included the mens rea element of recklessness, pursuant to State v. Colon.  At the close of the trial, the prosecution moved to amend the indictment by removing the the element of recklessness, and the trial court agreed, stating that it was "superfluous."  The 12th District reverses, and everybody gets to see if they can do it right the next time.

That's some organ you've got there.  The LEXIS headnote for Bryant v. Spear-Hardy

The trial court did not err by granting the civil stalking protection order, pursuant to R.C. 2903.214 and R.C. 2903.211, because there was sufficient evidence for the trial court to conclude that the wife had engaged in menacing by stalking. The pastor's wife knowingly caused the organist to believe that she would cause physical harm to her.


Recent Entries

  • July 21, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    Computers and sex offenders, civil forfeiture, and phrases that should be put out to pasture
  • July 20, 2017
    Case Update
    A look at the Ohio Supreme Court's decision in State v. Oles, and did you know that Justice Ginsburg has a .311 batting average with runners in scoring position? Oh, wait...
  • July 18, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Judicial bias, RVO specs, 26(B) stuff, waivers of counsel... And more!
  • July 17, 2017
    No more Anders Briefs?
    I have a case now in the 8th District where I came close to filing an Anders brief the other week. It's an appeal from a plea and sentence. The plea hearing was flawless. The judge imposed consecutive sentences, and...
  • July 13, 2017
    Sex offenders and the First Amendment
    Analysis of the Supreme Court's decision in Packingham v. North Carolina
  • July 12, 2017
    Removing a retained attorney
    What does a judge do if he thinks a retained attorney in a criminal case isn't competent?
  • July 11, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    The court does good work on a juvenile bindover case, and the State finally figures out that it should have indicted someone in the first place
  • July 10, 2017
    Case Update
    SCOTUS ends its term; the Ohio Supreme Court issues another opinion, and likely the last one, on the trial tax
  • June 28, 2017
    Plea Bargaining -- The defendant's view
    A look at the Supreme Court's decision last week in Lee v. United States
  • June 27, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A worrisome decision on expert funding, and, mirabile dictu, a court's dismissal of a case for a discovery violation is upheld