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

  • November 15, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Plea withdrawals (again), sexual predator hearings, and an appellate law question
  • November 7, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Don't listen to prosecutors about the law, good new/bad news jokes on appeal, and the Byzantine course of a death penalty case
  • October 24, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Trying to change the past
  • October 16, 2017
    En banc on sentencing
    The 8th District takes a look at what State v. Marcum means
  • October 13, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    Musings about the death penalty and indigent defense
  • October 11, 2017
    Case Update
    SCOTUS starts its new term, and the Ohio Supreme Court hands down two decisions
  • October 10, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Collaboration by inmates, fun in Juvenile Court, the limits of Creech, and more
  • October 5, 2017
    State v. Thomas
    The Ohio Supreme Court reverses a death penalty conviction
  • October 4, 2017
    Russ' Excellent Adventure
    A juror doesn't like me. Boo-hoo.
  • October 3, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    What not to argue on appeal, waiving counsel, the perils of being a juvenile, and expert witnesses