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

A woman scorned.  Here's the way it starts:

Carol Ann Bond was excited when her closest friend, Myrlinda Haynes, announced that she was pregnant.  Bond’s excitement turned to rage when she learned that her husband, Clifford Bond, was the child’s father.  She vowed revenge.

The plot outline for the latest Lifetime Movie Network event?  No, it's from one of the opening paragraphs in the 3rd Circuit's decision last year in US v. BondOne moral of the story is that it's not a good idea to sleep with your best friend's husband if your best friend is employed by a chemical manufacturer.  (Using proper birth control might be Lesson #2.)  Bond obtained several toxic chemicals which work on minimal topical contact -- through the skin -- and spread them on Haynes' house doorknob, car door handles, and mailbox.

For that, Bond was convicted of in Federal court of possessing and using a chemical weapon.  She appealed on the grounds that the offense was an unconstitutional appropriation of powers reserved to the states, but the 3rd Circuit rejected that, finding that the statute was enacted to implement the treaty obligations of the United States under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, and therefore fell under the Necessary and Proper Clause of Congress' powers under the Constitution.

Last week, the Supreme Court granted cert, and that could prove to be very interesting.  On the one hand, the Court gave a rather expansive reading to the Necessary and Proper Clause just last term in US v. Comstock, which upheld a law allowing Federal sex offenders to be civilly committed after expiration of their sentences, against the argument that civil commitment and mental health issues were traditionally reserved to the states.  On the other hand, as I explained after the Circuit Court's decision came down in Comstock striking down the law, there's growing concern over the expansion of Federal crimes into areas which normally fall within the ambit of the states, such as Rajah Baylor's conviction and 12-year sentence for robbing a Little Caesar's in Cleveland, prosecuted under the Federal Hobbs Act.  Back in the 1990's, the Court expressed some interest in reining in the Federal government's powers by resuscitating the 10th Amendment, moribund since the 1930's.  It'll be interesting to see how Bond's case plays out.

Fun on the high seas.  People keep telling me I ought to go on a cruise.  They say it's the best time they ever had.  Never been on one, although I've been thinking about it.  My thinking took a turn for the worse after reading Cruise Law News.  I first read about Cruise Law News; it's a blog done by Jim Walker of Walker & O'Neill, who are "maritime lawyers."  For a long time, Jim made his living defending cruise companies from lawsuits.  He switched sides a few years back, and now makes a living suing them.

His former employers filed motions to disqualify him from those cases, with no luck.  Well, whatever he wanted to stay with them, they should have paid.  And forget what he costs them in his lawsuits; his blog alone is a powerful disincentive to those contemplating a Caribbean cruise.  For example, thinking about touching down in St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands?  Their web site informs us that "when walking in St. Thomas, you will see the bustle of  Main Street, and cool emerald hills."  You will also probably see bodies stacked up like cordwood, at least according to Jim Walker; he informs us that "St. Thomas has one of the highest homicide rates in the world," clocking in with 42 so far this year in a population of only 100,000.  By comparison, the chances of winding up with a toe-tag in a Detroit morgue as a result of foul play are only 46 per 100,000.  Another post offers headlines like "18 Passengers from Royal Caribbean & Disney Cruise Ships Robbed by Shotgun in the Bahamas."

What would Mickey Mouse say?

'Tis the season.  Probably one of the smartest investments I ever made was in a TiVo system.  (At the other end of the scale was the ten large I sunk into a limited partnership in a real estate deal in Atlanta in which, my ex-financial advisor assured me, I would double my money in a couple of years.  Five years later, I got an invitation to join the class action lawsuit against the general partners.  If you're new to the investment game, this is Not a Good Sign.)  I haven't watched live TV, except for sporting events, in years.

Which spares me the ordeal of watching the plethora of political ads telling me why Jim Smith must be elected to Congress to in order to save the country from the wretched socialistic excesses of Barry Jones.  But every now and then, a political ad goes so over the top that I'm sorry I missed it.  In this case, I would not only have to watch live TV, I'd have to live in Orleans Parish, where, of all things, the race for coroner has generated this ad, comparing the incumbent to Dr. Frankenstein:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRgCOXaiDjQ&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Just a reminder that I'm going to be on vacation the next couple of weeks.  If I post anything here during that time, you can be sure it won't be about law.  I'll start back with that on November 1.

Search

Recent Entries

  • April 26, 2017
    MIA
    Like Mark Twain, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Except I am pretty sure he's actually dead, while I am not, and for that matter, nobody's spreading rumors that I am. Great lead, huh? The nice thing about...
  • April 20, 2017
    The Supreme Court takes a look at the trial tax
    And you thought this was the week you only had to worry about income taxes
  • April 18, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Remembering Warren Zevon, and the Fourth Amendment lives
  • April 17, 2017
    Case Update
    Structural error, prejudice, and police run amok.
  • April 13, 2017
    Some arguments on sentencing
    Why oral arguments can be fun, even when they're not yours
  • April 12, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Oh fun: declarations against interest v. non-hearsay. Also, the difference between not guilty and innocent, and Ohio's statute penalizing the refusal to take chemical test in a DUI case goes bye-bye
  • April 11, 2017
    Case Update
    Filibusters, and appellate cases on all the ways lawyers can screw up.
  • April 7, 2017
    Change of course
    A new approach in my client-attorney relationships
  • April 4, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A true rocket docket, and Anthony Sowell pops up again
  • April 3, 2017
    Case Update
    Free merchant speech, an argument on Brady, another look at Creech