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Case Update

Nothing from SCOTUS this week,  and nothing down in Columbus, either, not even the weekly beatdown of miscreant attorneys in disciplinary cases.  In fact, the news there was political, not legal:  outgoing Gov. Strickland appointed his running mate, Yvette McGee Brown, to the position on the Supreme Court being vacated by present Justice Maureen O'Connor, who won election to the Chief's spot.  Justices normally have six-year terms, but Brown will have to win two elections to get one:  the law requires that appointed justices run in the next scheduled election, and if she wins that one, she has to run again in 2014 when the term for that seat expires.

And it's pretty slim pickings from the appellate courts this week...

Criminal.  9th District re-emphasizes point that trial court is not required to articulate any reasons for imposing maximum or consecutive sentences... Crawford v. Washington doesn't bar admission of witness' hearsay statements if witness testifies at trial; 3rd District says witness was not "unavailable" because of lack of memory for Confrontation Clause purposes, admission of her hearsay statements through other witnesses therefore permitted... Observing 9th District reverses 30-year sentence for murder on grounds that judge made statements indicating he gave longer sentence because defendant insisted on going to trial rather than accepting plea bargain...

Civil.  9th District reverses denial of summary judgment in case where tree fell onto parkway injuring plaintiff, says city's responsibility for maintaining trees adjacent to roads was government function, there sovereign immunity applies... Sperm donor, by statute, not normally liable for child support, but his acknowledgment of paternity overrides that provision, says 9th District...

You mean I was supposed to read that?  According to Tuco's Law of Duality, there are two kinds of pretrial orders:  those where the judges don't mean it, and those where they do.  The defendant's attorney in Castrovinci v. Habeeb ran into the latter.  Since he'd failed to submit proposed jury instructions and copies of exhibits before trial as required by her order, the judge barred him from introducing the latter, and refused to give any jury instructions on his counterclaim.  To add insult to injury, the 8th District threw out the appeal, finding that since the trial court hadn't dismissed his counterclaim, there was no final appealable order.

Say no more.  Lexis gives a summary of each case, and sometimes that's all you need.  Like this one from the 9th District's decision in Vaughan v. Vaughan, which deals with the denial of the mother's motion for shared parenting, and concludes,

The mother was diagnosed with a schizophrenic mood disorder, refused to seek treatment, and denied that she was out of touch with reality. She thought that the children had been replaced with replicas.

Things I stumbled across.  Doesn't have anything to do with the cases from last week -- or indeed the cases from the last five years -- but I was researching the question of whether a metal pole can be a deadly weapon for purposes of a felonious assault last Friday, when  I ran across State v. Berry, a 2004 case from the 8th District.  The defendant used his walking cane to beat the victim, and claimed that the cane shouldn't have been considered a deadly weapon.  The argument probably would have fared better if the cane hadn't had "'whup ass stick number 1" inscribed on it.

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