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Case Update

The US Supreme Court gets back in session next week, and its Ohio counterpart took a respite from the rush of decisions in the last two weeks of the year.  One we didn't mention last week was the "other" Johnson case, State v. Johnson, which involved Johnson's conviction for having a weapon under disability based on a prior drug conviction.  Last year in State v. Clay (discussed here), the Supreme Court had held that the reckless mens rea applied to whether the defendant was aware that he was under an indictment which disqualified him from owning a weapon.  The 8th District had extended that in Johnson to require the State to prove that Johnson was "reckless" in knowing that his prior convictions -- one a misdemeanor drug offense and one for selling counterfeit narcotics -- precluded him from having a weapon.

State v. Colon and the reconsideration of that decision in Son of State v. Colon represented a lamentable obfuscation of the law regarding mens rea, which was partially corrected by the overruling of those decisions earlier this year in State v. HornerBut only partially, as we learn in Johnson.  As I mentioned when I discussed the oral argument in Johnson, the court had an easy out:  it could hold that while Clay could claim a mistake of fact -- he wasn't aware he was under indictment -- Johnson seemed to be argued a mistake of law:  that he wasn't aware that his drug conviction disqualified him from having a weapon.  Instead, the court meanders through the law on mens rea, rejecting the dissent's argument that because the statute begins "no person shall knowingly possess," that mens rea applies to the subsections as well, and holds that under RC 2901.21(B),  "recklessness" is not the supplied mens rea unless "there is a complete absence of mens rea in the section defining the offense and there is no plain indication of a purpose to impose strict liability."

The syllabus concludes that a conviction for violation of weapons disability under RC 2929.13(A)(3) -- convicted of or under indictment for any offense involving drugs -- does not require proof of a culpable mental state.  But wait a minute, didn't they say in Clay that recklessness was required for the under indictment part?  Oh, shut up.

In the courts of appeals...

Criminal.  2nd District says police should've gotten arrest warrant for defendant after controlled buy, warrantless arrest two weeks after buy was invalid, items seized to incident to search should have been suppressed... 5th District says that defendant's convictions for drug sale and drug possession didn't merge under State v. Cabrales; they almost surely are allied offenses under last week's decision in State v. Johnson, though (discussed here)... Defendant has burden of showing that his interest in expungement of conviction outweighed state's interest in maintaining those records, 11th District rules, such as by demonstrating impact on job possibilities or that defendant is rehabilitated... Great case from 5th District:  court holds that trial judge erred by not granting severance of trials of defendant for rape of 12-year-old stepdaughter and three-year-old son; since identity wasn't at issue, evidence as to each victim wouldn't have been admissible under 404(B) in trial of other... 2nd District reverses denial of motion to suppress where traffic stop based on police dispatch, says in such cases state is required to establish the factual basis for the dispatch at the suppression hearing...Police officers' observation of body lying motionless inside apartment sufficient to justify emergency entrance without search warrant, 11th District holds...

Civil.  Employee injured by co-employee in employer's parking lot was barred by workers comp law from suing co-employee, also could not maintain uninsured motorist action against her insurer because employee was not "legally entitled" to recover against co-employee, says 8th District... 10th District holds that result of Federal anti-discrimination suit was res judicata in Ohio action under same claim... Relators had adequate remedy at law by way of appeal, could not maintain action in prohibition to keep trial court from hearing divorce on grounds it lacked venue, says 5th District... Motion to vacate untimely where made nearly seven months after movant's actual notice of action, and more than four months after default judgment rendered against him, 10th District rules; I'm sorry, but what does "actual notice of the action" have to do with that?... Denial of injunctive relief for violation of non-compete provision in employment action proper where threat of harm speculative or conjectural, says 11th District...


Just show your dad your credit card bill.  If he can read it.  In Rhoades v. Chase Bank, the 10th District affirms an arbitration award for a credit company against a claim that its collection efforts caused the plaintiff "serious emotional distress" because the seizure of the money in his bank account left him unable to pay for his father's cataract surgery. 


We have a new record!  In State v. Dudas, the 11th District affirms the defendant's latest effort to vacate his plea to corrupt activities and conspiracy to murder.  He had filed eleven previous appeals from his plea and various post-conviction motions.


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