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

 The big news out of Columbus was that "the Court granted motions to set execution dates in seven -- count'em, seven -- cases."  Okay, the part between the emdashes is mine, but you get the point.  Where they're going to get the drug to do it is another matter:  the manufacturer of the key drug, sodium thiopental, has discontinued manufacture, leaving states like Texas with only enough of it to execute two of the 317 people it has on death row.  An alternative source was temporarily found in England, through a West London pharmaceutical supplier that doubled as a driving school, but Britain banned export of the drug.   

The US Supreme Court returns in session next week with oral arguments and, who knows, maybe some opinions, too.  Until then, the only thing to write about is court of appeals decisions, so let's go there now...

Civil.  "Fraud upon the court" for purposes of motion to vacate occurs where officer of court, e.g. attorney, actively participates in fraud; submission of documents by plaintiff containing forged signature does not constitute fraud upon court, says 8th District... 6th District affirms summary judgment, holds that defendant driver's heart attack and loss of consciousness was not foreseeable, thus creating medical emergency defense... Lack of standing to sue goes to capacity, not to subject matter jurisdiction of trial court, says 9th District... 6th District says city not entitled to sovereign immunity for management of its reservoir, which resulted in flooding to owners' lands; failure to act and establish plan for controlling water flow could not qualify as "governmental function"... Trial court abused discretion in using hearing date as termination date for marriage, says 9th District; evidence indicated parties had agreed to end marriage and had divided their assets well before that... Although relocation of parent alone is not sufficient change in circumstances to modify custody (not sure why not), court may consider fact that relocation will remove him from network of family and friends, says 3rd District...

Criminal.  9th District reviews requirements for foundation for testimony regarding prosecution's use of battered spouse syndrome, says it wasn't met, but admission was harmless error... Trial court not required to advise defendant at initial sentencing of post-release controls if it imposes community control sanctions, says 5th District... 9th District affirms trial court's refusal to charge on involuntary intoxication based defendant's taking various psychiatric drugs, because defendant ingested the drugs voluntarily, even though she knew she had sensitivity to such medication... 5th District rejects Padilla ineffective assistance of counsel argument, says that while defendant not told that deportation was mandatory, he was told that it was possible, and that's all that was required...

Incorporated by reference.  In State v. Beamer, the 5th District reverses a trial court's denial of a motion to vacate a plea, finding that the court inadequately advised the defendant of her rights.  The court had accepted a plea from another defendant just prior to Beamer's plea, and his colloquy with Beamer as to her rights consisted of the following:

"THE COURT: Debbie, you were here. Did you listen to me when I talked to that previous lady?


 "THE COURT: Do you understand what I said?


 "THE COURT: All of that applies to you.

Hard to see how this could have gone wrong.  In State v. McCrory, the 6th District affirms defendant's conviction of rape.  The victim "went to appellant's residence for a job interview in response to an advertisement that appellant posted on craigslist.org for a topless maid," but insisted that the defendant "informed her ahead of time there were no sexual expectations." 

Adding insult to injury.  In State v. Renner, the police responded to Renner's home after a 911 report of a robbery there.  When asked how the robbery occurred, Renner "produced a flyer depicting the lower half of a bikini-clad woman, in addition to a phone number and the words:  'Girls, Girls, Girls!!! Check Out Our Specials!!!'"  He explained that he had called the number to arrange to have sex with a woman for $150, but three people had shown up, maced him, and robbed him.

The 12th District upheld Renner's conviction for soliciting, finding that the flyer was sufficient evidence to overcome Renner's contention that admission of his statements without corroborating evidence violated the corpus delicti rule.


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