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Case Update

I got an email from a young lady last week, who told me she was preparing a paper for a law class and wanted permission to cite a post from my blog.  She added that the paper was due in a few days, so a quick response would be appreciated.  She'll make a good lawyer; I often feel that if it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done.

Apparently, the justices of the US Supreme Court share a similar proclivity for procrastination; they don't resume the bench until next week, and with five weeks left in the term at that point, it has yet to issue opinions in over half the term's merit cases.  Last week's solitary opinion came in Montana v. Wyoming and North Dakota, in which the Court rejected Montana's claim that Wyoming had breached the Yellowstone River Compact.  Even more fascinating than the subject matter (he said, tongue planted firmly in cheek) is that this was a rare exercise of the Court's original jurisdiction.  Back when the Arizona immigration law was thrown out by a Federal district court, a Canadian website created a lot of hubbub in the right-wing blogosphere by contending that since Article V says that the Supreme Court "shall have original jurisdiction... in all cases in which a state is a party," only the Supremes could hear the Arizona case.  The answer to this is the difference between exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction.  In fact, the rules of the Supreme Court do allow them to exercise original jurisdiction in such cases, but they never do, leaving them for the district courts; they limit their grants of original jurisdiction to disputes between two states. 

Down in Columbus, the Gang of Seven resolved a water dispute between Cleveland and various suburbs, deciding whose responsibility it will be to put out blaze the next time the Cuyahoga River catches fire.  No, I'm making that up; the court couldn't even rouse itself to slap down some miscreant attorney for his errant ways.  Daniel Lee Bedford probably doesn't share my opinion about the court's lack of output; they did find time to order the State to file a memorandum in response to Bedford's request for discretionary appeal by today, given that Bedford's execution is scheduled for next Tuesday.  On April 29, the 1st District rejected Bedford's claim that his mental retardation precluded his execution; the cutoff for that is 70, and Bedford had racked up an impressive 76.

On to the courts of appeals...

Civil.  8th District upholds instruction on foreseeability which requires plaintiff to show that defendnant should have anticipated that "an injury was likely to result" to plaintiff from act or omission; plaintiff argued that jury should have been instructed that defendant need only anticipate that "an injury may result," court acknowledges some merit in that position, but goes with OJI... Husband applies for life insurance, during application process informed he has cancer, doesn't tell company, dies three years later; 9th District rejects company's claim that husband's failure to advise company of new information prevented formation of contract, says policy's incontestability provision -- that company can't contest truth of answers after two years -- governed... Trial court need not make findings of fact on damages in default judgment award, says 12th District... 1st District reverses grant of summary judgment based on sovereign immunity, says that genuine dispute of fact existed as to willful and wanton misconduct in police officer's response to emergency call... Trial court erred in dismissing inmate's claim of false imprisonment against Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections for incarcerating him one day beyond court order granting his release, says 10th District... 12th District affirms dismissal of action to enforce default judgment granted by Missouri court, say Ohio residents did not have sufficient contacts with Missouri to permit personal jurisdiction over them by that state...

Criminal.  Individual invited on premises by tenant cannot be guilty of criminal trespass, even if owner expressly instructed individual not to come on property, says 10th District... 5th District holds that judge in murder trial didn't err in excluding evidence that victim had pointed gun at defendant four months earlier because it was irrelevant to defense's claim of voluntary manslaughter, since what happened that long ago couldn't constitute serious provocation... 12th District vacates another prison sentence imposed for violation of community control sanctions because judge at original sentencing didn't specify sentence which would be imposed for violation...

Clothes make the man.  From the 5th District's decision in State v. Horn, where the defendant and the victim, Moses, got into an argument when Moses intervened in a fight between Horn and Horn's girlfriend:

Appellant was yelling at Moses to mind his own business, stating "That's my bitch and I can do whatever the fuck I want to do with her."  Moses told Appellant that he needed to be quiet or the neighbors would call the police. Appellant responded that he "didn't give a fuck about the police."  He told Moses that he had a red wife beater and a black hat on, so the police could find him and do whatever they want to do.

Sometimes the headnote says it all.  From the 12th District's decision in State v. Mackie:

For the purpose of the offense of public indecency under R.C. 2907.09(A)(1), while it appears that the term "private parts" lacks a commonly understood meaning when considered with respect to certain body parts, it is clear that the term has not been construed to apply to the simple exposure of pubic hair, without additional evidence of exposure of "genitalia."

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