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

This is what it has come to.  I can't write about any decisions from the US or Ohio Supreme Court, because the former hasn't begun its term yet, and the latter is producing little of consequence at the moment.  I can't write about oral arguments, because nobody's having any until next month.  So, for lack of anything else to write about, I find myself scouring SCOTUSblog's list of "Petitions to Watch," that is, petitions for certiorari that the Court will take up in their first conference of the term today.

What I have learned is that SCOTUSblog's interests do not invariably coincide with my own; among the petitions they find worth watching is the one in Nucor Corp. v. United States, which presents the following issue:

Whether the Tariff Act of 1930 - which defines "dumping" as "the sale or likely sale of goods at less than fair value" and "dumping margin" as "the amount by which the normal value exceeds the export price or constructed export price of the subject merchandise" -  unambiguously excludes above-fair-value sales ( i.e., those sales that do not constitute "dumping") from the statutory formula for "weighted average dumping margin."

If at some future point in time you read more about this case here, please contact the police, because it means I've been kidnapped, and someone else has taken over this blog.

Oral arguments will begin in the US Supreme Court next week, and will resume then in the Ohio Supreme Court too.  Time enough to talk about it when it actually happens.  For now, on to the courts of appeals...

In State v. Wright, the defendant had broken into a home, then beaten the victim while robbing her, and was convicted of aggravated burglary (burglary and infliction of harm), robbery (infliction of harm), and theft.  The 2nd District finds that the burglary and robbery were committed by a single course of conduct, and should have merged as allied offenses.  The theft, though, was committed in another part of the home after the victim had fled, so that's a different act, the court says, and doesn't merge... The 1st District tosses a case for speedy trial violation in State v. McCarren; the judge had sua sponte continued the trial beyond the time, and the state argued that the defendant didn't include the transcript of the hearing at which the continuance was granted, so the court should presume the regularity of the proceedings.  Doesn't work that way; if the reason isn't contained in the journal entry, it doesn't toll the time... Another 2nd District case on allied offenses:  in State v. Cleveland, the court holds that where the record indicates that some of the offenses may be allied, it's plain error for the trial court not conduct the necessary hearing to determine whether they are, and the case will be remanded for that purpose...

In State v. Velazquez, the defendant, a resident alien, raises a Padilla argument:  that his attorney didn't advise him of the possible immigration status consequences of his guilty plea to attempted felonious assault.  The judge did give him the warning required by RC 2943.032(D), and so the 8th District holds that Velazquez can't show he was prejudiced by his attorney's failure... A great search case in State v. Ferrante, where the police officer had stopped a car for a traffic violation, then obtained consent to search the car.  The 2nd tosses it, finding that the consent the officer obtained was invalid because he'd already given the driver her citation; he had no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to provide a basis for continuing the detention, and couldn't ask for consent under those circumstances without informing her that she didn't need to give it... Yes, a guilty plea waives a claim that the speedy trial statute was violated, the 9th District reminds us in State v. Wegner... In State v. Covert, the 3rd District upholds a patdown of five passengers of a motor vehicle, saying it was necessary for "officer safety."  The "reasonable suspicion" that the occupants might be armed was that one had a misdemeanor warrant, and another had a drug arrest at some unspecified prior time.  Bad decision...

Going the extra mile.  The defendant in the 2nd District's case of State v. Wright was a black man with red hair.  To compile the photo array for the witnesses to make an identification, the detective made black-and-white photos, instead of color, so as not to emphasize the hair.  The defendant nonetheless complained that the array was faulty because it didn't include any other pictures of black men with red hair.

Well, yeah, but what's your point?  From the 8th District's decision in State v. Carpenter, denying Carpenter's motion to reopen his appeal on the basis that his appellate attorney should have claimed ineffective assistance of his trial counsel:

Carpenter first complains that his attorney should have objected to the prosecutor's characterization of him as a pimp during opening statements.  Carpenter maintains that this prejudiced and poisoned the judge's view of him during the trial.  However, the victim testified that Carpenter was her pimp.


Recent Entries

  • March 27, 2017
    Case Update
    Gorsuch's embarrassing day, upcoming oral arguments in SCOTUS
  • March 20, 2017
    Taking time off
    I'm taking the week off. Have a major brief due on Thursday, plus a trial in Federal court starting next Monday. Plus, I'm pretty sure that Obama wiretapped me, too, so I'm working on getting to the bottom of that....
  • March 17, 2017
    What's Up with the 8th?
    The 8th District cases come out every Thursday. By about ten o'clock in the morning, the court will have posted the "weekly decision list" on its web site. It will give a summary of the case, usually in a sentence...
  • March 14, 2017
    Rippo and Pena-Rodriguez
    SCOTUS issues decisions on judicial recusal and biased jurors
  • March 13, 2017
    Case Update
    A SCOTUS decision on career offenders, and appellate cases on what a judge can consider in sentencing, and untimely motions to suppress
  • March 9, 2017
    A switch in time
    The court reverses itself in Gonzalez
  • March 8, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    More sentencing stories, and the right way to handle an Anders brief
  • March 7, 2017
    Case Update
    Knock and announce and the Ohio Constitution, and Anders briefs.
  • March 6, 2017
    Never mind
    The Ohio Supreme Court reverses Gonzalez.
  • March 2, 2017
    Of bright lines and bookbags
    Oral argument in State v. Oles and State v. Polk