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 »

×

Zero tolerance follies

For those of us who remember the almost daily pronouncements by Administration officials in the run-up to the Iraq invasion of 2003 about the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein's arsenal of WMD's, we may have been a bit non-plussed by the charges brought against the Boston Marathon bombers:  "unlawfully using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction."  Not to understate the horrors inflicted by the bombing, but Sarin, anthrax, suitcase nukes, that we can see.  Pressure cookers?  As Spencer Ackerman explains in Wired, though, using a "destructive device" qualifies as a weapon of mass destruction, and that's defined very broadly:  just about any old bomb, including a home-made one, will do. 

So I guess Kiera Wilmot can thank her lucky stars that she's at least not facing Federal prosecution for what could have been a high school science project gone wrong.

Wilmot, a 16-year-old student at Bartow High School in Florida, mixed up some household chemicals -- toilet bowl cleaner aluminum foil -- in a water bottle to see what would happen.  What happened is that a small explosion caused the top to pop off, followed by billowing smoke.  No one was hurt -- the incident occurred outdoors -- and everyone agreed that Kiera Wilmot hadn't intended to hurt anyone; her principal noted that she was "a good kid" who "has never been in trouble before.  Ever."  He had a little chat with Kiera about the dangers of doing things like that, and Kiera "told us everything and was very honest.  She didn't run or try to hide the truth."

So, chat had, no one's hurt, life goes on, right?  Well, life goes on in Bartow High School, but it does so without Kiera.  She's not only been expelled, but on Monday morning she was arrested and charged with "possession/discharge of a weapon on school property" and "discharging a destructive device."

Oh, and more news:   those offenses are felonies, and Kiera will be tried as an adult.

*   *   *   *   *
Short note today; I've got one brief due today, and one on Monday, and despite my exhortations, they refuse to write themselves.  There were actually some decisions by the Ohio Supreme Court this past week in criminal cases, including a biggie on lesser included offenses.  I've given the latter a quick lookover, and although the result comes as no surprise, the process by which that result was arrived at seems, at first glance, impenetrable.  The fog will hopefully lift over the weekend, and you'll be provided my spot-on analysis come Monday. See you then.

Search

Recent Entries

  • July 26, 2017
    Supreme Court Recap - 2016 Term
    My annual review of the Supreme Court decisions from the past term
  • July 24, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Some things we knew, some things we didn't
  • July 21, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    Computers and sex offenders, civil forfeiture, and phrases that should be put out to pasture
  • July 20, 2017
    Case Update
    A look at the Ohio Supreme Court's decision in State v. Oles, and did you know that Justice Ginsburg has a .311 batting average with runners in scoring position? Oh, wait...
  • July 18, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Judicial bias, RVO specs, 26(B) stuff, waivers of counsel... And more!
  • July 17, 2017
    No more Anders Briefs?
    I have a case now in the 8th District where I came close to filing an Anders brief the other week. It's an appeal from a plea and sentence. The plea hearing was flawless. The judge imposed consecutive sentences, and...
  • July 13, 2017
    Sex offenders and the First Amendment
    Analysis of the Supreme Court's decision in Packingham v. North Carolina
  • July 12, 2017
    Removing a retained attorney
    What does a judge do if he thinks a retained attorney in a criminal case isn't competent?
  • July 11, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    The court does good work on a juvenile bindover case, and the State finally figures out that it should have indicted someone in the first place
  • July 10, 2017
    Case Update
    SCOTUS ends its term; the Ohio Supreme Court issues another opinion, and likely the last one, on the trial tax