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

  • September 12, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Prior consistent statements, whether State v. Hand is applied retroactively, and a big Coming Attraction
  • September 11, 2017
    Case Update
    Looking back at Melendez-Diaz, and the 8th goes 0 for 2 in the Supreme Court
  • September 8, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    Pro bono work, screwed-up appeals, and is Subway shorting their customers?
  • September 5, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    The barriers to expungement, jury verdict forms, and hybrid representation
  • August 31, 2017
    Constructive possession
    Constructive possession is 9/10ths of the law
  • August 29, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A traffic stop found Samson Primm in possession of a few grams of marijuana, but he hires a lawyer and files a motion to suppress the stop. On the day of trial, the City asks to dismiss the case. Primm...
  • August 28, 2017
    Truth in plea bargaining
    So I got a brochure last week from Judge Donnelly over at the Common Pleas court. As you can see, it's a panel discussion on plea bargaining. The judge asked me to get out the word, so I just sort...
  • August 15, 2017
    Summer Break
    Got a bunch of stuff to do over the next couple weeks, and with the slowdown in the courts, it's a good time to take a break. I'll be back here on August 28. See you then....
  • August 11, 2017
    Friday Musings
    Drug trafficking, ADA lawsuit abuse, and e-filing
  • August 10, 2017
    Case Update
    Waiting on SCOTUS; two Ohio Supreme Court decisions