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Case Update

Back in 2000, in Florida v. J.L., the Supreme Court held that an anonymous tip that a person was carrying a gun wasn't sufficient to allow the police to stop and frisk the individual without having observed some corroborating information.  Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Navarette v. California, on whether an anonymous tip that somebody was driving drunk could allow the police to stop the driver without having observed any corroborating evidence, such as erratic driving.  Although this would seem to fit clearly within J.L.'s framework, but when it comes to 4th Amendment law, there's not a whole that's "clear."  I'll have a post on the oral argument on Thursday.

"Amy" also made her way into the Supreme Court, in the oral argument last week in Paroline v. US.  As I explained in a post a few years ago, Federal law requires a court to award victims of child sex abuse "the full amount of the victim's losses."  "Amy" is the nom de litige for what's known as the "Misty series," videos and images of her taken by her uncle while he sexually abused her as a young girl.  There's a national database of pictures of children featured in pornographic cases, and it notifies victims when their pictures show up in a case.  Amy hired a lawyer, who files a claim for her damages - $3,367,854 - against every defendant who possessed any images of Amy.   Among the 280 images of child pornography found on Paroline's laptop were two of Amy.  At issue in Paroline was what part of Amy's damages Paroline was responsible for paying, with Amy's lawyer and the government arguing that it should be the whole tab, and Paroline's attorney contending he should pay only for the percentage of harm he caused.  The justices didn't seem comfortable with either formulation, so we'll see how it comes out in the opinion.

Nothing from the Ohio Supreme Court except a decision on home rule as it affects towing regulations.  Oral argument picks up next week, with five criminal cases, including a capital one, on tap, so we'll have plenty to talk about then.  Let's head over to the courts of appeals...

The defendant in State v. Blankenship argues that his Tier II sex offender classification for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is cruel and unusual punishment, in light of the psychiatric report that he is unlikely to reoffend.   He bases his argument largely on the Supreme Court's 2012 decision in In re C.P. (discussed here), which held that mandatory lifetime registration for a Tier III juvenile sex offender violated the 8th Amendment and its similar provision in the Ohio constitution, Article I, Section 9.  But the 2nd District notes that C.P. doesn't help Blankenship; the court there addressed the problem of proportionality in the context of the offender, and held that the particular characteristic - status as a juvenile - made lifetime sex-offender registration unconstitutionally disproportionate.  Still, the dissent makes an impassioned argument that requiring a 21-year-old who had consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl to register as a sex offender for the next quarter century is indeed grossly disproportionate to the offense.

The morass that is Ohio law on consecutive sentencing is displayed by the 5th District's decision in State v. Varney.  The court reverses a sentence because it determines the trial judge didn't make any findings to support the imposition of consecutive sentences, and also holds that "the record must clearly demonstrate consecutive sentences are not only appropriate, but are also clearly supported by the record."  Not only is that not the law - the statute provides that an appellate court can't reverse a sentence unless it "clearly and convincingly" finds that the record doesn't demonstrate the propriety of consecutive sentences - but one of the cases the court cites for that proposition is its decision in State v. Bonnell, which was argued in the Supreme Court a few weeks ago (discussion here).  In Bonnell, the trial court had done nothing to support consecutive sentences other than point to Bonnell's record of 44 prior convictions and arrests, and the appellate panel deemed this was sufficient to "adequately" demonstrate the necessity of consecutive sentences.

The Supreme Court's decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, holding that counsel had a duty to advise a defendant of the immigration consequences of a plea, does not apply retroactively to pleas entered before the decision came down, the 1st District says in State v. Bishop... In State v. Highfield, the 12th District rules that illegal manufacture of drugs and endangering children - the defendant was running a meth lab in the house where he and his children lived - weren't allied offenses... In two cases, In re A.C. and In re R.W., the 1st District holds that the normal discovery rules don't apply to probable-cause bindover hearings in juvenile court; the State is required to turn over only Brady materials and the evidence it intends to introduce at the hearing... 

In State v. Cline, the trial judge rejects line's entreaty to run his prison sentence for heroin trafficking concurrent with another one he had received in an adjoining county, telling him, "There's no way.  I don't even know how to spell concurrent."  The 4th District reverses because, as the State concedes, the judge didn't advise Cline of his right against self-incrimination, or his right to compulsory process and to confront his accusers.

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