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 »

×

Friday Roundup

Block that metaphor.  Here's a tip.  If you happen to be pleading with the judge not to sentence you to prison for beating up your wife for the second time in three years, it's probably not a good idea to tell the judge you're "willing to fight the good fight." 

Here's another one.  If you're a prosecutor who's five months pregnant and you reject an offer where the three co-defendants would plead to different charges, you probably shouldn't say, "I don't think our office is willing to split the baby like that."

Honest to God.  Both of them in the same week.

Hammer time.  I had an oral argument in the court of appeals the other day that wound up to be more like a panel discussion on sentencing, and will certainly serve as the subject of a post in the near future.  It was on a child porn case, and I got to talking to Brett, the prosecutor, afterwards.  I've had a number of cases with Brett, and he's a good guy and a good lawyer, and he's in charge of these cases, and for the life of me I can't understand how he does that.  Here's a description of one of the videos in a case I had with him:

This is a compilation of video clips where the predominant theme is that of an adult nude male standing either over or in front of nude pre-pubescent females and ejaculating into either their mouths or their vaginal areas. In many of the clips the girls are either crying or grimacing and in those instances the clip is repeated over several times.  In a number of clips, the suspect is either holding the head of the child or the hair of the child, forcing that child to participate.  In a number of other clips, the adult males are shown vaginally penetrating very young pre-pubescent females.

Here's what that tells you:  Brett doesn't get a lot of trial experience, at least not in these cases, because who's going to try a case and have the jury and the judge actually see this stuff?

Well, that's exactly what did happen a few weeks ago here:  a child pornography case actually went to trial.  Brett told me it was the first one in four or five years.  The defense argument was simple:  there was no proof that defendant had actually viewed the videos, so no proof of knowledge that he knew it was there and what it was.  The jury was unconvinced, its rejection of that argument made much easier by the fact the defendant had created a folder called "KIDS" on an external hard drive, and moved all the child porn to it.

We talked about what kind of sentence the judge would impose, and I put the over/under at 20.  And the moment I did, I knew I'd take the over.

Wintertime Blues.  About ten years ago, my Lovely Bride and I swore that we wouldn't spend the entire winter in Cleveland again if we had to crawl over broken glass to get out of here for a week in February or March.

And we kept that vow.  Not anything spectacular, but six or seven days in Arizona or Florida or southern California are pretty nice.  You may be driving a crappy rental car, but at least you don't have to scrape the ice off the windows before you get into it.

Until this year, when the breaking of our vacation promise happened to coincide with one of the most miserable winters I can remember.

When we did go away on vacation in the past, of course, I shut down the blog for the week.  Well, I'm not going on vacation, but I am taking a week off from blogging.  I've had two trials in the past month, and I love being in trial, but it kills me from a time standpoint.  I'm now looking at three briefs that I've got due in the next month which involve my reading a combined 4,000 pages of trial transcript.  So, it's catch-up time.

Don't worry, I'll make up for it.  See you back here on March 31st.

Search

Recent Entries

  • April 26, 2017
    MIA
    Like Mark Twain, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. Except I am pretty sure he's actually dead, while I am not, and for that matter, nobody's spreading rumors that I am. Great lead, huh? The nice thing about...
  • April 20, 2017
    The Supreme Court takes a look at the trial tax
    And you thought this was the week you only had to worry about income taxes
  • April 18, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Remembering Warren Zevon, and the Fourth Amendment lives
  • April 17, 2017
    Case Update
    Structural error, prejudice, and police run amok.
  • April 13, 2017
    Some arguments on sentencing
    Why oral arguments can be fun, even when they're not yours
  • April 12, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Oh fun: declarations against interest v. non-hearsay. Also, the difference between not guilty and innocent, and Ohio's statute penalizing the refusal to take chemical test in a DUI case goes bye-bye
  • April 11, 2017
    Case Update
    Filibusters, and appellate cases on all the ways lawyers can screw up.
  • April 7, 2017
    Change of course
    A new approach in my client-attorney relationships
  • April 4, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A true rocket docket, and Anthony Sowell pops up again
  • April 3, 2017
    Case Update
    Free merchant speech, an argument on Brady, another look at Creech