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 »

×

On the road again

Jay from the Supreme Court calls me last week, to tell me how it's going to go for my oral argument in Meigs County on Wednesday. 

Meigs County? 

Yep.  Every year, the Supreme Court decides to hold oral arguments "off site."  Translation:  away from the comfy confines of their building in Columbus, and instead in some place in the hinterlands.  One year they held it here in Cleveland, at Case Western University Law School, my alma mater.  Couldn't do that this year, oh no.  It's going to be in the gymnasium at the Pomeroy High School in Meigs County.  So not only will I be sweating, I'll be able to smell the sweat of those who have gone before me.

I couldn't have told you where Meigs County was at gunpoint, so I looked it up on Google.  Best I can figure, you go down I-77, hang a left at Nowhere, go another thirty miles, and there you are.  It's a little under four hours.

The guy from the Supreme Court was helpful.  He gave me the address of the high school.  Since I was going to stay overnight, I asked him what hotels there were in Pomeroy that he could recommend.  "Well, there aren't any," he confided.  "Everybody's staying up in Athens."  I found a room at the Holiday Inn Express, so, at least according to their ads, it will make me smarter.  Unfortunately, Jay told me that the justices are staying there, too, so it will make them smarter, which probably isn't a good thing for me.

I'm going to be arguing State v. Jones, the case on pre-indictment delay.  I've talked about it before; the very short version is that a woman claims that Jones raped her in the bedroom of his mother's apartment, with his mother sitting outside, supposedly oblivious to the woman's screams.  Although she clearly identified Jones by name, and gave the address where the incident allegedly occurred, the detective dropped by her house and made a phone call to her, and not getting a response to either, closed out the file five days later.  Nothing more was done on the case until they got a CODIS hit on Jones almost twenty years later; he was indicted the day before the statute of limitations expired.  His mother, who would certainly have been a critical witness for a consent defense, had died almost three years earlier.

The State and the Attorney General's office have amassed what seems like just short of three thousand cases holding that in order to establish "actual prejudice" for the pre-indictment delay analysis, I have to show that the lost evidence is "specific, concrete, non-speculative, and exculpatory."  In short, I have to show what the dead woman would have testified to, despite the fact that the only reason we don't know what she would have testified to is because the detective spent as much time investigating the case as I do in planning my weekly trip to the grocery store.

So, we'll hammer that out.  Meantime, an abbreviated schedule here.  I'll have the normal roundup of 8th District cases tomorrow - be afraid, be very afraid - and I'll tell you how the argument in Jones went on Thursday or Friday.  I'm off the following week (at least from here) to take a short vacation and get some work done.

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