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 »

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About the Blog

WHAT THIS IS... The main purpose of this site is to inform. There are a lot of solo and small firm practitioners out there who can't keep abreast of everything going on in the law, and this is mainly for them: it'll give you information on current opinions and legal trends that might be helpful in your practice. I'll give some analysis at times which I hope will prove stimulating. I'll also do my best to keep it interesting and entertaining.

WHAT THIS ISN'T... Caveat emptor applies here, big time. If you're not a lawyer, nothing here is intended to be legal advice. If you have a question, consult an attorney in your jurisdiction. You can send me an email if you'd like, but doing so does not establish an attorney-client relationship, and will not be regarded as a confidential communication. If you are a lawyer, then what you find here will hopefully be informative or thought-provoking, but there's no guarantee that it's right. I'm writing a blog, not a law review article.

WHAT IT COVERS... Mostly Ohio criminal law, with slight emphasis on the decisions of the Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals, since that's where I practice. Sometimes I'll just tell you about a decision; if you've got a case involving whether a Miranda waiver was valid, it might help to know that the 2nd District just handed down a decision on that subject, and be able to look it up. Other times I'll explore a decision in detail, and how it fits into the law in that area, and what it might portend for future decisions. You'll learn a lot about Crawford and Ohio sentencing law and search and seizure by reading this regularly. And sometimes I'll just tell you about a case or a person or an event that I found interesting.

HOW TO USE THE SITE... You can read this every day. It'll take about three minutes, and it's like staying at a Holiday Inn Express: it'll make you smarter, although I don't offer a Continental breakfast. Every Monday I do a Case Update: quick summaries of US and Ohio Supreme Court cases from the previous week, plus a rundown of key cases from the Ohio courts of appeals. Every Tuesday I give a closer look at about four or five of the decisions of the 8th District from the previous week. The other three days I'll do a more in-depth analysis of a recent case, or whatever comes to mind. You can use the Search button - it works just like Google, except it's limited to this site - to find posts on particular topics.  You can also search by categories.

WHO I AM... This is where I put the "about the author" stuff, while trying to avoid the usual tendencies in that regard, which run the gamut from sounding like a personals ad gone horribly wrong to making the author seem like a cross between Thoreau and the Unabomber. ("The writer lives with his wife, three dogs, and a llama in the mountains of Yakutsk.") For now, let's stick with this: My name's Russ Bensing. I practice criminal law, mostly at the appellate but also at the trial level. I've been doing this for close to forty years now.  I'm pretty good at it, and I love my job.

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Recent Entries

  • February 15, 2017
    The trial tax debate
    Oral argument in State v. Rahab
  • February 14, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Corroboration for gross sexual imposition, standards for incompetency of the defendant, and the court provides a safety reminder
  • February 13, 2017
    Case Update
    Judicial independence, and appellate cases on hearsay, "mandatory probation," and withdrawing pleas, and my screed about Anders briefs continues
  • February 7, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Jury waivers, allied offenses, and the proper standard of review for abuse of discretion
  • February 6, 2017
    Case Update
    The State tries to get Hand into SCOTUS, upcoming oral arguments in the Ohio Supreme Court, and when you can get the State to pay for an expert even if you've got retained counsel
  • February 1, 2017
    A tale of two cases
    The 8th tackles pre-indictment delay again.
  • January 31, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Coerced plea deals, who's likely to be present, and the gang impact unit strikes again
  • January 30, 2017
    Case Update
    Trump's potential nominees for the Supreme Court, Ohio's death penalty hits a speed bump, and appellate decisions on blackouts and cocaine weight
  • January 26, 2017
    Victim's rights
    Could a new ballot initiative granting rights to victims of crimes affect the rights of defendants?
  • January 24, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Some nice tries, but no wins for the defendants, and one defense attorney takes a bruising