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

  • July 24, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Some things we knew, some things we didn't
  • July 21, 2017
    Friday Roundup
    Computers and sex offenders, civil forfeiture, and phrases that should be put out to pasture
  • July 20, 2017
    Case Update
    A look at the Ohio Supreme Court's decision in State v. Oles, and did you know that Justice Ginsburg has a .311 batting average with runners in scoring position? Oh, wait...
  • July 18, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    Judicial bias, RVO specs, 26(B) stuff, waivers of counsel... And more!
  • July 17, 2017
    No more Anders Briefs?
    I have a case now in the 8th District where I came close to filing an Anders brief the other week. It's an appeal from a plea and sentence. The plea hearing was flawless. The judge imposed consecutive sentences, and...
  • July 13, 2017
    Sex offenders and the First Amendment
    Analysis of the Supreme Court's decision in Packingham v. North Carolina
  • July 12, 2017
    Removing a retained attorney
    What does a judge do if he thinks a retained attorney in a criminal case isn't competent?
  • July 11, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    The court does good work on a juvenile bindover case, and the State finally figures out that it should have indicted someone in the first place
  • July 10, 2017
    Case Update
    SCOTUS ends its term; the Ohio Supreme Court issues another opinion, and likely the last one, on the trial tax
  • June 28, 2017
    Plea Bargaining -- The defendant's view
    A look at the Supreme Court's decision last week in Lee v. United States