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

  • March 20, 2017
    Taking time off
    I'm taking the week off. Have a major brief due on Thursday, plus a trial in Federal court starting next Monday. Plus, I'm pretty sure that Obama wiretapped me, too, so I'm working on getting to the bottom of that....
  • March 17, 2017
    What's Up with the 8th?
    The 8th District cases come out every Thursday. By about ten o'clock in the morning, the court will have posted the "weekly decision list" on its web site. It will give a summary of the case, usually in a sentence...
  • March 14, 2017
    Rippo and Pena-Rodriguez
    SCOTUS issues decisions on judicial recusal and biased jurors
  • March 13, 2017
    Case Update
    A SCOTUS decision on career offenders, and appellate cases on what a judge can consider in sentencing, and untimely motions to suppress
  • March 9, 2017
    A switch in time
    The court reverses itself in Gonzalez
  • March 8, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    More sentencing stories, and the right way to handle an Anders brief
  • March 7, 2017
    Case Update
    Knock and announce and the Ohio Constitution, and Anders briefs.
  • March 6, 2017
    Never mind
    The Ohio Supreme Court reverses Gonzalez.
  • March 2, 2017
    Of bright lines and bookbags
    Oral argument in State v. Oles and State v. Polk
  • February 28, 2017
    What's Up in the 8th
    A good outcome in a search case, probably a good outcome (to be) in a drug case, and a very bad outcome in a child rape case