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

  • 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