Thursday, December 22, 2016
I haven't yet had time to digest the full opinion--it's 77 pages, and includes dissents from each of Justices Kennedy and French, and a concurrence from Chief Justice O'Connor and Justice Lanzinger--but generally it's an application of the US Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Graham v. Florida, and its 2012 decision in Miller v. Alabama. Graham had held that a mandatory sentence of life without parole imposed on a juvenile convicted of a non-homicide offense violated the Eighth Amendment. Miller extended the same rule to juveniles convicted of homicides.
What sets Moore apart from Graham and Miller is that Moore's sentence was not mandatory. Moore, who was 15 when he was convicted for a series of crimes including aggravated robbery, rape, and kidnapping, all with firearm specifications, was sentenced to 141 years in prison. While this wasn't a de jure "life without parole" sentence, it was a de facto life without parole sentence. Today the Court held that such a sentence was unconstitutional.
Surely there is more to be said about this holding in the future, but Justice Sharon Kennedy's dissent points out that at least four other states (Louisiana, Tennessee, Arizona, and Virginia) have held that Graham should be limited only to cases in which an actual mandatory life sentence has been imposed. Meanwhile (at least) California, Florida, Iowa, Connecticut, Illinois, and Wyoming have held that Graham extends to cases similar to Moore's. The US Supreme Court will have to address this divide at some point.
Monday, December 19, 2016
When an off-the-record conversation occurs between defense counsel, the prosecutor, and the court, counsel's proffered summary of the conversation on the record is sufficient to preserve the issue for appeal when the trial court concurred with the substance, and the prosecutor did not correct or refute the summary.The brief is here. The First District's opinion below is here.
The State's response brief is presently due January 9. The parties may (and probably will) stipulate to an extension until January 30.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Justice O'Neill concurred in part and dissented in part without opinion, which I interpret to mean that he concurred in the convictions, but dissented with respect to the sentence of death. Justice O'Neill has previously written that he would hold the death penalty to be unconstitutional.
I do note, however, that today the Court held that a purchase from a "real estate mortgage investment conduit" after foreclosure constituted a "forced sale" under R.C. 5713.04, and that as a result such a sale is not indicative of the true value. The case is Lunn v. Lorain County BOR.
In Musto v. Lorain County BOR, the Court affirmed the BTA's retention of the auditor's value of a parcel. Justice O'Neill, joined by Justice Pfeiffer, dissented, arguing that the BTA abused its discretion in refusing to continue or delay the hearing so that the property owner's appraiser, who had apparently mistakenly went to the wrong building, could attend and testify.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Monday, December 5, 2016
Our brief can be read here. In it Tom and I urge the Court to recognize that both the Ohio and US Constitutions protect the rights to speak anonymously and remain anonymous, and that the Dendrite test is best suited to protecting those constitutional rights, while still allowing for meritorious claims to proceed. Most importantly, Dendrite requires plaintiffs to make a showing of merit before unmasking the anonymous speaker. Any rule that allows unmasking before a demonstration of the existence of a meritorious claim improperly prioritizes a common law claim (defamation) over a constitutional right (anonymity).
The plaintiff's response to the jurisdictional briefs is due in January.
Update: the Court has declined jurisdiction in the case.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Friday, October 21, 2016
Update: we have filed an amicus brief in support of Doe's jurisdictional appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
The Supreme Court Reporter of Decisions describes the issues of the case as "Replevin action regarding parrot/Manifest weight."
That is all.
Monday, October 17, 2016
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
The Twelfth District in City of Mason v. Mason Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 4049 has vacated an arbitration award in favor of the union due to the "evident partiality" of the arbitrator, based on the arbitrator's role as executive director of a union-advocacy group.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Today the Court announced an amendment to Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2, which clarifies the propriety of advising clients with respect to Ohio's medical marijuana law, which went into effect earlier this month. Kudos to the Court for moving quickly to amend the rule after the Board of Professional Conduct last month issued an advisory opinion indicating that such counseling was impermissible.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Monday, September 12, 2016
Is a member of the public entitled to make a claim under a contractor-licensing bond posted with the city?
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Justice Lanzinger has served on the Court since 2005, after being elected in November 2004 and re-elected by a wide margin in 2010. Justice Langzinger has periodically blogged at Justice Judy since 2010.
Justice Pfeiffer, if I'm not mistaken, enjoys the distinction of having served longer on the Court than all but four earlier associate justices, having first been elected in 1992.
Randy Ludlow of the Columbus Dispatch has this look-back on their service on the Court.
Monday, August 29, 2016
The procedural ruling is in State v. Ford, a death penalty appeal out of Summit County. The defendant had filed an unopposed motion to partially unseal the record. At issue are several dozen documents ordered sealed by the trial court, many of which (according to Ford's counsel) relate to competency issues. Ford's attorneys--who are based in Youngstown, Ohio, and Glorietta, New Mexico--did not seek full public access to the records. Rather, they sought permission for counsel of record or the Ohio Public Defender to access and make copies of the record. The Court denied the motion, but ordered that counsel of record or the Ohio Public Defender may view the sealed documents at the Clerk's office.
Friday, August 26, 2016
In one of the disciplinary matters, Columbus Bar Association v. Eric Lee Lafayette, the Court sua sponte took the somewhat unusual step of rejecting the agreed recommended sanction of a one-year suspension from the practice of law to be stayed on conditions, and remanded the matter to the Board of Professional Conduct for further proceedings, "including consideration of a more severe sanction." Lafayette has been accused of mishandling an immigration matter that resulted in the voluntary departure of his client, of forging a client's signature on bankruptcy documents, and failing to advise a client that he did not have malpractice insurance.