Ohio Law

News and Announcements from the Supreme Court of Ohio and Other Governmental Entities Within the Buckeye State.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Secrets of 2000 Election Funding Revealed

Faced with a $25,000 fine per day for non-compliance with a November order issued by the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the Citizens for a Strong Ohio released a list of contributors to a very controversial campaign waged against SupremeCourt of Ohio Justice Alice Robie Resnick. Leading contributor was the Ohio Chamber of Commerce at $200,000, followed by the American Insurance Association at $185,000. The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce also kicked in $25,000, with ten other corporations, mostly banks and insurance companies, combining to give $1 million. Click here for more info on the 2000 campaign.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Enforcement of Portion of Code of Judicial Conduct Suspended

Ohio's Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 7 is the subject of an order (scroll down to the bottom of page 2) handed down today by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

In re Enforcement of Canons 7(B)(3)(a)(iv), 7(B)(3)(b) and 7(D)(2)

The above should take care of another federal lawsuit that concerned last year's election and the identification of party affiliation by a judge during an election campaign. The last Canon section mentioned above deals with the use of the term "judge" when a judge is a candidate for another judicial office and does not indicate the court on which the judge currently serves.


Marriage Amendment and Domestic Violence

Here is a story from last weekend's Plain Dealer on the situation. More news from this morning relates that the Cuyahoga County Public Defender argued in front of a Cleveland court yesterday in the hopes of getting a domestic violence charge dropped because the law refers to a "family or household member" defined as "a spouse, a person living as a spouse or a former spouse of the offender." The ACLU said that Ohio voters who approved Issue 1 did not intend to permit unmarried people who live together to abuse one another, and certainly did not intend to encourage domestic violence by passing Issue 1. Cleveland Ordinance 609.07 (within the Family Offenses Chapter) can be found here. You will have to scroll down a bit to see it.

Judge Stuart Friedman of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court heard the arguments yesterday and stated that he would issue an opinion on February 18th. Whichever way this gets decided, expect it to eventually wind up in Columbus, and then probably Washington, D.C.


CRS Issues Internet Privacy Report

Here is the link. It is entitled "Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation."

The Blurb:

"This report provides an overview of Internet privacy issues and related laws that were passed in the 108th and 107th Congresses. It also provides information on other legislation that did not clear the 108th Congress."


Thursday, January 27, 2005

State Legislator Disclosures

The Center for Public Integrity has collated and posted a list of the most recent Personal Financial Disclosure forms (2002-2004) submitted by state legislators. Here is the Ohio list. Thanks to beSpacific for the tip.


Some Legislation Introduced this Week

S. B. No. 12
Would increase the child and dependent care credit for some taxpayers and increase the income eligibility limit for the credit; to grant a state earned income tax credit; and to specify requirements relating to refund anticipation loans, including consumer disclosures, prohibitions, and civil remedies.

S. B. No. 5 / H.B. 5
Would permit small employers to offer health care plans without benefits otherwise required by statute and provide for the operation of health savings accounts consistent with federal laws.

S. B. No. 3 / H.B. 3
Would require the Secretary of State to establish a computerized statewide voter registration database in compliance with the Help America Vote Act of 2002; to require electors who register to vote by mail and have not previously voted in an election to provide identification before being permitted to cast a ballot; to permit certain electors to vote by provisional ballot in federal, state, and local elections; to specify counting standards for optical scan ballots; and to require that the applicant for a non-automatic recount pay the entire cost of the recount if its results do not change the result of the election.

H. B. No. 17
Would prohibit a court of common pleas or other court of competent jurisdiction and the attorney general from offsetting a consumer's award of the full purchase price of a motor vehicle by the mileage accrued by the consumer on the new motor vehicle in a warranty dispute.

H. B. No. 12
Would create the T-1 permit to authorize certain colleges and universities and professional athletic teams to allow the consumption of beer and intoxicating liquor brought into restricted areas on the property they own or lease.


Wither Government Documents?

This just in from the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL):

The Government Printing Office (GPO) announced at the American Library Association's Mid-Winter meeting that they plan to (as of FY 2006) only print in hard copy the titles that are listed on the Essential Titles for Public Use in Paper Format. In addition, GPO will initiate a Print on Demand (POD) Allowance Program of $500 for selective depository libraries and $1500 for the 53 regional depository libraries to purchase titles that are not on the Essential
Titles List. GPO admits that POD technology is not archival (disapperaring ink?) and that the materials depositorylibraries purchase through this new service will have a shelf life of only 20 to 30 years. AALL points out that the Essential Titles list, last revised in 2000, does not include important materials including maps, geological information, administrative decisions and other legal materials, as well as Senate and House reports, documents, and hearings
that inform the citizenry of the workings of Congress.

Now I believe in an orderly transfer of power to digitized formats, but the GPO seems to be taking the bull in the china shop approach to possible (well, almost certain) budgetary problems.
I'm sure more news on this development will follow.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

New Library School Opportunity in Ohio

Thanks to Al Podboy of Baker & Hostetler in Cleveland for the tip.

Click here for the announcement of a new partnership between The School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Distance learning is the key here, with a seven-day residency in July 2005 and the remainder of classes online.


Online Notification of Contract Bids

From Columbus Business First:

The state of Ohio will start using a web-based software package to notify interested parties of available state contracts on which they can bid. Notification will be by fax or e-mail. Check the link above for more details.


Public Records in Ohio

Edison Ellenberger offers some information on the E-LawLibrary Weblog concerning newly introduced Ohio HB9, a revamping of how public records requests should be handled in the state.


Testimonial Advertising...the rest of the story

I posted earlier this week concerning a order from the Supreme Court of Ohio effectively lifting the ban on testimonial advertising for attorneys. Not much info was within that order. A story posted on the Gongwer News Service site stated that the decision to lift the rule came after professional sports agent and attorney Bret Adams of Columbus filed suit in U.S. District Court (2:04-CV-00264, S.D. Ohio) against Chief Justice Thomas Moyer and the six justices. Adams contended the state court's advertising rule deprived him of his right to commercial free speech. Adams wanted to run a print advertisement featuring an endorsement from athlete-coach Chris Spielman, now of the Columbus Destroyers.

The federal lawsuit was dropped (on January 21, 2005 according to PACER) in view of the court's move to halt enforcement of the existing rule. The order by the court appears to effectively overturn the 1998 opinion of Disciplinary Counsel v. Shane, 81 Ohio St.3d 494, 692 N.E.2d 571 (Apr 22, 1998) (NO. 97-2642, 97-2643, 0074) in which the court agreed "with the conclusion of the panel that the four television commercials presented from April 1994 through early 1996, in which former clients praised the work of the firm, violated DR 2- 101(A)(3)."


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Google Video

I've seen this reported on other fronts, so I figured that readers of Ohio Law should also be so informed. Google now has a search mechanism for video. It's in its beta stage, so don't expect too much. Right now it searches only some San Francisco area stations, Fox News, PBS, C-SPAN, and C-SPAN2. The indexing started in late December, and they will be adding more channels. Offerings from the stations are comprised of stills and transcripts. No video yet. Expect this to be an area of heavy competition with Yahoo being a major competitor amd broadcast rights proving to be a major impediment.


You Have Got To Try This...

Last week I posted concerning a new tracking service for federal legislative resources. It is called GovTrack.us, and it is fantastic. You are able to create a news feed for any piece of legislation, legislation that falls under specific subject terms, or even track what your Senators or Representatives are doing or saying. Right now I am receiving news feeds for any legislation that is classified under the subjects of Internet or web sites, and others that track Senators Voinovich and DeWine, Representative Tiberi, and HR 29, the Anti-Spyware bill sponsored by Mary Bono of California. I'll let you know later if I think I'm receiving all of the info that I should be getting.


Attorney Advertising and Testimonials

Here is the way DR 2-101(a)(3) reads:


(A) A lawyer shall not, on his or her own behalf or that of a partner, associate, or other lawyer affiliated with the lawyer or the lawyer's firm, use, or participate in the use of, any form of public communication, including direct mail solicitation, that:
(3) Contains any testimonial of past or present clients pertaining to the lawyer's capability;

Here is an order published yesterday by the Supreme Court of Ohio:


In re Enforcement of DR 2-101(A)(3) : ORDER

Whereas this court is vested with the authority to regulate the practice of law
in this state pursuant to Section 2(B), Article 4, Ohio Constitution,
It is hereby ordered that the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and all certified
grievance committees of local bar associations or the Ohio State Bar Association
shall not enforce any purported violation of DR 2-101(A)(3) until further order of
this court.


My iPod Shuffle(s) Back to California

In a post last week I mentioned that I had ordered the latest from Apple, the iPod Shuffle MP3 player. Well, it came, I was unimpressed, and it went back yesterday to California. I did find a lead to a very cheap MP3 player / jump drive combo unit that retails for about 28 bucks that has piqued my interest.


Marriage Amendment Provides Defense to Domestic Battery

An editorial in the Toledo Blade points out that two domestic violence cases in Cuyahoga County, the public defender’s office has asked that domestic-violence charges be dismissed, citing the amendment’s prohibition against any legal status for unmarried couples that approximates marriage. Ohio’s domestic-violence law, the public defender pointed out, applies to a “person living as a spouse.” I've also heard rumblings that some Ohio public universities that offer same-sex domestic partner benefits will not stop providing them, thus setting up a possible court battle. I checked Ohio State's web page that offers info on the latter and could find no mention of the constitutional amendment.


Smokings Bans To Take Effect Next Week

Two Franklin County cities, Columbus and Dublin, both have smoking bans or indoor clean air acts taking effect next week. I believe it's January 31st for Columbus and February 1st for Dublin. There may be others as well. Information on the Columbus act can be found here. Dublin information can be found here. The Dublin site also provides a PDF of the official no smoking sign that lists a phone number to report violations. Should be interesting times in both cities. It's just too bad that the ostriches on the Dublin City Council decided to wait until after Columbus' referendum on the issue in November before taking any action. It wasn't enough that cigarettes=eventual slow death, they had to make sure the city wouldn't lose a few of the smokers' dollars to Columbus before enacting a sensible piece of legislation.


Some Updates to THOMAS

From LLRX:

Burrowing down one level from the top page still provides screens for searching legislation and the Congressional Record. However, users can now can search the text of legislation across multiple congresses for the 101st Congress (1989) to the present. All or any combination of congresses can be selected to be searched simultaneously. Word searches can be limited to 1) legislation with floor action or legislation that has been enrolled and sent to the president, and 2) just House or just Senate legislation. Enter on the above link to review other subtle changes wrought by the Library of Congress.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Ohio's County Law Libraries (UPDATED)

Each of Ohio's 88 counties has a county law library. Scratch that. I heard at a meeting last Friday that the one located in Ironton was closed. Now there's 87. Funding of these libraries has always been a difficult propostion, with the byzantine statutory funding structure making the libraries dependent on the number of traffic tickets written by municipalities and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The libraries are also "quasi-public" in that they are not obliged to open their doors to the public, but must serve a statutorily defined constituency (judges, elected officials, etc.). The latter means that some of the libraries have an "Association" with dues-paying members. That money is classified as "private money," while the fine money is "public money." The libraries get audited by the state of Ohio, and those are always fun times for the librarians. But enough about history. The problem now is how to keep these libraries solvent with diminishing fine monies and a state budget that is supposedly going to be $5 billion in the hole this year. This problem has been discussed and rehashed at length for as long as I've been working in libraries (1987). The small counties feel that the big counties want to pool resources and monies for the sole purpose of getting in their pocket and taking money from them. The big counties see their budgets and fine money payments shrinking and feel the smaller counties are in a better financial position because of their geographic juxtaposition to an interstate where more traffic tickets are written. It's the same story every time.

This year might be different in that time may be running out. The state is going to cut the counties off at the knees in the next budget. The counties are going to be looking for income sources, and libraries could be in their line of fire. Librarians are worried about their survival. I have a suggestion that usually works on a personal level: make your library an indispensable unit within the county that people could not live without. How do you do that? One way is to make all of the libraries "county public law libraries." Open the doors to the public, the pro se, the student. The public love going to law libraries and conducting research. I worked for a time at the Washington-Centerville Public Library and was amazed at the amount of legal-type questions that came in on a daily basis. The need exists. Some libraries may not notice any change at all, while others may get bombarded with patrons and questions.

Indispensibility. Working more closely with other law libraries within the state. Resource sharing. Group buying. I think the time is now, before another of the 87 remaining county law libraries is forced to close its doors. This is just a suggestion that I have no way of predicting how it would work out. The perceptions above concerning the current situation of county law libraries in the state of Ohio are my own. If anyone feels that I am mistaken, please let me know.


UPDATE: I have it on good authority that the library located in Ironton is alive and well. I'll explore a bit further to see if any other library has closed (1-25-05)

INDUCE again

This INDUCE Act thing has kind of stuck in my craw. Will these people stop the groupthink sponsored by the RIAA, MPAA, and all of the other xxAAs that wants to send people to jail for listening to an/or sharing music? Probably not. In any event, there is, of course, a blawg on the subject: The Induce Act Blog. Check it out.