Friday, February 26, 2010

Our Name Changed

Regular readers probably noticed our library and blog name change in January. If you link to us from your blog or website, please modify our listing from "Cincinnati Law Library Blog" to "Hamilton County Law Library Blog". Thanks for following our posts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court "Miranda" decisions

The United States Supreme Court, yesterday and the day before, issued rulings seen by some as further weakening defendants' Miranda rights.

Last Tuesday, the Court in Florida v. Powell held that Florida's alternative wording of the Miranda warning was acceptable, even though it does not explicitly state that a suspect has a right to have a lawyer present during questioning.

Maryland v. Shatzer, yesterday, established new, more permissive rules for police who want to question a suspect for a second time after the suspect invokes Miranda's right to remain silent. this morning said that latter case in particular "weakens the so-called rule evolved from Edwards v. Arizona in 1981 , which stated that, once a suspect invokes Miranda, any subsequent waiver of the right triggered by a police request is deemed involuntary -- making further police questioning improper.

"Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority," that article said, "carved out an exception to the Edwards rule when there is a 'break in custody' between the first and subsequent police efforts to question the suspect, saying the rule should not act as an 'eternal' bar against further police questioning. 'In a country that harbors a large number of repeat offenders,' Scalia said, 'this consequence is disastrous.' In the interest of producing a clear rule on the issue, Scalia said the Court agreed that, after a 14-day 'break of custody,' police may try to question a suspect again without fear that a subsequent confession would be suppressed. 'That provides plenty of time for the suspect to get re-acclimated to his normal life ... and to shake off any residual coercive effect of his prior custody.' In Shatzer's case, Scalia said the fact that he was actually in prison during the 'break in custody' did not alter the calculus. Justices Clarence Thomas and John Paul Stevens joined Scalia's decision, except in the 14-day duration of the new rule."

In Tuesday's ruling in Florida v. Powell, Kevin Powell had been told he had 'the right to talk to a lawyer' before answering police questions, and that he could use 'any of these rights at any time you want' during the interview. He had then admitted to owning a handgun found by police and was charged with possession as a convicted felon in violation of Florida law. The trial court denied Powell's motion to suppress his inculpatory statements, based on the contention that the Miranda warnings he received did not adequately convey his right to the presence of an attorney during questioning. Powell was convicted of the gun-possession charge. On review the appellate court held that the trial court should have suppressed the statements, to which the Florida Supreme Court agreed.

But the Supreme Court, Tuesday, disagreed, repeating long-held precedent in saying, that "While the warnings prescribed by Miranda are invariable, this Court has not dictated the words in which the essential information must be conveyed. See, e.g., California v. Prysock, 453 U. S. 355, 359. In determining whether police warnings were satisfactory, reviewing courts are not required to 'examine [them] as if construing a will or defining the terms of an easement. The inquiry is simply whether the warnings reasonably 'conve[y] to [a suspect] his rights as required by Miranda.'" [ Duckworth v. Eagan, 492 U. S. 195 ]

“Miranda v. Arizona” (Wikipedia)
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Earn Free CLE Credit with Westlaw

On Tuesday, March 16 your Westlaw representative, Denice Fogle, will offer the following class for 1 Ohio CLE credit in the CLLA's board room.

12:30 for Westlaw Secondary Sources (1.0 Ohio CLE Credit) Exploring Westlaw's secondary sources:

* Jury Verdicts for 50 states
* Form Finder
* Term & Connector search
* Narrowing results
* Keycite

1:45 Meet with your Westlaw Representative
After the class, meet with Denice Fogle in the computer lab to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about using Westlaw. She'll be happy to offer tips and suggestions for your current research projects. We hope you take advantage of this opportunity.

Please call 946.5300 or email to register. Join us, won't you?

Learn more about IntelliConnect

On Tuesday, March 2 your CCH representative will offer an introduction to IntelliConnect, CCH's newer online research platform.

1:00 IntelliConnect Essentials
Explore basic search functionality of IntelliConnect including:

* Available content
* Basic searching
* Browse feature
* Narrowing results
* Document Delivery
* Set up email alerts

2:30 IntelliConnect Federal Tax Library Use the knowledge attained in the earlier CCH session to increase your efficiency and get better search results when using the Federal Tax Library.

To register for this informative training, please call 946.5300 or email to register.

We look forward to seeing you then!

Ohio Indigent Death Penalty Representation Rule Amendments

The Ohio supreme court announced the adoption of amendments to its rules for the appointment of counsel for indigent defendants in capital cases today. They take effect March 1. (Announcement)

Former Rules of Superintendence 20 and 21 pertained to the appointment of counsel for indigent defendants in capital cases at the trial and appeals level respectively. The amendments among other things clarify the amount of specialized training needed to serve as lead or co-counsel or appellate counsel in indigent capital cases, and push back the date from July 1 to Dec. 31 when the Rule 20 Committee will revoke certification for attorneys who are out of compliance with specialized training requirements for the prior two-year period.

The new rules can be accessed here.

The Supreme Court's Committee on the Appointment of Counsel for Indigent Defendant Cases – which administers requirements of Rule 20 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio, including the certification of attorneys who are eligible to be appointed to represent indigent capital defendants – has additional information, roster of eligible attorneys, and several forms (including the application for certification to represent indigent persons) on its website @

Friday, February 19, 2010

State of Kentucky amends lethal injection protocol

In April 2008, the United States Supreme Court found that Kentucky's lethal injection protocol did not violate Ralph Baze or Thomas Bowling's Eighth Amendment rights against cruel & unusual punishment, because "it does not create a substantial risk of wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain, torture, or lingering death." [ Baze v. Rees, 07-5439 ]

Last November, Baze and Bowling were joined by a third death row inmate, not challenging the constitutionality or lawfulness per se, but the fact that Kentucky's lethal injection protocol had not been adopted by the state according its own administrative protocol. Kentucky's Supreme Court agreed, saying in pertinent part, that "thorough examination of Kentucky's death penalty protocol in the seven-day bench trial held in Baze and Bowling's first declaratory judgment action (Baze/Bowling 1), a proceeding in which approximately 20 witnesses, including several experts, were called by both sides, was a sufficient public hearing and thus the current protocol need not be formally adopted as an administrative regulation. While the trial was certainly an extensive public vetting of the protocol, this Court cannot ignore the publication and public hearing requirements set forth in Kentucky statutes. Thus, the Department must proceed pursuant to KRS Chapter 13A to adopt as an administrative regulation all portions of the protocol implementing the lethal injection statute except those involving purely internal matters…" [ Bowling v. Ky.Dept. Corrections, 2007-SC-000021 ]

Accordingly, on Jan. 29, the Kentucky Public Safety & Justice Cabinet complied with the Court's requirement, with a public hearing during which comments "ranged from calls to abolish the death penalty altogether to some mere tweaking of associated mechanics." (See AP article on Feb. 16 )

Videotape of those hearings and a commentary & summary of those proceedings were made available last Tuesday.

In Kentucky, prisoners who receive a death sentence prior to March 31, 1998, can choose between lethal injection and electrocution as their means of execution, which was also taken into account in the Jan. 29th. hearings. [ KRS 431.220 ]

Title 501, Chapter 16 of Kentucky’s Administrative Regulations, relating to Capital Punishment are as follows:

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ohio death penalty updates

The Ohio Supreme Court and U.S. Southern Ohio District Court both denied stays of execution for Mark Brown yesterday.

Brown last week was granted a motion to be included in a lawsuit challenging Ohio's lethal injection system, and, last Saturday, to "incorporate the entire record from Cooey v. Strickland, Case No. 2:04-CV-1156 into (his) case."

His execution is scheduled for 10 o'clock Thursday morning.

The Court has also set execution dates in the following cases:

  • 1994-1964. State v. William Garner
    Convicted in 1992 for the aggravated murder of five children. After burglarizing a home, in which he observed six (6) children, Garner set three (3) fires in the house. Five (5) of those children died from smoke inhalation.

    Motion to Set Execution Date

  • 1996-0452. State v. Roderick Davie

    Also known as Abdul Hakiym Zakiy, was convicted and sentenced to death for the June 27, 1991, aggravated murders of John Ira Coleman and Tracey Jefferys

    Motion to Set Execution Date

  • 1996-1149. State v. Kevin Keith

    Convicted and sentenced to death for the aggravated murder of Marichell Chatman, LindaChatman, and Marchae Chatman in 1994.

    Motion to Set Execution Date

Monday, February 01, 2010

Ohio death penalty stay granted

The Ohio Supreme Court this morning granted a stay of execution to Kerry Perez, "until exhaustion of all state post-conviction proceedings, including any appeals." (Here)

Perez was found guilty of two death penalty specifications for aggravated murder in the commission of a violent felony in 2003 with the Supreme Court affirming last December. Among the 13 allegations rejected by the Court then was a claim by defense attorneys that the trial court should not have admitted into evidence tape recordings of conversations between Perez and his wife that were made with her consent but without his knowledge during her visits with him at the Clark County jail. Perez contended that admitting secret recordings of what he believed to be confidential communications with his spouse into evidence violated the marital-communications privilege set forth in R.C. 2945.42 and denied him due process of law. ( See Court’s Summary ).

A motion for reconsideration was denied last week, with his motion for a stay of his March 2nd. execution being filed the same day.