Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Free Legal Advice

I don't usually offer legal opinions here at the Cincinnati blog. People don't really read this blog for that. And besides, with a co-blogger who's a "biglaw" partner, I wonder if my place isn't to be seen and not heard with respect to the law; I should just stick to streetcar posts.

But there's a complex legal issue that's risen recently in Hamilton County, and it's one that people seem to have a hard time understanding. So I thought I might be performing a public service by offering the following advice:

Don't steal from the blind guy visually-impaired gentleman who runs the deli at the courthouse!

I know it's tempting. After all, those Hamilton County sheriff's deputies you saw on the way into the building must be a good 20 or 30 feet away; surely you can outrun them. But there's some problems. You know the other people working behind the counter? Turns out that they're not blind. And that big thing, right behind the counter about fifteen feet up on the wall above the cash register, that looks like a camera? It's--well, I know it's surprising, but it's a camera. And it's connnected to some sort of VCR or DVR. And you know all those people who have been in the news, caught stealing from the deli? Like this woman? Or this one? Or this couple? Or this guy? Well, if you're thinking about stealing from the courthouse deli, you're probably not smarter or better at being a thief than they are. Which means you'll get caught. That's what happened to this woman earlier this week. (Sorry. The last woman allegedly stole from the deli.)

And by the way, maybe you've got some experience with the criminal justice system. So you're thinking to yourself that theft of a small amount of money or food is a misdemeanor. The worst that could happen, you're thinking, is some time in the Justice Center. Another problem: in Ohio, theft from an elderly person or a disabled adult (like a blind man running a deli) is a felony. You can go to prison. For a year. Ouch. All for a couple of bucks and a licorice twist.
I hope this has been helpful in resolving any questions you might have about the legality and wisdom of committing theft offenses in the Hamilton County Courthouse.

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