U.S. Eighth Circuit

U.S. Eighth Circuit - The FindLaw 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


What can you get from two marijuana roaches with leftover weed, blunt paper, cigarillo wrappers, and 2 baggie knots pulled from the trash? No, it's not the worst Christmas present ever -- it's probable cause!

A few scraps of marijuana and paraphernalia recovered after searching through thirteen -- thirteen! -- bags of trash weren't the evidence of crack dealing that cops sought, but they were enough to support a warrant to search the house, the Eighth Circuit ruled on Monday.

The Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juvenile offenders violate the Eight Amendment. The question immediately arose: would juveniles who had received such sentences before the ruling be able to have their sentences revisited?

No, according to the Eighth. Miller does not require courts to revisit sentences given prior to the ruling, the Eighth Circuit held on Monday. Prisoners who were given mandatory sentences of life without parole for crimes they committed as children cannot have those sentences retroactively changed. The case is especially noteworthy, as the Supreme Court granted cert this march on the same issue, in a case arising from Louisiana.

Infamous pornographer Larry Flynt may be allowed to intervene in two Missouri death penalty cases and access previously sealed records following a ruling by the Eight Circuit today. The cases challenged the constitutionality of Missouri's execution methods.

Flynt, who gained notoriety as the outspoken founder of Hustler magazine, sought to intervene in the lawsuits as a publisher and death penalty opponent. Intervention could give him access to documents previously sealed by the court, including the identities of participants in the states' executions. Joseph Franklin, who shot and paralyzed Flynt in 1978, was also a party to the suits before he was executed for other crimes in 2013.

Custodial parents may relocate their children to a new state without a court order, the Supreme Court of North Dakota has ruled, so long as the noncustodial parent has "moved" out of the state. The noncustodial parent does not need to have intended to establish residence in a new state for his or her relocation to count as a "move" under North Dakota law.

The case, Eggers v. Eggers, involves a mother with primary custody of three minor children who moved them from North Dakota to Ohio to North Carolina without the father's consent or a court order. No order was needed, the court found, since the father had already left the state.

The Eight Circuit has upheld the conviction, on sexual abuse and molestation charges, of a South Dakota man found to have abused several young girls, including his nieces, near the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

Randy Never Misses A Shot had been convicted of five counts of child related sexual abuse. He appealed, arguing, in part, that the court had erred in allowing six witnesses to testify about similar sexual assaults he committed and in refusing to allow him to introduce evidence that one of his alleged victims had been previously molested by others.

The Eight Circuit affirmed his conviction, rejecting his claims.

After Henry Lyons gave a student athlete an "F" in his course at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, a university committee determined that the student should get a second chance. The paper, graded by the committee, got a D+.

Lyons complained to the school's chancellor about the preferential treatment afforded student athletes and asked for an investigation. The university didn't offer him a job for the next semester, which Lyons said was retaliation for speaking out about the treatment of student athletes, a violation of his First Amendment rights.

From the Eighth Circuit comes another in the increasingly lengthy list of lessons that courts do not like it when employers creatively classify employees in order to circumvent labor laws.

ActionLink, a marketing company, partners with electronics and appliance companies, like LG, to provide "brand advocates" who go into stores to convince employees to push their clients' products.

A sheriff's deputy in South Dakota, accused of using excessive force in shooting and killing a young man, is not summarily protected from suit by qualified immunity, the Eighth Circuit held on Monday.

Christopher Capps, a 22-year-old member of the Lakota Sioux tribe, was shot and killed by Deputy David Olson in 2010. When Capps' parents sued, Olson argued that he was protected by qualified immunity. The facts alleged put that into question, the court found. Olson's alleged use of excessive force would have violated Capps' constitutional rights and prevented Olson from being covered by qualified immunity. Thus, the factual dispute must be determined at trial.

In what The Associated Press called "a surprise," the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals announced that it would hear same-sex marriage appeals from South Dakota, Arkansas, and Missouri in a consolidated oral argument held the week of May 11 in Omaha, Nebraska.

The court agreed not only to consolidate all the cases, but to expedite the appeals. The court's ruling will definitely be influenced by the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in the Sixth Circuit same-sex marriage cases, which it will hear some time this term.

While we were away for the holidays, news surfaced that Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor who failed to secure an indictment against Darren Wilson for the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, may have withheld a teensy bit of information from the grand jury.

McCulloch said on December 19 that he put anyone who claimed to have seen the event in front of the grand jury, even if they were knowingly lying, and even if McCulloch knew they were lying.

Where does that get you?