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


Backpage.com has certainly faced quite a bit of public controversy over the past few years, given the website's popularity for online advertisements for prostitution.

In the company's most recent effort to dodge legal trouble and controversy, it is appealing the order to turn over years of both operational and editorial data. The Missouri state attorney general seeking the information believes that there is some evidence that Backpage "played a direct and active role in creation, soliciting, and promoting advertisements for illegal commercial sex on its website."

For African-style hair braiders in the state of Missouri, the recent Eighth Circuit decision striking down the challenge to the state's licensing requirement means that more work is going to be needed.

While hair braiders do not cut hair, the court and state believe that what they do squarely falls within the state's legal definition of a barber or cosmetologist. In supporting the need for hair braiders to be licensed as barbers or cosmetologists, the state relied on consumer protection and health risks, including inflammation, infection, and hair loss.

Photo ID Was Fair, Not Impermissibly Suggestive

Anthony Whitewater turned a bad day into 240 worse months.

He got into a fight at a party, got into a van and shot at people who were leaving the party. He was convicted of various crimes, including being a felon in possession of a firearm.

After sentencing, he appealed on the grounds that the photo line-up used to identify him was not fair. The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said it was fair enough.

Tip Was Enough Reasonable Suspicion After a Bank Robbery

The bad guys almost got away by using the old "hide-the-loot-and-the-robbers-in-the-trunk" trick.

Katherine Phil was driving a gray Ford Taurus near the vicinity of a bank robbery in Iowa when a police officer pulled her over. The deputy had heard a radio report about two men who may have fled in a gray Ford Taurus.

Phil was alone, however, and the deputy was about to let her go -- then decided to check the trunk. You guessed it, as Maxwell Smart would say, the robbers missed it by that much.

For the victims of sexual harassment, it is already difficult enough to come forward to speak up, let alone file an official complaint with an employer. And when it comes to sexual harassment lawsuits, the Eighth Circuit doesn't seem to be very plaintiff-friendly, according to a Citypages writer that surveyed a few curious results from within the circuit.

Notably, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has only one single female active justice out of nine. Of the five judges on senior status, there is also one more female jurist. However, given how highly the circuit regards the high standard sexual harassment plaintiffs are held to, it's natural that those plaintiffs would perceive a hostility towards sexual harassment claims from the court that may run deeper than just a predominantly male bench.

Former law partner and Nebraska state chief deputy attorney general, Leonard Grasz, recently had his nomination to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed by the Senate.

Despite the ABA's rarely given "unqualified" rating of soon-to-be Judge Grasz, the 50 to 48 vote cut along partisan lines, much like the Senate Judiciary Committee's 11 to 9 vote. Judge Grasz is expected to be a conservative judge, and if the ABA is correct, potentially one that is a little too passionate.

Mandatory Deportation Warning Isn't Retroactive

Maybe it's time that you criminal defense attorneys -- particularly when representing immigrants -- wear badges that say: "You may be deported if you are convicted."

That's because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that criminal defense attorneys have a duty to inform clients about possible immigration consequences of pleading guilty. It's required to provide effective counsel under the Sixth Amendment, the High Court said seven years ago in Padilla v. Kentucky.

But what if you messed up eight years ago? Well lucky for you, that's another case -- Barajas v. United States of America.

University Lecturer Loses Free Speech Case

After complaining about preferential grades for student athletes, a lecturer lost an appeal in his free speech case against a university.

Henry Lyons sued the University of Missouri-Kansas City for terminating his contract. He said school officials retaliated against him because he complained after they overruled his grade for a student athlete.

In Lyons v. Vaught, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that university officials were immune from liability. Basically, the court said there is no free speech for employee grievances.

Identify Theft Caught on Tape

Where to begin the criminal story of Candice A. Davis...

She said it should have begun in 2015, when an investigator first testified about working on her case. The prosecutor, however, said the investigator had evidence against Davis from earlier reports.

In United States of America v. Davis, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the investigator's testimony was enough to start the record in 2013. That's when the video started recording.

The Federal Communications Commission has just filed an amicus brief in a case pending before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that could change the VoIP game. And who the feds have chosen to support may (or may not) surprise you.

The case involves a rather significant battle over whether VoIP providers, like Vonage, should be regarded as traditional telecom companies, like Verizon, and subject to regulation by state run public utilities commissions. Right now, as the law currently stands, depending on whether a VoIP provider offers other more traditional communication (phone) or data (internet/cable) services, or not, the FCC regulations that apply are different. For standalone VoIP services, it is even less clear, despite the position of the parties.