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

July 2012 Archives

Search and Seizure Spotlight: Flashing a Jeep Isn't a Seizure

Joseph Mabery was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The district court sentenced Mabery to 327 months’ imprisonment. That’s a pretty harsh sentence, but the court noted that Mabery had an extensive criminal history of theft, assault, and drug charges, and had never been lawfully employed.

Mabery obviously had to challenge the search — who wouldn’t, when facing over 27 years for gun possession — so he argued to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that the cops who discovered his contraband illegally seized his vehicle by shining a spotlight on it.

A spotlight, however, is not a tractor beam. Illumination is not a means of detention. Mabery lost his appeal.

Prempro Ruling Offer Crash Course in Expert Testimony

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that an Arkansas federal magistrate judge abused his discretion when he blocked expert testimony from a doctor on behalf of two Prempro users who developed breast cancer, reports CBS.

A study linked Prempro -- a combination hormone therapy drug marketed to treat symptoms of menopause -- to increased rates of breast cancer, heart attack and stroke in 2002.

S.D. Informed Consent Warning Can Include Increased Suicide Risks

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that South Dakota can require doctors to warn women seeking abortions that they face an increased risk of suicide if they go through with the procedure, reports The Associated Press.

The 7-4 en banc decision reverses a previous panel decision finding that the suicide warning in South Dakota's informed consent law required unconstitutional compelled speech.

Suspect Has Criminal Record: Reasonable Suspicion for a Pat-Down?

A criminal record of violence coupled with questionable driving can transform a run-of-the-mill traffic into an excuse for a full-body pat-down.

But are the fruits of said search admissible in court?

Last week, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that can be, depending on the totality of the circumstances.

Driving Without License Plate Establishes Reasonable Suspicion

In Nebraska, the fuzz can stop a vehicle for tooling about town without license plates. Even if the vehicle has a Nebraska In Transit sticker, the cops can demand the driver's license and registration.

If the driver can't produce a valid license, it's game over, according to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Without a validly-licensed driver on hand, the police could impound and search the vehicle.

But wait, there's more.

Court Denies Qualified Immunity to Prison Nurses

There’s never a shortage of prisoner appeals in the Eighth Circuit. Here’s a case involving a prisoner who suffered from active tuberculosis and brought suit against the prison’s nurses for failing to recognize his illness.

Prisoner Marchello McCaster was admitted to the Ramsey County Correctional Facility for a 58-day sentence. At the time he was admitted, he had active TB. His condition got worse in prison. Eventually, he was transferred to a hospital ER days before his prison release.

Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference Promises Great Social Events

Attention Eighth Circuit practitioners! The Judicial Conference of the Eighth Circuit will soon be underway in Kansas City, Missouri.

The conference is once every two years, so be sure to take advantage of it. It will be held this year from August 8th to the 10th at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown.

Eighth Circuit Affirms Enhanced Sentence for Blaine Hacker

Hackers can do hard time, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed on Thursday.

This isn’t just a tale of hacking, but a bizarre conflict between neighbors. And it brings into question the enhancement of sentences, under the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

Earlier this week, the appeals court affirmed an 18-year prison sentence for a Blaine hacker, Barry Vincent Ardolf, reports the Pioneer Press.

Anatomy of a Wage Discrimination Case in the 8th Circuit

Wage discrimination claims have specific standards. In order to bring a proper claim of wage discrimination, those standards must be met. In a recent Eighth Circuit case, a professor at St. Cloud State University failed to meet these standards when he alleged that race played a factor in his low salary.

Here’s a deeper look at the case and why he lost his wage discrimination argument.