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

May 2013 Archives

A district court ordered a special condition on a defendant’s sentence for supervised release: a restraining order to not to have contact with his girlfriend or her family. He challenged this restriction based on it being unnecessarily restrictive and unreasonably related to the sentencing goals set out in 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a).

During a domestic violence disturbance, police discovered that Jeremiah Wroblewski violated several conditions of his supervised release terms for a firearm possession. The police reports noted that there were noticeable marks on Wroblewski’s girlfriend’s face consistent with her account of an alleged assault. However, the district court only made findings for his curfew violations and not domestic violence. The court ordered a special condition that Wroblewski keep away from his girlfriend anyway.

A bank robber was caught soon after a robbery with the help of a GPS device thrown in with the stolen money. As a result, he was tracked. The police found in a stolen van, through a warrantless search, his cell phone with photos and videos. The phone videos and photos along with the GPS evidence were all later submitted as evidence against him.

The Eighth Circuit has upheld the district court's admission of all of this high-tech evidence. The Fourth Amendment was not violated when a cell phone was searched without a warrant in this case, but not because of the automobile exception to a warrantless search. The Confrontation Clause was also not violated when police used a GPS device to track down the robber. It was properly admitted.

Bryan St. Patrick Gallimore was arrested and convicted of second degree burglary with a sentence of no more than ten years. Gallimore was consequently facing criminal deportation as an alien convicted of an aggravated felony.

Gallimore sought to stay in the U.S. by seeking deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). However, he was denied because of the criminal alien bar under 8 U.S.C. Section 1227.

Beware of Newbie Police Informants, They're Reliable Too

It was business as usual for Adam Winarske back on June 29, 2011. He was meeting a man named Fergel to sell him a handgun at the parking lot of a shopping mall. Little did he know that Fergel was a police informant; a reliable one at that.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a new informant can be a reliable enough source for police to believe there is probable cause of a criminal activity occurring.

Halloween Law Unenforceable, But Plaintiffs Pay Own Fees

Halloween and other holiday sex-offender restriction laws are a growing trend amongst that states, but at least in Missouri, the law will have a limited reach. After the Missouri State Supreme Court weighed in on the matter, anyone convicted before the law was passed in 2008 cannot be prosecuted for violating the law’s restrictions, which include not celebrating Halloween, turning out the lights for that evening, and posting a “No Candy” sign at the registered sex offender’s residence.

The plaintiffs-appellees in this Eighth Circuit case are not the defendants in the Missouri case, but they did have the same objective: to strike down the law. They sought an injunction to prevent enforcement immediately after the law was passed, and it was granted — days before Halloween. Unfortunately for them, the Eighth Circuit stayed the injunction, and Halloween proceeded, with sex offender restrictions in place.

Immunity Granted: He Didn't Know He Couldn't Tase Handcuffed Perp

Officer Anton Mark was involved in a de minimis incident with Plaintiff Miles LaCross in 2006. Officer Mark suspected that LaCross, who appeared to be a minor, and who had a female companion, may have been consuming alcohol. The parties discussed the matter, and at some point, LaCross ended up in the back of the squad car.

That’s the civilized version. What really happened was probably a bit more … confrontational. LaCross was zapped with a Taser while handcuffed in the back of a the squad car. LaCross says that it was unprovoked. Officer Mark says that LaCross kicked at the car’s windows, spat, and attempted to bite him.

The court also noted, in a footnote, that while the Taser was used three times. “LaCross challenges only the Taser application that occurred while he was handcuffed and seated in the squad car.”