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

October 2013 Archives

Special Prosecutor Appointed for Maryville Rape Case

A Missouri judge appointed a special prosecutor on Monday to take over the investigation of the alleged rape of Daisy Coleman in the town of Maryville, a case that attracted national attention after it was publicized by The Kansas City Star and computer hacking group Anonymous.

For many who have followed the case closely, this latest move has been a long time coming.

Fremont May Change Illegal Immigrant Housing Ban

The Fremont City Council will soon consider removing portions of the city's ban on renting housing to people who aren't in the U.S. legally.

Fremont voters approved the city ordinance in 2010 that prohibits hiring or renting to people who can't prove they are in the country legally. The hiring portion is in effect, but the housing provision has been delayed due to protracted litigation over the controversial section.

Despite staving off a slew of legal challenges, the city itself is now reconsidering the ordinance due to financial concerns.

Oh SNAP: 8th Cir. Hears FOIA Food Stamp Payment Data Case

In the midst of a FOIA battle, South Dakota's Argus Leader newspaper argued before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals panel to reverse a ruling blocking the newspaper from receiving data on how much the federal government pays to stores that redeem food stamp benefits.

The Argus Leader filed the case against the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps -- after the department refused the newspaper's Freedom of Information Act request for SNAP payment information.

The issue is whether the payments that businesses receive for participating in the federal food stamp program are covered by a confidentiality provision.

Fremont Immigration Ordinance Rehearing Request Denied by 8th Cir.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a request for an en banc rehearing of a case challenging a Fremont, Nebraska, housing ordinance. The law requires people to prove they're in the country legally before they can rent an apartment.

In a four-sentence order issued Thursday, the Eighth Circuit denied the petition for a rehearing of the case en banc, reports the Lincoln Journal Star.

Nebraska Supreme Court Denies Abortion to Girl in Foster Care

A 16-year-old girl in foster care was not mature enough to be allowed to get an abortion, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled.

The young woman, referred to as Anonymous 5 in the opinion, became a ward of the state earlier this year after suffering years of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her biological parents. Citing her foster parents' strict religious views, Anonymous 5 requested a judicial bypass from the court for an abortion when she was 10 weeks pregnant -- but to no avail.

Government Shutdown? No Problem! 8th Cir. Is Open for Business

When October 17th rolls around, if the judiciary funding is exhausted due to the government shutdown, the Eighth Circuit will still keep its doors open.

As we've discussed before, federal courts are financially running on fumes, trying to maintain operations set at the minimum required for Article III obligations.

But the Eighth Circuit is holding sown the fort. Chief Judge William Jay Riley entered an order last week declaring that "the work of all Eighth Circuit Court Staff is necessary and essential to support the exercise of the Court's Article III judicial power," according to the memo released by Clerk of Court Michael E. Gans.

Heroin, Mary Jane and Causation: SCOTUS to Hear Overdose Case

Back in May, the Eighth Circuit case Burrage v. United States was one of the fortunate few to fill a spot in the U.S. Supreme Court's docket for the 2013 Term.

The Court will decide whether the crime of distribution of drugs causing death under 21 U.S.C. § 841 is a strict liability crime, without a foreseeability or proximate cause requirement.

'Younger' But Wiser? SCOTUS to Hear Sprint v. Jacobs

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to a fee dispute case that sprung from the Eighth Circuit between a Sprint Nextel Corp. subsidiary and the utilities regulator in Iowa, reports Reuters.

But it's not actually about fees.

Central to the dispute is whether the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in applying the abstention doctrine set forth by Younger v. Harris. The Eighth Circuit concluded that the Younger abstention is warranted when there is a related state proceeding that is "remedial" as opposed to "coercive," rejecting a distinction between the two.

No Military 'Get Out of Jail Free' Card for Child Porn: 8th Cir.

A district court permitted Scott Krantz to remain free on bond pending sentencing following his plea of guilty to transporting and possessing child pornography.

The reason? He served three tours of duty with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But can honorable military service actually serve as an "exceptional reason" to remain free pending sentencing?

Missouri Liquor Residency Requirement Upheld by 8th Cir.

Perhaps in celebration of the recent "Boardwalk Empire" season premiere, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to a Missouri law borne from the Prohibition era that requires state residency for alcohol wholesalers.

OK, so the ruling has nothing to do with "Boardwalk Empire" -- but it does have everything to do with alcohol.

Southern Wine & Spirits, the largest wine and spirits distributor in the United States, unsuccessfully argued that the Missouri's liquor residency requirement for wholesalers does not advance any legitimate state interest.