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

January 2018 Archives

Breaking Tradition, Senate Confirms Stras to 8th Circuit

The blue-slip rule -- a traditional endorsement by home-state Senators for judicial nominees -- has guided Senate confirmations for nearly a century. But not anymore.

The Senate confirmed Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals without a blue slip from one of the state's Senators. Stras is the first nominee to be confirmed without the traditional rite of passage in 80 years.

It would have been controversial except things have changed recently. The Republicans are charging ahead with President Trump's nominees, and Al Franken is not a Senator anymore.

Gil Lundstrom, the CEO of the now defunct TierOne bank, couldn't convince the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to do anything with his conviction, despite seemingly making any and every conceivable argument.

And while it's not uncommon for convicted bigwigs to pull out all the stops in arguing their appeals, Lundstrom's appeal just seemed doomed from the get-go, given that former insiders turned on him. In addition to appealing the denial of his motion for a judgment of acquittal, he challenged the jury instructions, a few pieces of evidence, some other procedural nonsense, as well as the prison term he was ultimately awarded, and the restitution he was ordered to pay.

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.