Criminal Law News - U.S. Eighth Circuit
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8th Circuit Rules Double Amputee's Rights Were Violated

Police officers may not enjoy qualified immunity protection following the Eighth Circuit's reversal of a lower court's dismissal of a 2012 case. In a 2-1 decision, the controversy has been remanded back to the lower federal district court.

The plaintiff in this case was a double amputee who sustained physical injuries and also claimed his encounter with the police injured him mentally.

Repeat Offender Egg Seller Gets Jail Time for Filthy Practices

Jack DeCoster and his son Peter will serve three months in jail and be fined $100,000 each for having violated food safety regulations.

Among the facts that have horrified interested parties include a salmonella contamination reading of 3,900 percent higher than the national average, as well as dead rodents decaying in the laying area. Hungry, anyone?

A Kansas City man who printed child porn at his local library lost a challenge to his conviction in the Eighth Circuit last week. Donald Paris was nabbed after librarians discovered him printing out emails from other child pornographers.

Those emails led to an investigation that showed he'd also printed child porn at the library and taken pornographic images of his young nephew, leading to his eventual conviction for producing child porn.

Man Escapes Prison for 180 Months Because of Hair Splitting Interpretation

Bralen Lamar Jordan should consider himself lucky. His case was recently remanded back to the lower federal court to be ruled in favor after he convinced the Eighth Circuit that his convictions for domestic battery and aggravated assault were not violent felonies.

How did he do it? Look at the plain language of the law.

When the Harris News Agency applied for a federal license to sell guns, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives denied their application on the grounds that the company's officers had willfully allowed a felon to possess firearms by letting him work as a gunsmith.

But, simply allowing a felon to work with guns isn't reason enough to deny the license, the Eighth Circuit ruled on Tuesday.

Facebook is not your friend or confidant. It does not keep your secrets. So, it's probably a bad idea to broadcast your potential crimes all over the social network. Too many bungling criminals learn this the hard way, whether it's taunting the police online, posting from stolen electronics, or simply contradicting court testimony.

Brandy Lemons was no different. After Lemons was diagnosed with a pain disorder that limited her activities, she began receiving disability payments from the Social Security Administration. Yet, despite her debilitating condition, Lemons' Facebook showed her hunting game with a bow and riding an ATV.

Julian Mitchell appealed his felon-in-possession charge with a classic argument: his mom was too mentally incompetent to consent to the search of her own house. The Eighth Circuit reviewed the appeal with an appropriate amount of sympathy for the poor guy.

Nebraska Abolishes Death Penalty

Big news from Nebraska! The state legislature voted 30-19 to override the veto of Governor Pete Ricketts, thereby abolishing the death penalty in that state.

Nebraska is the first conservative state in 40 years to abolish the death penalty, The New York Times reported, and the vote cut across party lines.

An Iowa woman won't be allowed to withdraw a plea agreement she says she was pressured to accept, the Eighth Circuit ruled yesterday. After a heroin user overdosed and died, a police investigation identified Lacresia White as the decedent's supplier. Following a series of undercover buys, which may have involved White's six year old daughter, police arrested White and charged her with conspiracy to distribute heroin that lead to death.

White accepted a plea deal that would help her avoid a 20 year sentence, but quickly regretted it. That was too late, the Eighth Circuit ruled. Since White could allege no coercion aside from family pressure, she put forward no "fair and just" reason to withdraw her plea.

Roderick Nunley pleaded guilty to the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 15-year-old in 1989. The state court judge sentenced him to death. Nunley had argued, before the Eight Circuit, that his capital sentence was a violation of state and federal precedent, since he was sentenced to death without a jury. According to Nunley, state and federal Supreme Court precedent required a jury sentencing for a death penalty to be permissible.

Not so, ruled the Eighth, which found that Nunley had unequivocally waived his right to a jury sentencing when he plead guilty.