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

December 2011 Archives

Funding for AR Desegregation Programs Won't Stop Without Hearing

Little Rock, the Arkansas town that has become the symbol of the 1960s integration movement, is once again in a heated battle over desegregation.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that the state of Arkansas cannot cut funding to mandated segregation programs in three Pulaski County school districts until a separate federal court hearing is held.

Eighth Circuit Declines Review of Nebraska Abortion Law Enforcement

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to review a lower court's decision to block enforcement of Nebraska's controversial 2010 abortion law on Friday.

The law added pre-abortion screening and counseling requirements and established a cause of action for a woman for the wrongful death of her unborn child.

In its 2010 ruling, a U.S. District Court held that the law created a profound chilling effect on doctors' willingness to perform abortions and created substantial obstacles to a woman's right to choose abortion.

Eighth Circuit Agrees to Review Westboro Funeral Protests Case

The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hold an en banc hearing on its October decision in favor of funeral protestors from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church.

The Eighth Circuit had previously ruled that the Missouri town of Manchester could not enforce a local ordinance banning protests near funerals. The town had adopted the ordinance in response to protests from the Westboro Baptist Church.

Members of the notorious congregation have received national media coverage for protesting at soldier's funerals with signs stating "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "Thank God for 9/11" because their deaths reportedly represent God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

Ponzi Schemer Tom Petters' 50-Year Sentence Upheld

Minnesotan Tom Petters may have been able to scheme dozens of people out of $3.7 billion, but he wasn’t able to convince the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn his 50-year sentence.

Petters was sentenced to prison after his 2009 conviction on 20 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy for his billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. The charges were connected to allegations that Petters, under the guise of Petters Co. Inc., tricked investors into thinking he was using their money to purchase electronics that he would resell to discount retailers.

After his hefty sentence, Petters claimed he wasn’t given a fair trial due to faulty jury instructions, faulty venue, and sentencing hearing and his inability to fully question key prosecution witness Larry Reynolds, a business association from California who provided assistance in the fraud.

Eighth Circuit to Hold En Banc Hearing on Informed Consent Law

Two months after a three-justice panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a provision of South Dakota's informed consent law, the Court of Appeal announced they will hold an en banc hearing on the matter.

The controversial law in question expanded South Dakota's requirements for informed consent to abortion in 2005. The Court of Appeals upheld the majority of the law's provisions - such as informing the patient that the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being - in September.

Ex-NBA Player Rumeal Robinson's Prison Sentence Upheld

It seems former-college-basketball-star-turned-NBA-disappointment Rumeal Robinson’s hard-partying ways have finally caught up with him. And there’s no one left to bail him out. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions on eleven counts of fraud and bribery charges and upheld his 78-month prison sentence.

An Iowa jury found Robinson guilty of using such underhanded tactics as bribing a Community State Bank loan officer, submitting a fake tax return, recruiting straw borrowers, and using his mother’s home in order to fund his extremely extravagant lifestyle.

The list of items Robinson reportedly blew his money on is enough to make a European playboy envious: clothes and jewelry from Louis Vuitton, steak dinners, plane tickets, stays at the Jamaican Ritz-Carlton, hundreds-of-dollars worth of cigars, a $10,000 M16 machine gun, a Maserati, Ducati motorcycles, and strip clubs.

Show Me the Note: Borrower Loses Note Possession Foreclosure Challenge

Possession may be nine-tenths of the law, but it’s unnecessary for a bank in Minnesota to possess a promissory note when it commences foreclosure.

Kenath Stein challenged the validity of both the foreclosure of his home by Chase Home Finance (Chase), and the redemption of his home by National City Bank (National), a junior lienholder. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the banks this week.

Denied: Detective Shade Briefly Recants, Loses Sentence Reduction

The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, while generally strict, aren't entirely unfair; a defendant who "accepts responsibility," (i.e. cooperates and pleads guilty), can receive a sentence reduction.

Unfortunately for defendants, judges in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals employ a "no take-backs" rule: if a defendant recants his confession at any time, he doesn't qualify for a sentence reduction.

Appellant Kevin Shade, formerly an auto theft detective with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, was charged with "knowingly devising and intending to devise a scheme to defraud by material falsehoods" the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department of its material and intangible rights to honest services.