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

January 2012 Archives

Accused Pimp Gets Second Chance Thanks to Flawed Jury Instruction

A Burnsville man convicted of pimping a teenage girl in the Twin Cities is getting a second chance at presenting his case in court. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the jury instructions given at Arthur Chappell’s original trial for sex trafficking were so flawed that it warranted throwing out his original verdict.

“Considering the magnitude of this plain and prejudicial error, we conclude that failing to correct the error would seriously affect the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings,” the Eighth Circuit wrote.

Judge Beats Eighth Circuit Woodrough for Longest in Federal Courts

Most of us look forward to retirement as a time to rest, relax and enjoy the fruits of our long years of hard work.

For U.S. Senior District Judge Wesley Brown and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Joseph Woodrough, retirement was never a word in their vocabulary.

Brown recently surpassed Woodrough as the nation’s longest and oldest sitting federal judge, dying at the age of 104 on Monday.

GOP Convention Suit Dismissed; Officers Given Qualified Immunity

The Republican Party may be known to be conservative, but its National Convention in 2008 was anything but unadventurous, with the reported arrests of 800 people.

The Eighth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by 32 of those people arrested on opening day of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The plaintiffs, comprised of protestors, legal observers, medics, the media and innocent bystanders, alleged that the police violated their constitutional rights to free speech and freedom from unreasonable seizures. Their case was dismissed in a lower court in 2010.

Oral Arguments Heard in South Dakota Abortion Appeal

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in its en banc hearing of South Dakota's controversial 2005 abortion law expanding its informed consent provisions.

Although the Eighth Circuit upheld the majority of South Dakota's informed consent law last year, its decision to strike one part of the law has continued to receive attention.

Citing no reliable medical evidence of the connection between an increased risk of suicide and abortion, a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit struck out a provision requiring a suicide advisory to women seeking abortions. Despite its decision, however, the court decided to rehear the issue of the suicide advisory in an en banc hearing on the matter.

Dismissal of Alamo Ministry Civil Suit for Taken Children Upheld

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a federal lawsuit brought by Tony Alamo Christian Ministries connected with the removal of dozens of children from its compound.

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Younger v. Harris, the Eighth Circuit held that the federal courts cannot consider civil claims brought by plaintiffs who are being prosecuted at the state level on matters related to their federal claims.

The church and two of its members had filed the lawsuit in federal district court, alleging that the federal authorities' seizure of 36 children from its compound violated their First and Fourth Amendment rights.

Twelve Year Prison Sentence Reasonable for Sex Offender

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a sentence of 144 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for a Minnesota man convicted of one count of traveling to have sex with a minor.

Darrin Anderson, a 36-year-old resident of Middle River, Minnesota, received the lengthy sentence for targeting young girls on Facebook for sex. The victim Anderson was arrested for contacting was 13 at the time.

After receiving reports of the incident with the young teen, authorities obtained a search warrant of the Facebook profile and chats of a fictitious person Anderson had created. Using the fake identity, Anderson engaged in hundreds of private chats with local minors and attempted to sexually solicit them, according to KFYR-TV.