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

February 2013 Archives

How Much Accommodation is Needed for Mentally Impaired Suspect?

Travis Folkerts is a mentally impaired man with an IQ of 50. In 2008, he was living on his own, with supervision during most waking hours. In May of that year, a neighbor reported that Travis had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with her underage son.

The initial responding officer, knowing of Travis’ limitations, read him his Miranda rights and asked him a few questions, resulting in an “Information Only” report to Officer Schneider, who followed up one day later.

Schneider again read Travis his rights and more fully explained them. Though he was aware of Travis’ impairment, he was not aware of its full extent and believed that Travis understood him. The two then headed to the police station, where Travis was interrogated in a conference room instead of the traditional, more intimidating interview room.

Sentence Upheld for Threats Against FBI Agent, VP Biden

Some people would be flattered by Kim Hutterer's affection. Wait, who are we kidding? This lady is a bit nuts.

Back in the early 1990s, she was investigated by Agent Dean Scheidler of the FBI in connection to threats against a commercial airliner. While awaiting trial, she carved "death to Scheidler" on the seat in her cell. While in prison for that offense, she assaulted and threatened to kill a prison guard. When she was released, she continued to harass the prison guard though personal letters and calls to his work and home.

She ended up in custody again for unrelated terroristic threats in 2010. During that stint, as well as after her release, she sent sexually-explicit, threatening, and harassing letters, telephone calls, and text messages to Agent Scheidler's work and home. Some letters included a picture of a bloody knife with his name on it while others described her plans to "kill [him], sleep with him, and commit other grotesque acts."

Enormity of Rape Evidence Trumps Possible Propensity Problem

Douglas Wayne Tarnow was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 480 months in prison. He’s a wee bit miffed, as most people destined to spend 40 years in prison would be. Then again, he deserves it.

His conviction stems from a violent sexual assault upon his girlfriend. He beat her in a jealous rage, forcibly sexually assaulted her, and then beat her again, splitting open her chin and causing her to bleed from her vagina. She escaped his clutches when the couple went to get STD tests and ran into a pair of police officers.

Tarnow challenges his conviction by challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing that propensity evidence was wrongly admitted, and that a jury instruction on simple assault should have been provided to the jurors.

Pizza Driver Class Certification Nixed Over Loose Lips, Lost Tips

Pizza delivery is a fun gig, especially for those of us who love to drive while bumping hot jams. ("I [Drove] Myself Crazy" - don't judge). Unfortunately for drivers, many pizza places now tack on a "delivery charge" of a buck or two, which some customers mistake for an automatically-included gratuity. For those restaurants that do not split that fee with the drivers, that means the drivers get shafted.

Matt Luiken was one of those drivers. He worked for Domino's, which -- at the time -- charged a $1 per delivery fee. He sued on behalf of all similarly-situated pizza boys, claiming that the big D withheld these fees from the drivers illegally, as per Minnesota law, they are tips.