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

March 2013 Archives

That Cross-Exam Doodad? It Applies to Revocation Hearings Too!

The right to confront adverse witnesses? "I don't think that applies here, Your Honor."

Ricky Lee Johnson was on supervised release after serving a 15-month sentence for conspiracy to possess stolen mail. Unfortunately for him, he was later arrested for second-degree forgery and theft of property. He also failed a drug test and skipped out on rehab.

It should've been a simple revocation hearing, but alas, the government's attorney failed to subpoena any witnesses or produce evidence, other than a police report. Instead, with the court's permission, the probation officer read the police report. The defense attorney objected:

Employee Shot at Work Denied By Insurance, Eighth Circuit

Some rapscallions were vandalizing and stealing property from Gear Automotive in Kansas City. The police, after investigating, expressed their hunch that the culprits would return, and suggested that someone guard the lot. As many of my fellow-Missourians would do, Robert Gear decided to round up a posse - himself, his brother Darrel, and some armed guy named Joe.

When unidentified individuals did show, the predictable happened, and Joe accidentally shot Robert.

Insurance Policy is a Contract: No Paid Premiums, No Benefits

Natasha Dallas made multiple mistakes when filling out the auto-draft payment form for an American General life insurance policy for her father. Alas, the insurance company never received her initial premium. Her father passed away a couple of weeks later. Dallas, who is also an insurance agent for American General, tried to retroactively make the premium payments. Her efforts were rebuffed and her claims denied.

Though we sympathize with her, Dallas' legal case is pretty clear-cut. Basic contract law requires consideration. Insurance policies are contracts. If consideration is never received, there is no contract. Case closed.

Of course, this is an appeals case. No appeals case can be that simple, right?

Sorry Kid, The Full Force of the Fourth Amendment is for Grownups

CM was in class when the drug dogs showed up. Along with his classmates, he was instructed to leave the classroom and his belongings for five minutes. When he returned, he claimed that he “felt like the pockets [of his backpack] had been unzipped and stuff.”

The police were not there for him, nor for any other specific person. They were conducting random searches. Central High School of Springfield, Missouri had been experiencing a bit of a drug problem and the solution devised by the administration was to invite the K-9 Cops. The found nothing and left.

CM, and his parents, sued for the unreasonable seizure of his belongings during the five minute search.