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

July 2017 Archives

Ferguson Police to Stand Trial

Dorian Johnson will get his day in court against Ferguson police for using excessive force that killed his friend three years ago.

Johnson was not injured in the incident but sued for civil rights violations and "unconstitutional law-enforcement practices." The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, turning away an appeal by the city in Johnson v. City of Ferguson, ruled that his case will go forward.

Michael Brown was not as fortunate. He died of gunshot wounds as he ran that day on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

No Luck for Man Wrongfully Listed on Sex Registry

Once a registered sex offender, always a registered sex offender -- even if the offender was wrongfully listed on the sex offender registry.

That's a hard-edge reading of a federal appeals court decision in Roe v. State of Nebraska. The plaintiff sued the state for negligently listing him on the registry, but a trial court dismissed the case as untimely.

"We conclude that even if Roe's pleading was sufficient to state a claim of negligence against the defendants, his claim is barred by the two-year statute of limitations of the Nebraska State Tort Claims Act," said the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Eighth Circuit: No Right to Proceed Pro Se

A federal appeals court rejected a man's demand to represent himself, ruling that a criminal defendant has no right to proceed pro se post-conviction or on appeal.

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the Sixth Amendment includes the right to proceed without counsel at trial, but does not include any right to appeal. Moreover, the court said in United States v. Tollefson, the limitation includes post-conviction proceedings.

Bruce Charles Tollefson argued that his court-appointed attorney provided ineffective assistance. However, the court said, he had no right to counsel anyway.

"Because Tollefson had no right to counsel during his post-conviction sentence reduction proceedings, he cannot assert a 'valid claim for ineffective assistance,'" Judge Diana E. Murphy wrote for the court.