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The Eighth Circuit dismissed a petition for review challenging the denial of her application for asylum as untimely. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA's determination that petitioner did not establish an excuse for her late filing based on changed circumstances. In this case, the IJ was making a case-specific materiality determination, not announcing a per se rule. Neither the IJ nor the BIA engaged in an analysis of the statute or otherwise elaborated on the meaning of "changed circumstances," which foreclosed the possibility that this case presented a question of statutory interpretation for the court to review. View "Burka v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The 2013 Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA) did not infringe on the First Amendment rights of a group of parents who provide home care services to their disabled children. PELRA applied to persons who provide in-home care to disabled Medicaid recipients, and authorized covered employees to organize and to designate by majority vote an exclusive representative to negotiate employment terms with the state. The parents complained that the Act unconstitutionally compelled them to associate with the exclusive negotiating representative. Determining that the parents had Article III standing, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held that, under Minnesota State Board for Community Colleges v. Knight, the current version of PELRA allowed the homecare providers to form their own advocacy groups independent of the exclusive representative, and it did not require any provider to join the union. Therefore, the state did not impinge on the parents' right not to associate by recognizing an exclusive negotiating representative. View "Bierman v. Dayton" on Justia Law

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In a previous appeal, the Eighth Circuit held that portions of Minnesota's Next Generation Energy Act were unconstitutional in North Dakota v. Heydinger, 825 F.3d 912 (8th Cir. 2016). The State appealed the district court's determination on remand that plaintiffs were entitled to attorney's fees and award of $1,310,088 in fees and costs. The court affirmed the district court's order without opinion. View "North Dakota v. Lange" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's 240 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography. The court held that defendant's sentence was substantively reasonable where the district court carefully considered several factors when deciding to impose the statutory maximum sentence, as recommended by the Sentencing Guidelines. In this case, the district court considered that the plea deal allowed defendant to escape a longer sentence for sexually exploiting his girlfriend's thirteen year old daughter; defendant's distribution of child pornography; and defendant's lack of violent criminal history and demonstrated remorse. The court also held that the special condition of supervised release prohibiting defendant from viewing or possessing erotica or pornographic materials was not constitutionally vague or overbroad under the court's precedents. View "United States v. Sebert" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against corrections officials at Crossroads Correctional Center for violation of his Eighth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the jury's finding that the officials were deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's serious medical need by failing to take reasonable steps to abate the risk of harm that secondhand smoke posed to him. In this case, there was sufficient evidence to show that the officials violated plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights by being deliberately indifferent to the fact that plaintiff's asthma was exacerbated by offenders smoking indoors. However, there was insufficient evidence to justify an award of punitive damages where plaintiff failed to show that the officials were motivated by evil motive or intent or showed callous indifference to plaintiff's rights. Therefore, the court vacated the award of punitive damages and remanded for further proceedings. View "Washington v. Denney" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's three year sentence for violating his supervised release conditions. In this case, while defendant was on supervised release for a burglary covered by the Major Crimes Act, he had several encounters with police and eventually admitted to using marijuana. The court held that defendant's sentence did not exceed the statutory maximum because his original crime, burglary, was a Class B felony under 18 U.S.C. 3559(a)(2). The court also held that defendant's three year revocation sentence was within the statutory maximum provided by 18 U.S.C. 3583(e)(3). View "United States v. Steele" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's 60 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to firearm offenses. The court held that defendant's New York conviction for attempted second-degree robbery was a crime of violence under the force clause of USSG 4B1.2(a); any error was harmless where the district court considered the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) sentencing factors and stated that it would have imposed the same sentence regardless of its ruling on the crime of violence issue; the district court did not err by imposing three criminal history points for the offense based on its determination that this was an adult conviction, and any error was harmless; and any error in using the 2015 rather than the 2016 Sentencing Guidelines Manual was harmless because the relevant provisions were identical in the two versions. View "United States v. Williams" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff filed the underlying action against BNSF after he was injured when the backrest of his locomotive seat broke, and alleged that the seat did not comply with the federal standards in the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA). BNSF settled a Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) claim with plaintiff. BNSF then filed suit against Seats to recover the costs of settlement. The Eighth Circuit reversed and held that the district court erred in determining that the LIA preempted BNSF's claims for products liability and breach of contract. Because the district court did not address defendant's other grounds for dismissal of the two claims, the court remanded for further proceedings on those alternative arguments. View "BNSF Railway Co. v. Seats, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's request for asylum, withholding of removal, and application for relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) based on his claim that he faced danger in his home country of Ghana. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to determine the timeliness of petitioner's asylum application; the evidence petitioner submitted to support his request to remand based on changed country conditions was immaterial and did not support a remand based on changed country conditions; and petitioner's claim of humanitarian asylum was foreclosed because he failed to raise this issue to the agency. The court also held that petitioner failed to demonstrate a likelihood of future persecution or torture. In this case, petitioner's evidence would not compel all reasonable factfinders to conclude that his life or freedom would be endangered by a return to Ghana. Therefore, the court denied his petition for review of the denial of withholding of removal. Likewise, petitioner's claim for relief under the CAT also failed. View "Degbe v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 action against the City and a municipal judge, seeking costs and attorney's fees after plaintiff successfully defended himself in municipal court against a charge that he violated an ordinance for disorderly conduct. The court affirmed the district court's holding that no municipal liability under section 1983 was present in this case because the municipal court's ruling did not constitute a final municipal policy decision. The court also held that the judge was not a policymaker, and thus relief under section 1983 was foreclosed. View "King v. The City of Crestwood" on Justia Law