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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction on remand of possession of an unregistered firearm. The court held that there was ample circumstantial evidence for the district court to reasonably infer defendant constructively possessed the shotgun because he had access to and control over the duffel bag found in his bedroom closet and had knowledge of the shotgun because it was found inside the duffel bag along with the revolver, which had his DNA on it, and the train ticket in his name. The court also held that there was ample circumstantial evidence for the district court to reasonably infer that defendant knew the shotgun had a bore diameter of more than one half inch. Therefore, defendant was aware of the shotgun's physical characteristics that brought it within the ambit of the National Firearms Act. View "United States v. White" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the University in a Title IX action alleging that plaintiff was excluded from participation in and denied the benefits of the educational programs at the University as a result of its response to her sexual assault by another student. The court assumed, without deciding, that plaintiff's claim survived Iowa's statute of limitations and held that plaintiff's Title IX claim failed on the merits. The court held that there was no genuine dispute as to whether the University was deliberately indifferent after its investigative report concluded that plaintiff was sexually assaulted. In this case, the University was waiting to take action until the hearing process concluded and it had instituted a no-contact order between plaintiff and the other student. View "Maher v. Iowa State University" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence from a traffic stop after he entered a conditional guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that the officer reasonably believed that the vehicle violated the traffic laws and there was sufficient probable cause for the stop. Therefore, the traffic stop was constitutional and the district court properly denied the motion to suppress. View "United States v. Miller" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Petitioner sought review of the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Eighth Circuit denied the petition, holding that there was no legal error in the IJ's determination that petitioner's application for asylum was untimely. The court also held that the criminal acts against petitioner by his cousin did not constitute persecution for purposes of withholding removal, and the specific acts petitioner put forward as evidence of persecution generally do not rise to the level of persecution. Finally, petitioner abandoned his claims regarding the denial of CAT relief. View "Lesum v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Eighth Circuit held that there was sufficient evidence to convict defendant of distribution of heroin and fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury and possession of those drugs with intent to distribute. In this case, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury verdict, there was overwhelming evidence presented to the jury to establish but-for causation. Even if the jury had determined that the acetyl-fentanyl was an independently sufficient cause of the overdose, Burrage v. United States explicitly carved out an exception for cases where there are multiple independently sufficient causes. The court found that the jury drew reasonable inferences from the evidence that a third party's overdose was not caused by any opiate in his system prior to the ingestion of the heroin/fentanyl mixture he purchased from defendant. View "United States v. Seals" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant's 28 U.S.C. 2255 petition was successive and his substantive arguments were barred. The Eighth Circuit held that defendant's second amended judgment was not a new sentence where the judge orally sentenced him to 480 months in prison for count 6 of his conviction. The court held that the oral order directing the district court to correct its judgment did not change the sentence and the oral sentence of 480 months in prison was controlling. Accordingly, the court affirmed the second amended sentence. View "United States v. Brown" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant appealed his sentence imposed after his successful motion under 28 U.S.C. 2255 on the ground that it was substantively unreasonable. The Eighth Circuit enforced the appeal waiver in the plea agreement and dismissed the appeal. The court held that the government did not breach the plea agreement by implicitly recommending a different sentence than the one it was bound to recommend by the agreement, and there was no indication that defendant would have received a more favorable sentence but for the purported breach. Therefore, any actionable breach in this case would not relieve defendant of the appeal waiver because he failed to show a reasonably probable that he would have received a more favorable sentence but for the purported breach. View "United States v. Raifsnider" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to an off-duty police officer and the board of police commissioners in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action. Plaintiff, a concertgoer, filed suit after he was injured when the officer lifted him over a five foot barrier and dropped him on his neck. The court held that no reasonable jury could find that the officer used excessive force when grabbing plaintiff, lifting him over the barrier, and throwing him to the ground. In this case, the officer had probable cause to arrest plaintiff for disorderly conduct and the officer's actions were reasonable in light of the circumstances. The court also held that the officer was entitled to immunity as to the state law claims under Missouri's doctrine of official immunity. Finally, because there was no constitutional violation, the board was not liable for the officer's actions. View "Kasiah v. Crowd Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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It is plain that the government cannot use the misprision statute to require someone to report a crime—an essential element of misprision—where doing so reasonably could lead to that individual's own prosecution. Defendant was convicted of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine (Count 1), possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine (Count 2); and misprision of a felony (Count 3). The Eighth Circuit held that the evidence was sufficient to support her convictions. However, the court held that the district court erred by entering a misprision judgment against her and the error violated her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In this case, the jury's misprision conviction criminally punished defendant for failing to tell authorities about a crime in which she was already involved. Finally, the court held that, taken together, the mere presence jury instructions adequately and accurately conveyed the substance of defendant's requested instruction. Accordingly, the court affirmed Counts 1 and 2, reversed with instructions to vacate Count 3, and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Solis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was sentenced to 87 months in prison followed by a 5 year term of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to possession and attempted possession of child pornography. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's findings related to violations of two special conditions of supervised release as well as certain modified special conditions. The court held that the district court acted within its wide discretion when it found that defendant's failure to attend a treatment session violated the special condition requiring him to comply with his treatment plan; the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that defendant's discussion with a minor non-employee inside of a store was intentional, rather than incidental, contact. The court also held that defendant's pattern of dishonesty regarding his contacts with minor children combined with his previous admissions when scheduled to undergo polygraph testing were facts within the record that sufficiently satisfied the statutory requirements for imposition of a modified special condition that he undergo polygraph examination related to his sex offender treatment. Furthermore, the modified special condition regarding restricted access to Internet-connected devices was reasonably necessary to advance deterrence and protect the public. View "United States v. Newell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law