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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence concerning a prior 2015 shooting in light of the strong probative value of the evidence and admitting the evidence was not unfairly prejudicial to defendant. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting certain evidence relating to defendant's prior felony conviction in 2006 for reckless use of a firearm, resulting in a gunshot wound, under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). Furthermore, the district court gave a limiting instruction to the jury. View "United States v. Buckner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence of 180 months in prison after he was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor. The court held that the district court permissibly accounted for the other occasions of abuse by departing upward under USSG 5K2.21; the extent of abuse was an aggravating circumstance that the adjustment under USSG 4B1.5(b) for a shorter pattern did not fully address; and the sentence was substantively reasonable where there was no abuse of discretion in the district court's determination that there existed aggravating circumstances that were not adequately taken into account by a shorter term of imprisonment, and that defendant deserved a term at the statutory maximum. View "United States v. Lovato" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence of a firearm from a pat-down. The court held that the pat-down was constitutional because the officer did not search or seize defendant in a constitutional sense until the pat-down, which was justified by reasonable suspicion. In this case, the short stretch of street where the officer encountered defendant had a more specific and direct connection to guns, defendant's heavy coat was unseasonable in June and was thus unusual and suspicious, defendant had an apparent association with two illegally stopped vehicles in which guns had been found, and defendant's movements were suggestive of concealment and preparation for action. View "United States v. Dortch" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to abstain from a suit arising out of the collapse of Thomas Petters' massive Ponzi scheme, because the case before the district court was duplicative of the case before the other federal court. While the district court appropriately invoked its discretion to abstain, the district court should have stayed the action rather than dismiss it. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment dismissing the action and remanded for further proceedings. View "Ritchie Capital Management LLC v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, alleging claims of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and negligence. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's motion to dismiss the breach of contract and negligence claims because plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to state a plausible claim for breach of contract or negligence. In this case, the language of the policy was unambiguous in describing what the parties intended their contract to be—the policy itself and the written application for the policy. Because the loan forms plaintiff relied on to support the breach of contract claim were not part of the insurance policy, the claim failed. Likewise, the negligence claim failed because it relied on the loan forms being part of the insurance contract. View "Torti v. John Hancock Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's request for a Franks hearing after he was convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and sentenced to 146 months in prison. The court held that the district court did not err by finding that no evidence supported defendant's contention that the officer intended to omit facts to make the affidavit to the warrant misleading, or that he did so in reckless disregard of making the affidavit misleading. The court also held that disclosing explicitly that the source had a history of drug use and that police paid the source for information would not have prevented the issuing judge from finding probable cause to search defendant's house. View "United States v. Gater" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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When plaintiff learned that the State Bar Association of North Dakota (SBAND) was using his compulsory fees to oppose a measure that he volunteered time and money to support, he filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. In Knox v. Service Employees International Union, Local 1000, 567 U.S. 298 (2012), a public-sector union provided an annual Hudson notice calculating germane expenses and permitting non-members to opt out of non-germane expenses by objecting within thirty days. The Eighth Circuit held that the opt-out issue debated by the Supreme Court in Knox was simply not implicated by SBAND's revised license fee statement. Accordingly, because Knox did not overrule prior cases holding that the First Amendment does not require an opt-in procedure, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment and dismissal of the case. View "Fleck v. Wetch" on Justia Law

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PNC Bank appealed a jury verdict in favor of a special deputy receiver finding PNC liable for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in violation of its duties as trustee of various preneed trusts created by NPS. The Eighth Circuit held that appellees' claims arose under trust law rather than tort law and appellees were thus entitled only to the damages afforded under trust law; damages to the Missouri trusts after Allegiant's trusteeship or outside of the Missouri trusts were not recoverable from PNC as Allegiant's successor; the trust beneficiaries were NPS, consumers in Missouri, and the funeral homes that were to provide services to those consumers pursuant to the consumers' preneed contract; PNC was not relieved of liability unless Allegiant ensured that Wulf was investing trust assets within the authority of a reasonably prudent trustee; appellees' trust-law claim should have been tried to the court under the general rule; and the court rejected appellees' cross-appeal. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Jo Ann Howard and Associates v. National City Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a petition for writ of federal habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254, holding that the application was untimely. In this case, 18 U.S.C. 2244(d)(1)(D), which provides that a habeas petition is timely if it is filed within one year of the date the Supreme Court recognized a new constitutional right that was later made retroactive to cases on collateral review, did not apply. The court also held that equitable tolling was not justified because petitioner failed to establish extraordinary circumstances that prevented him from raising his legal arguments earlier. View "Keller v. Pringle" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the City and others, including City Attorney Tobias Tempelmeyer, claiming violations of his First and Fourth Amendment rights. Plaintiff claimed that the inspection and condemnation of a motel he was the lessor and operator of were conducted in retaliation for his disputing whether a certain tax was applicable to his business, in violation of the First Amendment. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order denying in part Tempelmeyer's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity, holding that plaintiff's First Amendment right to be free from retaliatory regulatory enforcement that was otherwise supported by probable cause was not clearly established. View "Scott v. Tempelmeyer" on Justia Law