Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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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 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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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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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress, motions in limine, motion for mistrial, motion for judgment of acquittal, and proposed buyer–seller instruction. The court held that the search warrant application supported a finding of probable cause where, considering the totality of the circumstances, the affidavits and application in support of the search warrant contained sufficient facts to establish a fair probability that evidence of criminal activity would be found in defendant's residence; the information contained in the warrant was not fatally stale; the district court did not err by admitting evidence of defendant's prior drug convictions; evidence of defendant's flight was probative of consciousness of guilt and was not unduly prejudicial; any error in declining to grant a mistrial based on a government witness's statements was harmless; the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting the proposed buyer–seller instruction because the evidence established that defendant sold resale quantities of methamphetamine over an extended period of time. View "United States v. Davis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff-appellant David Hosea sued two City of Saint Paul police officers following what he contended was an unlawful arrest and use of excessive force. Officers responded to a 911 hang-up call, and arrested appellant at the scene. The Officers’ motion for summary judgment was granted based on qualified immunity. On appeal, Hosea argued that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on his unlawful-arrest claim because the officers did not have arguable probable cause to arrest him for either obstruction of legal process or domestic assault. Also, Hosea argued that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on his excessive-force claim because he did not commit a crime in the officers’ presence, he did not pose a threat to the safety of the officers or others, he was not resisting arrest, the officers failed to identify themselves, and he started complying before the officers exerted force. After review of the trial court record, and finding no reversible error, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment. View "Hosea v. City of St. Paul" on Justia Law

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Rex Lee Furman was convicted by jury on thirteen counts of producing child pornography; two counts of distributing child pornography; one count of receiving child pornography; one count of possession of child pornography; and one count of commission of a felony offense involving a minor when required to register as a sex offender. The district court sentenced Furman to life imprisonment, as well as to a 120-month consecutive sentence. Furman appealed, arguing the district court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal on the production and distribution counts and in admitting evidence of his 1999 conviction of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He also contends that his sentence violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Finding no abuse of discretion of other reversible error, the Eighth Circuit affirmed Furman’s convictions. View "United States v. Furman" on Justia Law

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Jade Oldrock was convicted of the aggravated sexual abuse of a child and committing a felony sex offense as a registered sex offender. The district court sentenced Oldrock to the statutory mandatory minimum sentence for each offense, which amounted to a total of 40 years’ imprisonment. Oldrock appealed, claiming the district court abused its discretion by admitting unduly prejudicial testimony from two witnesses at trial and by denying his motion for mistrial. Finding no abuse of discretion, the Eighth Circuit affirmed. View "United States v. Oldrock" on Justia Law

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Gerald LeBeau (Gerald) was convicted by jury of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The jury convicted Gerald and his son Neil LeBeau (Neil) of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Gerald and Neil each appealed on various grounds, namely that the arresting officers illegally searched a hotel room in which the pair was staying, and any evidence found from that search was tainted. Finding no reversible error, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the convictions. View "United States v. LeBeau" on Justia Law