OPINIONS ARE POSTED DAILY BETWEEN 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. Today is: [ Monday August 31, 2015 ] The most recent opinions are for: [ 08/31/2015 ]  
DISCLAIMER:  The following unofficial case summaries are prepared by the clerk's office                          as a courtesy to the reader. They are not part of the opinion of the court.
141747P.pdf  08/31/2015  James Dean, et al.  v.  County of Gage, et al.
   U.S. Court of Appeals Case No:   14-1747
   U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska - Lincoln.   
[PUBLISHED] [Benton, Author, with Wollman and Smith, Circuit Judges] Civil case - Civil rights. Plaintiffs were exonerated by DNA evidence and brought this action against the County and the officers involved in their cases. For the court's prior opinion in the matter see Winslow v. Smith, 696 F.3d 716 (8th Cir. 2012). Since this court's prior opinion denied qualified immunity for the officers as a matter of law, the district court should not consider a Rule 50 motion on qualified immunity unless substantially different evidence was adduced at trial; here the trial evidence did not support the officers' entitlement to qualified immunity, and the district court properly denied the renewed Rule 50 motion for qualified immunity; the mistrial in this case created the need for an immediate appeal and Rule 54(b) certification was appropriate as the certified issues are self-contained and an appellate ruling will finally resolve the sufficiency of plaintiffs' conspiracy claims against the defendants; the district court erred in dismissing plaintiffs' conspiracy claims on the ground the claim was waived on remand; viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the evidence was sufficient to give rise to the reasonable inference that defendants acted in concert with the goal of securing plaintiffs' convictions, and the district court erred in dismissing the conspiracy claim; the district court erred in dismissing all claims against the County as plaintiffs produced evidence that defendant sheriff DeWitt was the final policy maker for the county; whether the policy decisions violated plaintiffs' constitutional rights is a question for the jury in the second trial.
143746P.pdf  08/31/2015  Heath Adkisson, et al  v.  Blytheville School District #5
   U.S. Court of Appeals Case No:   14-3746
   U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Jonesboro   
[PUBLISHED] [[Smith, Author, with Beam and Bye, Circuit Judges] Civil case - Arkansas Public School Choice Act. The 2013 Arkansas Public School Choice Law contained a broad school choice transfer option but gave school districts the ability to claim an exemption from the Act if the district was subject to desegregation order or mandate of a federal court or agency remedying the effects of past racial segregation. Here, plaintiffs are parents of the Blytheville School District and were prevented from sending their children to another district because the District claimed the exemption. Given that the Arkansas General Assembly has stricken the exemption clause at issue in this suit - Sec. 6-18-1906(b)- and that the district has claimed an exemption under the newly added Sec. 6-13-113, the plaintiffs' request for declaratory and injunctive relief, in so far as it pertains to the 2013 Act, is moot; however, plaintiffs could potentially recover money damages for any constitutional violation arising from the School District's alleged violation of the 2013 Act, and that part of their claim is not moot and the court will address plaintiffs' underlying due process and equal protection claims; none of plaintiffs' cited cases establish that a parent's ability to choose where his or her child is educated within the public school system is a fundamental right of liberty; the Act does not create a property interest in exercising public school choice because plaintiffs do not have more than a mere subjective expectancy of school choice under the Act since the receiving nonresident districts retained discretion to accept or reject transfer students, such as plaintiffs' children; plaintiffs failed to prove the district had a disparate purpose in claiming the exemption and strict scrutiny analysis is not required; applying the rational basis test, the district had a rational basis for believing it was subject to a federal court desegregation order or federal agency mandate which it would violate if it failed to claim the exemption. Judge Beam, concurring in part and dissenting in part.