Legal news from Tuesday, September 21, 2004
22:09 EDT

Justice Antonin Scalia has said the Supreme Court's recent trend towards accepting cases on morally-charged political questions such as abortion and the death penalty is linked to increasing bitterness in judicial confirmations and that the Court would do better by leaving such issues to elected legislatures. Scalia was speaking Monday [read more]

21:09 EDT

Public defender Mike Mitchell said Tuesday that a mental health expert has found his client, Louisiana serial killings suspect Derrick Todd Lee, to be mentally retarded. In an apparent attempt to spare his client from the death penalty, Mitchell made the announcement as jury selection continued for Lee's first-degree murder [read more]

21:09 EDT

Even after being reduced to $100 million from its original $3 billion total by a trial judge, a California appeals court ruled Tuesday that an individual smoker's punitive damages award against Philip Morris USA was still excessive and must be halved to $50 million. Both sides plan to appeal the [read more]

17:09 EDT

In Tuesday's corporations and securities law news, the SEC is planning to sue American International Group Inc. (AIG), the world's largest insurer, for improperly hiding bad loans and inflating PNC Financial Services Group's profit by $155 million in 2001. Just last year, PNC agreed to pay $115 million to settle [read more]

16:09 EDT

The US House of Representatives Tuesday approved legislation making it a crime to secretly photograph or videotape people. The bill would prohibit videotaping or photographing the naked or underwear-covered private parts of a person without consent when the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and would be punishable by [read more]

15:09 EDT

In an effort to appease growing international pressure, Syria began moving more than 1,000 of its 20,000 troops stationed in Lebanon on Tuesday. A divided UN Security Council earlier this month approved a US and France-backed resolution demanding foreign forces leave Lebanon. The resolution also stipulated that new elections be [read more]

15:09 EDT

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will order domestic airlines to turn over personal information about passengers in order to test a system, called Secure Flight, that will compare their names to those on terrorist watch lists. A previous plan which checked passenger names against commercial databases and assigned a risk [read more]

15:09 EDT

Members of the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi insurgent group in Iraq have beheaded a second American in as many days according to a report on an Islamist website. US officials have informed the family of Jack Hensley about the reports but the government is unable to confirm if he was killed. [read more]

15:09 EDT

Following up on a report Monday on JURIST's Paper Chase, the landmark genocide trial of Catholic priest Athanase Seromba was suspended for a day Tuesday after a mass boycott by detainees at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [ICTR]. 44 of the 56 people detained at the ICTR, which sits [read more]

13:09 EDT

AP is reporting that a federal judge has lifted the stay on Martha Stewart's sentence and ordered her to surrender for federal prison by October 8.UPDATE: AP coverage is now available online. [read more]

13:09 EDT

Following up on a report Monday on JURIST's Paper Chase, jury selection was completed and opening arguments began Tuesday morning in the first criminal trial in the fallout of the Enron Corp. scandal. On trial are six defendants, two former executives from Enron itself and four from Merrill Lynch, facing [read more]

13:09 EDT

The judge presiding over the second trial of convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad has recused himself from the trial after claims that his inquiry into whether the trial had unfairly been delayed was improper, it was announced Tuesday. Judge Jonathan C. Thacher, of the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia, [read more]

12:09 EDT

In his address to the UN General Assembly Tuesday, President Bush stressed America's dedication to human rights and human dignity around the world. Here is an extended excerpt of his remarks:The United Nations and my country share the deepest commitments. Both the American Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration [read more]

11:09 EDT

In papers filed with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department has refused to confirm or deny whether federal regulations exist requiring people to show ID before boarding an airplane, saying that air-travel security initiatives are a matter of national security and should not be available for [read more]

10:09 EDT

Addressing the UN General Assembly Tuesday at the outset of its 59th Session, UN Secretary-General said in his annual report to the body that the rule of law was at risk around the world and fundamental international laws were being "shamelessly disregarded." Citing Iraq and Darfur among the more "flagrant" [read more]

10:09 EDT

US District Judge Joyce Hens Green has ordered the Defense Department to justify its continued detention of Guantanamo Bay detainees for nearly three years without charges. Judge Green set an October 18 deadline for the Defense Department to provide the charge or factual basis for detaining each of the 60 [read more]

09:09 EDT

The UN General Assembly will begin its 59th session Tuesday morning at 10 AM ET. The debate begins with opening statements by General Assembly President Jean Ping and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to be followed by remarks by several heads of state, including President Bush. Afghan President Hamid Karzai opens [read more]

09:09 EDT

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has reportedly decided to run for the Iraqi presidency, hoping to regain his office and palaces through the democratic process. Hussein's lawyer, Giovanni di Stefano, has told a Danish newspaper that Hussein expressed the intention to him during one of the planning meetings preparing for [read more]

09:09 EDT

Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party, has announced that it will recall parliament from its summer recess, saying "we mustn't weaken Turkey's hand with the EU through this indecision over the penal code." As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, the EU said Monday that accession talks with [read more]

08:09 EDT

The trial phase of the US government's $280 billion civil racketeering suit against eight of the largest tobacco companies begins in Washington, DC Tuesday. The Justice Department says the tobacco industry violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by conspiring to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking [read more]

08:09 EDT

Tuesday's New York Times includes articles on a federal judge ordering the Federal Election Commission to enact tougher restrictions on how money is spent on campaigns, saying that its rules have undermined the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law; the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson becoming the second United States diocese to [read more]

08:09 EDT

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered Ralph Nader back on Pennsylvania's ballot, reversing a Commonwealth Court decision that removed Nader from the ballot on the grounds that, as a member of the Reform Party in Michigan, Nader didn't meet Pennsylvania's definition of independent. In its order [PDF], the court directed [read more]

07:09 EDT

Here's a run-down of law-related events, expected developments and live webcasts on JURIST's docket for Tuesday, September 21st.On Capitol Hill, the US Senate will convene at 9:45 AM ET and will begin consideration of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill for 2005 (S 2666).... The US Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will [read more]

06:09 EDT

AP is reporting that Mohammad Khatami said Tuesday that Iran will continue programs to develop "peaceful nuclear technology." These statements come just five days after the International Atomic Energy Agency adopted a resolution [PDF] implementing safeguards regarding the nuclear program. JURIST's Paper Chase has more.UPDATE: A full AP story is [read more]

05:09 EDT

In Tuesday's US law and business press, the New York Law Journal reports that a NY federal judge has ordered two Bahamian corporations to pay the FTC almost $18 million for false billings and making false or deceptive statements to telephone subscribers.... Los Angeles Business reports that Boeing Corp. has [read more]

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