Legal news from Friday, February 18, 2005
17:02 EDT

[JURIST] The defense team for Pfc. Lynndie England [JURIST Newsmaker archive], accused in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, said Friday that military prosecutors have now filed a new and reduced set of charges against her that could substantially reduce any prison term sentence might receive. Nineteen counts of committing [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge Emmet Sullivan [official bio] ruled Friday that two lawsuits against the Federal Election Commission [official website] should be combinced, calling their claims "virtually identical." The 2004 Bush campaign and Reps. Christopher Shays, R-Conn. and Marty Meehan, D-Mass. sued the FEC separately last year after it allowed [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement Friday that an independent Commission of Experts would be appointed to access progress made in Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Indonesia in adjudicating human rights violations that occurred in 1999 when the former Indonesia territory of East Timor voted for independence. [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] An auditing commission appointed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops reported Friday that the past year has produced 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse against at least 756 Catholic clergymen. The disclosure of figures came in the national audit [full 64-page report, PDF] of US dioceses examining their [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] Mark Thatcher [BBC News profile], son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, appeared in a South African court Friday to answer questions about his role in an alleged coup plot [BBC Q/A] in Equatorial Guinea [official website; US State Department backgrounder]. Last month, Thatcher pleaded guilty to charges [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] Chief Justice William Rehnquist [JURIST Newsmaker archive] will not take part in oral arguments when the US Supreme Court [official website] resumes hearing cases next week, a court spokesperson said Friday. Rehnquist was diagnosed with thyroid cancer [JURIST report] last October and has missed the court's argument sessions in [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] In a filing submitted to the Supreme Court on Thursday, attorneys from the Justice Department told the court that terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST Newsmaker archive] does not need direct access to al-Qaida witnesses to receive a fair trial. Moussaoui's attorneys are appealing a 4th Circuit ruling [PDF] on [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] President Bush has signed the Class Action Fairness Act limiting class-action lawsuits, saying it will restore "common sense and balance to America's legal system." [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] The UN General Assembly's legal committee [official website] failed to reach a consensus Thursday on a nonbinding declaration that would have urged urge governments to adopt their own laws on human cloning. As a result, the committee is likely to adopt a proposal supported by the United States but [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Friday's corporations and securities law news, the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation [official website] filed a complaint against AEFA, the personal finance advisory unit of American Express Co. [corporate website], for failing to disclose to investors that its financial advisors were given incentives to push certain mutual [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] In Friday's international brief, multiple allegations of sexual harassment have arisen against UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers [official profile]. Lubbers, a former Dutch prime minister, allegedly harassed five different female employees under his supervision according to an internal report authored last year by the UN Office of [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] What appears to have been a legal oversight has prompted the office of the Prince of Wales at Clarence House to announce that the official wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles has been moved from Windsor Castle to Windsor's Guildhall [backgrounder, photos], the local town hall. Under [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] Ahmad Chalabi [JURIST Newsmaker archive], currently lobbying to be Iraq's Prime Minister in the wake of the recent elections which gave his Shiite party grouping a majority of seats in the new National Assembly, has promised to bring former dictator Saddam Hussein to speedy justice. Chalabi, one of two [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Thursday approved S. 256, the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Prevention Act of 2005 [PDF], a measure that would make it tougher for consumers to erase debt in bankruptcy proceedings, but battle lines are being drawn on the Senate floor. Amendments will likely [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] Documents from US military investigators obtained by the ACLU under Freedom of Information Act provisions and released Friday suggest that US personnel engaged in widespread abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan, and that US soldiers attempted to cover up evidence of the abuses in the wake of the Abu Ghraib [read more]

00:02 EDT

[JURIST] Here's a run-down of law-related events, expected developments and live webcasts on JURIST's docket for Friday, Feb. 18.On Capitol Hill, the US Senate [official website] convenes at 10 AM ET for the reading of President George Washington's farewell address [text, PDF] from 1796. The reading is an annual tradition [read more]

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