[JURIST] US District Court Judge Martin Jenkins [profile] ruled Friday that there was not enough evidence to sustain many of the counts against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko [Wikipedia profile]. In a complex trial that ended nearly one year ago, Lazarenko was convicted on 29 counts of extortion and laundering money through California banks. Fifteen of the 29 counts were thrown out by Jenkins but prosecution and defense attorneys had divergent assessments of the ruling. Defense attorney Daniel Horowitz called it a "tremendous victory" while a prosecution spokesman stressed that the most serious charges of money laundering were affirmed. Jenkins set a June 23 court date for Lazarenko's sentencing. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official website] announced Friday, while acknowledging National Missing Children's Day [DOJ press release], that a new federal website would provide state-by-state information on known sex offenders within two months. The website, with voluntary participation by states, will allow someone to do a national search online to determine if a convicted sex criminal has moved from one state to another. The system is designed to add some degree of uniformity to the many state methods of notification; Oregon currently provides information only over the phone while others have statewide websites that provide different degrees of access to information. AP has more.
[JURIST] Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich [official website] vetoed a bill Friday that would have allowed rights for gay partners who registered with the state, denouncing it as a threat to traditional marriage. Among the rights the bill would have granted to gay partners were the right to be treated as immediate family in a hospital setting, power to make healthcare decisions, and private nursing home visits. Ehrlich said he was sympathetic to the needs of dependent couples but stressed that the tools of existing laws allowed for many of the requested rights without undermining traditional marriage. Gay rights group Equality Maryland [advocacy website] claimed the bill had nothing to do with marriage and noted that some of the requested rights could not be secured under the existing law [press release]. The Washington Post has more.
[JURIST] Afghan president Hamid Karzai [Wikipedia profile] said Saturday that he wants custody of all Afghan prisoners after being "shocked" by US newspaper reports of prisoner abuse [JURIST report] released Friday. The US has over 500 Taliban and other prisoners in Guantanamo Bay [official website] and several hundred Afghans are currently believed to be held by the US in Afghanistan. Karzai has also stated that he wants control over US military operations inside Afghanistan, such as searches within homes for militants, which should not be taking place "without the consultation of the Afghan government." Karzai will meet with President Bush next week. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] British tabloid The Sun published additional photos of an incarcerated Saddam Hussein in a white robe Saturday, one day after it showed a semi-clad Saddam on its front page. The International Committee of the Red Cross [official website] has said the pictures violate Saddam's right to privacy while the US military has condemned their publication [JURIST report] and ordered an investigation to determine how they were leaked to the press. The Sun said the photos were sold to them by a US military official and defends the decision to print them. Meanwhile Iraq's planning minister, Barham Salih, has said that Saddam could be facing trial before the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] in the next few months. AP has more.
[JURIST] Senate Republicans filed a motion Friday which starts the countdown towards the "nuclear option" [Wikipedia backgrounder] - a procedure to wipe out the Democrats' power to block President Bush's judicial nominees. The motion would end the Senate debate for federal court nominee Priscilla Owen [DOJ profile] who was renominated by Bush after Democrats blocked her nomination in the last Congress. A Senate majority is required to confirm a nominee, but 60 votes are needed to end a filibuster. Republicans believe they can gain the needed support to ban judicial filibusters, but Democrats contend those are necessary to provide a check by the minority on the majority's power. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of the filibuster debate [JURIST news archive]. Reuters has more.
Feedroll provides free Paper Chase news boxes with headlines or digests precisely tailored to your website's look and feel, with content updated every 15 minutes. Customize and get the code.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.