Legal news from Thursday, July 14, 2005
21:07 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that US Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist is spurning rumors of his retirement after admission to the hospital [JURIST report] this week for a fever, saying he will serve as long as his health allows him. "I am not about to announce my retirement," he [read more]

20:07 EDT

[JURIST] US Senators said Thursday at a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing [witness list, statements] that Congress should enact legislation to define the legal status of prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, while the Pentagon called such a plan too restrictive since present laws enable the US to detain the [read more]

19:07 EDT

[JURIST] Four leading women in the US Senate Thursday asked Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to reconsider her resignation [press release] if Justice William Rehnquist makes the decision to retire. The request from Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) [official websites] [read more]

18:07 EDT

[JURIST] The Ethiopian government has said that it will not renew a ban on post-election demonstrations against accusations of election fraud [JURIST report] after it expires Friday. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi [official profile] originally instituted a month-long ban against protests in and near the country's capital beginning on the [read more]

18:07 EDT

[JURIST] The NHL [official website] and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) [official website] have come to an agreement in principle [NHL and NHLPA joint statement], ending the longest labor interruption in North American professional sports history. The two groups wrapped up a nine-day collective bargaining session with the [read more]

15:07 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's states brief, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled [text] today that the state's cap on medical malpractice noneconomic damage awards is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection guarantees of the state constitution [PDF text] and the legislature's rationale for implementing the cap was too broad and speculative [read more]

15:07 EDT

[JURIST] The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website] Thursday condemned the 2001 Miami federal court conviction of five Cubans who spied on US anti-Castro groups ["Free the Five" advocacy website], calling their long jail terms - including three life sentences - "arbitrary." In an opinion obtained by Reuters [read more]

14:07 EDT

[JURIST] The Slovak Constitutional Court [official website] Thursday delayed Slovakia's ratification of the European Constitution [JURIST news archive], approved in the country's parliament two months ago. Thirteen Slovak citizens filed a complaint [Slovensko report] with the court, arguing that the Constitution should be put to a vote in a public [read more]

14:07 EDT

[JURIST] The first trial against pharmaceutical drug company Merck & Co. [corporate website] for distributing the drug Vioxx [JURIST news archive] while aware of an increased chance of heart attack and stroke began Thursday in Texas with opening statements from both sides. The state trial, the first of some 3,800 [read more]

13:07 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province [Wikipedia profile] has passed a controversial law [Pakistan Times report] reminiscent of Afghan regulatons under the former Taliban regime that will allow the government to monitor individuals' compliance with Islamic principles. The bill creates the office of "mohtasib," which will [read more]

13:07 EDT

[JURIST] The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official wesbite] dropped a scheduled review of its media ownership rules from the agenda of its scheduled monthly open meeting [FCC release] Thursday. Some of the restrictive rules had been overturned [PDF opinion] by the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, a [read more]

13:07 EDT

[JURIST] US Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist [JURIST news archive] has been released from hospital after a two-night stay. He had been "admitted for observation and tests" Wednesday with a high fever, fueling debate [AP report] over the prospect of his retirement. AP has more. [read more]

13:07 EDT

[JURIST] A federal jury in Vermont Thursday recommended the death penalty for Donald Fell, convicted [JURIST report] in June of kidnapping and murdering a supermarket worker [Rutland Herald report; case archives] in 2000. Vermont hasn't executed a convict since 1954, and the last death sentence given in 1957 was later [read more]

11:07 EDT

[JURIST] New York Gov. George Pataki [official website] Wednesday signed a bill [press release] allowing the direct shipment of wines into and out of New York, ending limitations that have hampered wine sales since the repeal of Prohibition more than 70 years ago and allowing New York wine enthusiasts to [read more]

11:07 EDT

[JURIST] The UN's Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] has joined Amnesty International [press release] in asking Colombian President Alvaro Uribe not to ratify the Justice and Peace Law, which was recently approved by the legislature [JURIST report]. The bill is designed to encourage former paramilitary soldiers [read more]

10:07 EDT

[JURIST] Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs [official website], said Wednesday he expects a settlement in the Corbell v. Norton lawsuit [plaintiffs website] brought by American Indians for back trust royalties owed to them by the US government. But he said the $27.5 billion [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] Wednesday upheld [PDF opinion] a lower court decision that Microsoft Corp. was liable for infringing on an AT&T Corp. patent for converting speech into computer code in copies of Windows operating system sold abroad. The Court said that [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] While amended measures to extend the Patriot Act were approved Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee [JURIST report] and the House Judiciary Committee [JURIST report], Senators introduced their own bipartisan bill setting restrictions and time limits. SB 1389, introduced by Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) [official website] [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] As UN General Assembly debate continued Wednesday on a proposed expansion of the UN Security Council, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan weighed in on the general proposition, telling reporters, "The council can be more democratic and more representative." The US supports expansion in principle [US General Assembly address], but [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official website] on Thursday ordered an immediate review of his exclusion and deportation powers. The move in the wake of the London bombings comes after British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday that his government would tighten border controls [JURIST report] to keep out [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] Wednesday signed a decree [press release] handing control of the country's prisons over to the Russian Ministry of Justice [official website, in Russian]. The move comes in response to pressure from the Council of Europe [official website], which made such prison reforms a [read more]

08:07 EDT

[JURIST] Chile's Senate on Wednesday passed reforms to the country's constitution [text] put in place by former dictator Augusto Pinochet [Wikipedia profile] that reduce the presidential term to four years from six and limit military build-up. Sen. Sergio Fernandez, who worked as a co-author to the 25-year-old Constitution, called the [read more]

08:07 EDT

[JURIST] The US on Wednesday unveiled a draft of a UN Security Council [official website] resolution that would more clearly define associations with groups such as al Qaeda and the Taliban. Currently, sanctions impose weapons and travel bans along with asset freezes on individuals or groups "associated" with them. The [read more]

08:07 EDT

[JURIST] Sunni clerics complained of more rights abuses by Iraq's mostly-Shiite security forces in Iraq on Wednesday, further complicating efforts to encourage Sunni participation [JURIST report] in Iraq's political process. The bodies of 11 Sunni men - including one cleric - were found on Wednesday after they were rounded up [read more]

08:07 EDT

[JURIST] Russia has demanded the extradition from the United States of Leonid Nevzlin [2003 Forbes profile], a former Yukos [JURIST news archive] executive and majority shareholder accused of ordering murders. Nevzlin now lives in exile in Israel, but was in the US Wednesday to address the Helsinki Commission [official website] [read more]

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