Legal news from Wednesday, September 14, 2005
20:09 EDT

[JURIST] Frances Newton [Amnesty International backgrounder] was executed by lethal injection late Wednesday at Huntsville prison in Texas for fatally shooting her husband and two children in 1987, making her the first black woman executed by the state since it took over executions from counties in 1923. Several dozen protestors [read more]

20:09 EDT

[JURIST] A Bosnian court created to ease the caseload of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website; JURIST news archive] opened its first trial Wednesday against war crimes suspect Boban Simsic, a member of a Serb paramilitary group that served under Milan Lukic [ICTY case backgrounder]. Simsic [read more]

20:09 EDT

[JURIST] Two men implicated in the growing scandal surrounding Texas Republican campaign groups associated with US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay [official website] have been charged with two additional felonies for violations in the 2002 election. Americans for a Republican Majority head Jim Ellis and John Colyandro, former executive director [read more]

19:09 EDT

[JURIST] The Grand Bench (en banc panel) of the Supreme Court of Japan [official website, English version] ruled Wednesday that a clause of the country's Public Offices Election Law restricting the voting rights of Japanese nationals living abroad is unconstitutional. The court determined that the legislature was negligent in passing [read more]

19:09 EDT

[JURIST] US Chief Justice nominee John Roberts [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive] wrapped up a third day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Wednesday marked by more jousting with Democratic senators and strong support from Republicans. As time went on, it appeared increasingly likely that Roberts [read more]

19:09 EDT

[JURIST] Delta Airlines [corporate website] and Northwest Airlines [corporate website], the third and fourth largest US air carriers, both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection [SEC backgrounder] Wednesday. The filings highlighted the financial distress of the airline industry, particularly after spiking oil prices in Hurricane Katrina's wake, and the two [read more]

18:09 EDT

[JURIST] In Wednesday's environmental law news, Pennsylvania has joined 14 other states suing the US Department of Energy (DOE) [official website], alleging that the agency is 6 to 13 years behind schedule in updating efficiency standards for some household and commercial appliance categories and has failed to issue any new [read more]

16:09 EDT

[JURIST] A US lumber industry trade group has challenged the constitutionality of the dispute settlement system [NAFTA backgrounder] under the North American Free Trade Agreement [text; Secretariat website], arguing that the system violates due process. The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports [official website] filed the lawsuit Tuesday after an independent [read more]

16:09 EDT

[JURIST] The Australian government has backed away from proposals to strip citizenship from those convicted of terrorism offenses, instead suggesting that it may be more effective to monitor them. Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official profile] originally supported removing citizenship of those breaking proposed anti-terror laws. Citizenship Minister John Cobb [read more]

15:09 EDT

[JURIST] Former Afghan mujahideen [Wikipedia backgrounder] Abdul Rabb Rasoul Sayyaf [Wikipedia profile] said Wednesday that he supported an inquiry into abuses committed by fighters during the civil war in Afghanistan [JURIST news archive] in the 1990s, but he rejected calls to bar those implicated from parliamentary elections. Sayyaf, a member [read more]

15:09 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that the Massachusetts state legislature [official website] has rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment [text] that would have banned gay marriage but allowed civil unions. Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage when the state's Supreme Judicial Court ruled [opinion; JURIST report] in 2003 [read more]

15:09 EDT

[JURIST] Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive] can stand trial for an alleged campaign of abduction and murder of political opponents during his leadership, Chile's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The ruling was the third by the court stripping Pinochet of the immunity from prosecution customarily granted [read more]

14:09 EDT

[JURIST] Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) [official website in English], its coalition partner the New Komeito Party [official website in English] and its largest opposition, the Democratic Party of Japan [official website in English], agreed Wednesday to establish a standing constitutional referendum committee in the House of Representatives. Establishing [read more]

14:09 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that a federal judge in San Francisco has ruled that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance [JURIST news archive] in public schools with the language "under God" is unconstitutional. The judge granted legal standing to two families represented by Michael Newdow [JURIST news archive], an [read more]

14:09 EDT

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights [official website] has ruled [judgment text; press release] that a British ban on parent and children-in-law marriages violated rights guaranteed by Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text]. A man identified in court as "B" and his son’s ex-wife, identified [read more]

12:09 EDT

[JURIST] Thousands of demonstrators continued to pour into Kathmandu Wednesday to protest the totalitarian rule of King Gyanendra [BBC profile]. Nepali police detained hundreds of pro-democracy activists [JURIST report] Tuesday in the capitol city, including a former prime minister, for protesting the king's seizure of power [JURIST report] this February. [read more]

12:09 EDT

[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] was the first world leader to sign the UN Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism [PDF text], which opened for signatures Wednesday at the UN's 2005 World Summit [official website]. As many as 63 nations are expected to sign the [read more]

11:09 EDT

[JURIST] Addressing the opening session of the UN's 2005 World Summit [official website] Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile], US President George Bush and other world leaders appealed for global action to prevent conflict, protect human rights and suppress terror. Speaking to the 60th anniversary session of the General [read more]

11:09 EDT

[JURIST] The Bush administration Tuesday expressed disapproval of a measure aimed at regulating trade negotiations, and discouraged Senate members from adopting it. The measure, offered as an amendment to the annual appropriations bill for the Departments of State, Commerce and related agencies [text] by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) [official website], [read more]

11:09 EDT

[JURIST] Rwanda's community-based genocide courts have charged 14,885 of their own judges with genocide, according to the department in charge of managing the system. The Gacaca courts [official website; Wikipedia backgrounder] were created three years ago to accelerate genocide trial proceedings, and consists of judges who are referred to as [read more]

11:09 EDT

[JURIST] In the third day of his Senate confirmation hearings Wednesday, US Chief Justice nominee John Roberts [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive] said that Congress has the right to counter decisions made by the Supreme Court, including the controversial ruling earlier this year in Kelo v. New London [PDF opinion], [read more]

10:09 EDT

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld the sovereignty of Indian tribes Tuesday by ruling that federal courts do not have jurisdiction over decisions regarding who is entitled to membership in a tribe. The federal appeals court allowed Indian tribes to retain their ability [read more]

10:09 EDT

[JURIST] Iraqi Justice Minister Abdul Hussein Shandal has criticized the US military for arresting and detaining Iraqi citizens and journalists without bringing charges against them, and is calling for either amendment or discontinuation of a UN Security Council resolution [JURIST report] giving the US military immunity from Iraqi law. Shandal [read more]

09:09 EDT

[JURIST] Last-minute amendments to Iraq's draft constitution [JURIST news archive] were finalized Wednesday, according to National Assembly deputy speaker Hussein al-Shahristani, who said the final document has been given to the UN for printing and distribution to the Iraqi people. Changes were made to the draft after Sunni Arabs rejected [read more]

08:09 EDT

[JURIST] The official in charge of European Union expansion said Tuesday that Turkey [JURIST news archive] is deliberately provoking them by choosing to hold the trial of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk [Wikipedia backgrounder] at the same time as an EU summit. Pamuk is accused of insulting Turkey's national character by [read more]

08:09 EDT

[JURIST] Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Sredoje Lukic, indicted [text] in 2000 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] surrendered to Serb authorities in Bosnia Tuesday. Lukic is charged with cruel and inhumane acts against non-Serbs, crimes against humanity as well as humiliation, terrorizing and psychological [read more]

07:09 EDT

[JURIST] Capt. Christopher M. Beiring, an army officer from the 377th Military Police Company, was charged Tuesday with dereliction of duty and making a false official statement in connection with an ongoing investigation into prisoner abuse at the Bagram Air Base detention facility [Wikipedia backgrounder] in Afghanistan [JURIST news archive]. [read more]

07:09 EDT

[JURIST] A Russian court began hearing the appeal Wednesday of former Yukos [corporate website] oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [JURIST news archive; defense website], who is in jail for tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement. In May, Khodorkovsky was found guilty on seven charges [JURIST report], and received a nine-year sentence [JURIST [read more]

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