Legal news from Wednesday, September 21, 2005
20:09 EDT

[JURIST] UN Secretary General Kofi Annan [official profile] on Wednesday called on nations to quickly sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty [PDF text] as he opened the fourth conference [CTBTO backgrounder] on bringing the treaty into force. Annan said countries' inability to agree on the issue was [read more]

20:09 EDT

[JURIST] A grand jury in Philadelphia on Wednesday issued a 418-page report severely criticizing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia [diocesan website] for alleged cover-ups of widespread clergy abuses [JURIST news archive] in the Archdiocese over the course of decades, but handed down no charges due to statute of limitations applying in [read more]

19:09 EDT

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] on Wednesday unanimously approved H.R. 3768 [bill summary], providing $6 billion in temporary tax relief aimed at helping people and organizations hit by Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive]. In particular, the legislation offers $500 tax credits for those providing temporary housing for [read more]

19:09 EDT

[JURIST] US Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter [official website] said Wednesday that the US Defense Department was blocking an investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] into a highly-classified Army intelligence program that allegedly identified four of the September 11 hijackers a year prior to the attacks. The [read more]

16:09 EDT

[JURIST] Hamdi Issac, one of four suspects in a spate of failed bomb attacks [JURIST report] in London on July 21, will be extradited Thursday to the UK, Italian sources reported Wednesday. The Italian high court had previously upheld a ruling [JURIST report] that Issac had to be extradited to [read more]

16:09 EDT

[JURIST] Court-martial proceedings against Pfc. Lynndie England [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive], 22, one of the highest-profile but lowest-ranking suspects in the Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive] prison abuse scandal, began Wednesday in Fort Hood, Texas, with jury selection and opening statements. England faces seven counts of abuse and conspiracy [read more]

15:09 EDT

[JURIST] Eight Democratic governors have called on President Bush and Congress to investigate reports of gas price gouging following Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive]. Citing a study [PDF text] by a University of Wisconsin economist that concluded rising gas prices were not solely attributable to Katrina, the governors said in [read more]

15:09 EDT

[JURIST] A group of European legislators have accused Italy of violating international human rights laws in its treatment of refugees after visiting a camp for asylum seekers on the island of Lampedusa [Wikipedia backgrounder]. The 12 socialist MEPs said conditions at the camp, located off the coast of Sicily, did [read more]

14:09 EDT

[JURIST] European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso [official profile] told reporters in Brussels Wednesday that he does not expect a European constitution [JURIST news archive] for another two to three years. While referendum failures in France [JURIST report] and the Netherlands [JURIST report] led to a June EU "crisis summit" [read more]

13:09 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that a federal judge has approved settlements worth over $6 billion in civil litigation related to the WorldCom accounting fraud [JURIST news archive].1:49 PM ET - Under the deals approved by District Judge Denise Cote, several corporate defendants involved in the fraud, including Citigroup and JPMorgan [read more]

13:09 EDT

[JURIST] Harvard Law School [official website] will open its career services office to military recruiters beginning this fall, despite the Pentagon's refusal to sign the school's nondiscrimination pledge, Dean Elena Kagan [official profile] said Tuesday in a letter [text] to the law school community. According to Kagan, the Pentagon notified [read more]

12:09 EDT

[JURIST] The US House Resources Committee [official website] is considering Wednesday possible changes to the Endangered Species Act [text, PDF], which has been in effect for 32 years. Rep. Richard Pombo [official website] has introduced [press release] the bipartisan Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005 (TESRA) [PDF summary], [read more]

12:09 EDT

[JURIST] A commission investigating the murder of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze [Wikipedia profile] five years ago reported their findings Wednesday, concluding that the slaying was instigated by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma [Wikipedia profile] and the current speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament [official website] . Gongadze, an Internet journalist who reported [read more]

11:09 EDT

[JURIST] US Sen. Arlen Specter [official website], chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], asked President Bush Wednesday to delay nominating a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor [Oyez profile]. Specter's announcement came after leading senators met with President Bush to suggest possible nominations [AP report]. [read more]

11:09 EDT

[JURIST] Attorneys for some Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees asked for access to their clients' medical records Wednesday as they worried that the detainees' eight-week-long hunger strike [JURIST report] may be severely harming their clients' health. Lawyers for a group of 17 Yemeni detainees complained that their clients looked [read more]

11:09 EDT

[JURIST] In trial proceedings in Uzbekistan, Muidin Sobirov confessed Wednesday to his role as a key planner of the bloody demonstrations in the Uzbekistan city of Andijan in May [JURIST news archive]. Sobirov is among the 15 men charged [JURIST report] with being Muslim extremists and trying to overthrow the [read more]

11:09 EDT

[JURIST] Sen. Patrick Leahy [official website], ranking Democrat on the US Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that he will support the confirmation [Leahy statement] of John Roberts [JURIST news archive] as Chief Justice of the United States.11:34 AM ET - In his statement to the Senate [text], Leahy expressed disappointment [read more]

11:09 EDT

[JURIST] In Wednesday's environmental law news, the European Commission [official website] will introduce [press release] a package of measures aimed at improving air quality. In July, the Commission shelved its initial air quality plans, which were criticized as being too costly. The plans [Clean Air for Europe website] have been [read more]

10:09 EDT

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] has granted a stay of US District Court Judge Janet Hall's decision to lift the gag order [JURIST report] imposed on plaintiffs suing the government over an FBI order issued under the Patriot Act. The ruling, issued late [read more]

10:09 EDT

[JURIST] The Australian government said Wednesday it was pleased with the US decision [JURIST report] to resume military commission proceedings against Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks [Wikipedia profile; advocacy website] in light of a US federal appeals court ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [PDF text]. In a radio interview, Australian [read more]

10:09 EDT

[JURIST] Iraqi ex-president Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] will not be allowed to represent himself at trial, according to new procedural rules adopted by the National Assembly [Wikipedia overview]. Under the new rules adopted late last month, the rights of all defendants appearing before the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] [read more]

09:09 EDT

[JURIST] Susette Kelo, whose case led to the June US Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. New London [opinion text; JURIST report; Institute for Justice backgrounder], where the court held local governments can take homes for private development, urged [prepared testimony] the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Tuesday to end [read more]

09:09 EDT

[JURIST] The European Court of First Instance [official website] Wednesday ruled that the European Union [official website] can freeze the assets of suspected terrorists under its treaty powers [PDF press release; judgment text]. The court dismissed complaints from alleged al Qaeda associates, Yassin Abdullah Kadi, Ahmed Ali Yusuf, and the [read more]

08:09 EDT

[JURIST] Iranian Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh said Wednesday that Tehran does not plan to leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [PDF text; JURIST news archive], despite threats from its nuclear negotiator [JURIST report] Tuesday. Iran [JURIST news archive], which has opposed the attempts of the US and Europe to refer Iran [read more]

07:09 EDT

[JURIST] The Michigan Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence [advocacy website] and other gun control advocates are gearing up to block a Michigan bill [PDF text] that would allow people to use deadly force for self-defense. Earlier this year, the groups were unable to block similar legislation in Florida [JURIST report; [read more]

07:09 EDT

[JURIST] The US Defense Department [official website] said Tuesday that it has banned military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying on "Able Danger" [Wikipedia profile; JURIST report], the highly classified US Army intelligence program alleged to have identified Mohammed Atta [Wikipedia profile] and three other 9/11 hijackers as suspected al-Qaeda [read more]

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