Legal news from Tuesday, December 6, 2005
20:12 EDT

[JURIST] California Supreme Court Chief Justice and Republican appointee Ronald George [official profile] said in a Reuters interview Tuesday that the state should execute death row inmates within five years of sentencing or reprieve them, as opposed to waiting for twenty years or more as it does now. This issue [read more]

20:12 EDT

[JURIST] A bill [PDF text] renewing the 2002 Terrorism Risk Insurance Act [text] will be debated in the US House of Representatives later this week, according to acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-MS) [official website]. The original law, passed after 9/11 and set to expire on December 31, 2005, [read more]

19:12 EDT

[JURIST] The Pentagon announced Tuesday that military commission trials for two foreign Guantanamo prisoners will begin with plea hearings on January 10 at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST archive] detention facility without waiting for the US Supreme Court to decide the legality of such tribunals. The Supreme Court has granted certiorari [read more]

18:12 EDT

[JURIST] A Russian judge announced at a preliminary hearing Tuesday that three Chechens accused of murdering [JURIST report] US journalist Paul Klebnikov [Economist obituary] in July 2004 would be tried in front of a jury during closed sessions. The man the Russian prosecutor's office believes to have ordered the killings [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] Natwar Singh [official profile], India's former foreign minister, resigned his position on the Indian Cabinet on Tuesday amid accusations that his majority party improperly benefited from the UN's oil-for-food program [JURIST news archive]. Singh maintained his innocence on Tuesday, asserting he was stepping down to avoid being the excuse [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion text, PDF] Tuesday that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] lacks the statutory authority to compel lawyers to provide periodic notice of privacy to clients under the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [text], regulating "financial institutions." The [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] Azerbaijan's main political opposition party, Azadliq [official website in Azeri], announced Tuesday that it plans to boycott the new parliament [Milli Mejlis] that won power after disputed November elections. Azadliq won five seats in that contest, in which both party members and international observers allege widespread fraud. After the [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] The heads of Romania's parliament Tuesday announced plans to seek an inquiry into the reports that Romania hosted a secret CIA prison [JURIST report]. Meanwhile in Poland, identified as another European country that may have harbored a secret CIA facility for terror detainees, the Justice Ministry [official website] announced [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] In a motion [PDF text] filed Tuesday, prosecutors in the trial of Zacarias Mousaoui [JURIST news archive] asked a federal judge to limit impact testimony of the hundreds of living victims who expressed their desire to testify about their loss as a result of the September 11 attacks. Arguing [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that a federal jury has acquitted Sami Al-Arian [JURIST news archive; advocacy website], the former Florida professor accused of aiding Palestinian terrorists, on some counts but has deadlocked on others.Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase...Ex-professor calls no witnesses to defend against US terror chargesFederal judge says no [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] In response to growing scrutiny of his Administration's interrogation practices, President Bush Tuesday insisted [White House transcript] that the United States does not secretly transfer terrorism suspects to foreign governments that engage in torture. The Bush Administration has been increasingly questioned about the practice, known as extraordinary rendition [Wikipedia [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] The interrogation of Syrian officials [JURIST report], part of a UN inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minster Rafik Hariri [UN materials; JURIST news archive], will be suspended after the last of five officials is questioned and returned to Syria on Wednesday. Two officials, who were brought [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday heard oral arguments [recorded audio, via C-SPAN] in Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic Rights (FAIR) [Duke Law backgrounder; merit briefs], concerning whether the Solomon Amendment [text; FAIR backgrounder], a federal law that requires educational institutions, including law schools, [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] The Texas trial of US Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) [official website; JURIST news archive] on money laundering charges [JURIST report] is expected to begin early next year after Judge Pat Priest [profile] on Monday dismissed a conspiracy charge [JURIST report] against DeLay but refused to throw out the money [read more]

14:12 EDT

[JURIST] The United Nations on Tuesday fired Carina Perelli, head of the UN's Electoral Assistance Division [official website], for alleged employee harassment and management failures. Allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation [JURIST report] in Perelli's office were first reported in March of this year. In August, the UN formally accused [read more]

13:12 EDT

[JURIST] Defense lawyers for German citizen Ladislav Niznansky [BBC report], the 88-year-old former Slovak Nazi commander accused of wartime massacres, demanded Tuesday that their client be acquitted and given compensation for his time in prison, saying there was no evidence showing his guilt. Niznansky was convicted in absentia and sentenced [read more]

12:12 EDT

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [PDF complaint; press release] against former CIA Director George Tenet and other CIA officials Tuesday on behalf of Khaled el-Masri [ACLU profile], a German man who claims he was wrongfully imprisoned in 2003. The complaint alleges that Masri [read more]

12:12 EDT

[JURIST] As the fourth session of the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] came to a close Tuesday, Hussein shouted at the judges that he would not return to an 'unjust court' when the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] reconvenes Wednesday. Hussein asked whether Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin is [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses Ohio election officials of violating constitutional rights to equal protection and due process. The League of Women Voters [advocacy website] sued [PDF complaint; fact sheet] state election officials, claiming that the current system deprives citizens of voting rights, [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] The Australian Senate [official website] on Tuesday voted to approve new counter-terrorism laws that broaden the offense of sedition and allow for the detention of suspected terrorists for up to seven days. The legislation passed the lower house [JURIST report] last week after vigorous debate. The government blocked opposition [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday held that Kansas did not unconstitutionally impose a tax on distributors of fuel that was sold on an Indian reservation. In Wagnon v. Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation [Duke Law backgrounder], the Court considered whether Kansas' motor fuel tax [read more]

10:12 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's environmental law news, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] has ruled [PDF opinion text] to reinstate six joined cases against DuPont [corporate website] for hiding evidence about Benlate [extoxnet profile], a fungicide sold by the company, so that it could more easily [read more]

10:12 EDT

[JURIST] US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] has ordered a clarification of rules on how US troops are to respond if they witness mistreatment of detainees by other forces. The request is a result of the confusion that occurred when Rumsfeld stated that US forces in Iraq are to [read more]

09:12 EDT

[JURIST] Chilean Judge Victor Montiglio announced Tuesday that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] will face a new round of human rights charges. As the judge continues to investigate Pinochet's role in Operation Colombo [Wikipedia backgrounder], where a dozen members of the opposition were allegedly kidnapped [read more]

09:12 EDT

[JURIST] The chief United Nations investigator leading the probe into the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri [UN materials; JURIST news archive] will leave his post on December 15 after submitting his final report to the UN, a spokesman said Tuesday. The spokesman said that German prosecutor Detlev [read more]

09:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US Army [official website] Monday dropped charges against an officer who was charged with murder [JURIST report] for giving permission to soldiers serving under him to kill two Iraqi civilians, including an Iraqi teenager who was suffering from severe wounds in the aftermath of a US attack and [read more]

08:12 EDT

[JURIST] Former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma [ANC profile] was charged with rape Tuesday in Johannesburg Magistrate's Court and was freed on 20,000 rand bail until the case opens on February 13, 2006. A family friend who viewed Zuma as a foster parent reported the alleged rape last month. [read more]

08:12 EDT

[JURIST] China on Tuesday denied the findings [JURIST report] of UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC] who, after a two-week visit [JURIST report] to China, criticized the country for the widespread torture and abuse of prisoners. Nowak, a UN envoy acting on behalf of the High [read more]

08:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US held eleven captured al Qaeda suspects at two secret CIA prisons [JURIST report] in Eastern Europe until media reports exposing the existence of the prisons shut down the facilities last month, ABC News reported Monday. The prisoners were then hastily relocated [Reuters report] to a CIA facility [read more]

07:12 EDT

[JURIST] "Witness A," the first woman to testify in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive], gave her testimony Tuesday behind a curtain and with her voice distorted by computer to protect her identity, despite some technical problems which caused a short delay. Witness A continued to describe how she [read more]

06:12 EDT

[JURIST] Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) [official website] officials in Mississippi knew that their response system had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] and warned headquarters of riots, according to an eight-page document of e-mails released Monday by the US House Government Reform Committee [official website]. The correspondence [read more]

06:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] CIA-owned or operated planes made over 210 "ghost flights" through nearly 20 different British airports that may have been used to transport terror detainees [JURIST report] being relocated as part of the US practice of extraordinary rendition, according to the UK Guardian newspaper Tuesday. The Guardian notes that [read more]

05:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] A district court in Moscow has issued an arrest warrant for Yukos [corporate website] lawyer Pavel Ivlev on charges of embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering. Ivlev, a New York-based lawyer for the firm ALM Feldmans [legal website in Russian], worked for Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [advocacy [read more]

05:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [official profile; in French] has announced that the French government has begun the deportation of seven foreigners found guilty of taking part in last month's rioting [JURIST report], making good his promise to deport any non-French citizen involved in the violence. Of the [read more]

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