Legal news from Tuesday, January 17, 2006
20:01 EDT

[JURIST] A US District Court judge ruled Tuesday that David Wittig [Wikipedia profile], former CEO of Westar Energy [corporate website] has violated the terms of his release from prison and will be immediately returned to detention. Wittig, who was found guilty on 39 counts of corporate fraud [JURIST report] last [read more]

19:01 EDT

[JURIST] The 5-member US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] voted unanimously [press release] Tuesday to support an overhaul of its rules governing how executive compensation packages are disclosed to investors, a top priority of Chairman Christopher Cox [official profile] since he assumed leadership of the regulatory body [JURIST [read more]

18:01 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday heard oral arguments in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], where the court will decide whether the federal Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 [text], popularly known as the [read more]

16:01 EDT

[JURIST] Turkish Justice Minister Cemil Cicek requested Tuesday that a court return Mehmet Ali Agca [Wikipedia profile], the man who shot Pope John Paul II [official website; JURIST news archive], to prison for at least 11 more months. Agca had escaped from prison where he was serving a 36-year sentence [read more]

15:01 EDT

[JURIST] Speaker of the US House of Representatives Dennis Hastert (R-IL) [official profile] on Tuesday introduced a proposal which will restrict the gifts Congressmen may receive from lobbyists. The ethics reform plan [Hastert speech] is in response to the recent ethics scandal involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive] and [read more]

15:01 EDT

[JURIST] The UK Terrorism Bill proposal [text], introduced following last year's July 7 London bombings, suffered two defeats Tuesday in the House of Lords [official website] as peers voted against introducing a "glorification" of terrorism offense and called for more safeguards for provisions that would outlaw the spreading of terrorist [read more]

14:01 EDT

[JURIST] The British government Tuesday denied allegations that a government memo documenting a conversation between British Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile] and President George Bush included a suggestion to bomb the Aljazeera [media website] headquarters, after the news agency hired a law firm [AP report] to put pressure on [read more]

14:01 EDT

[JURIST] A man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the failed London bombing [JURIST news archive] attempts on July 21, 2005 after police searched two residential buildings and one place of business. The 27-year old was arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] A California school district has agreed to stop teaching a philosophy class [AU press release] discussing intelligent design theory [Natural History backgrounder; JURIST news archive] as part of a settlement agreement filed Tuesday, according to the legal director for the Americans United for Separation of Church and State [advocacy [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) [official website] has established a policy to prosecute political crimes committed during apartheid in South Africa [UN backgrounder] by individuals who were denied amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) [official website]. The new policy indicates that the National Director of Public [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] Judges on the Iraqi High Criminal Court (formerly, the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website]), the court trying Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive], are in disagreement over how to choose a new chief judge to replace Rizgar Amin [Wikipedia profile]. Amin resigned last week [JURIST report] in protest of criticism [read more]

11:01 EDT

[JURIST] Russia's official newspaper, Rossiskaya Gazeta [media website] reported Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law [AP report] granting tighter state control over non-governmental organizations, including those foreign-based, though there has been no official announcement from the Kremlin. The law, approved by parliament [JURIST report] last week, [read more]

11:01 EDT

[JURIST] The federal trial of former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell [Wikipedia profile] on charges of corruption opened Tuesday with jury selection. Campbell, who served as mayor from 1994 to 2002, has strongly denied charges [indictment summary, PDF] of racketeering, fraud and bribery, which included accepting more than $160,000 in illegal [read more]

11:01 EDT

[JURIST] An Austrian arbitration court has ruled that the country must return $150 million in artwork to the heir of the family from whom the works were seized by the Nazis, bringing to a close a case that wound its way through both Austrian and US courts. Both parties agreed [read more]

11:01 EDT

[JURIST] A coalition of civil rights groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit [ACLU complaint, PDF; press release] Tuesday challenging the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying program [JURIST news archive]. In the ACLU lawsuit [fact sheet; additional materials] the plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the [read more]

10:01 EDT

[JURIST] In addition to its ruling [JURIST report] in the Oregon assisted suicide case, the US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday limited the citizenship of a bank to the state in which its main office is located for purposes of diversity jurisdiction. The Court in Wachovia Banks v. Schmidt [read more]

10:01 EDT

[JURIST] Four Cambodian civil rights leaders arrested on defamation charges [JURIST report] were unexpectedly granted bail and released from jail Tuesday. Leaders from the Cambodian Center for Human Rights [advocacy website], along with a journalist and union leader were released pending trial, after intense international pressure and a request by [read more]

10:01 EDT

[JURIST] The UK House of Lords [official website] has blocked government plans to issue national identification cards [BBC backgrounder], objecting to three aspects of the proposal [bill text] including questions of cost. The Lords on Monday voted to halt the legislation until the anticipated costs to launch the ID card [read more]

10:01 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that the US Supreme Court [official website] has upheld Oregon's Death with Dignity Act [PDF text], rejecting federal efforts to prevent doctors from assisting patients in taking their own lives. In 2001, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered [text] a halt to the distribution of controlled drugs [read more]

09:01 EDT

[JURIST] Lawyers for a group of Chinese Uighur detainees being held [JURIST report] by the US at Guantanamo Bay plan to ask the US Supreme Court to hear an appeal of last month's District Court ruling authorizing their continued detention. Lawyers plan to file a petition for certiorari, arguing that [read more]

09:01 EDT

[JURIST] Voters in Chile [JURIST news archive] elected Michelle Bachelet [BBC profile; campaign website] as president with 56 percent of the vote in a runoff election Sunday. Bachelet and her parents were imprisoned and tortured in 1973 under the regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archive; BBC backgrounder], after [read more]

08:01 EDT

[JURIST] California executed 76-year old Clarence Ray Allen [advocacy backgrounder, PDF] Tuesday morning, despite protests that executing the ailing inmate was cruel and unusual punishment. Allen, who was blind, nearly deaf and confined to a wheelchair, was California's oldest death row inmate and the second-oldest person executed in the US [read more]

08:01 EDT

[JURIST] In the months following Sept. 11, the National Security Agency [official website] provided a "flood" of surveillance [JURIST news archive] information to the FBI, most of which proved to be worthless and a waste of FBI resources, and which prompted FBI doubts about the legality of the NSA's increasing [read more]

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