Legal news from Friday, February 17, 2006
18:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] Friday scheduled new oral arguments in a whistleblower free speech case where the Court initially deadlocked 4-4. In Garcetti v. Ceballos [Duke Law backgrounder], a Los Angeles county prosecutor claimed he was demoted for testifying that a deputy sheriff lied [read more]

17:02 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that a federal jury has cleared Merck [corporate website] of responsibility in the death of a Florida man who had taken the popular painkiller Vioxx [JURIST news archive]. The painkiller was recalled in 2004 after clinical tests showed that patients who use the drug for more [read more]

16:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Georgia House of Representatives [General Assembly website] approved a bill [text] Friday protecting physicians who assist the state in performing lethal injections. The bill, which overwhelmingly passed the House 157-1, would protect any doctor or medical professional assisting in an execution from having their state license challenged, suspended [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] Merrill Lynch [corporate website] said Friday it will pay $164 million to settle 23 class action lawsuits involving Merrill Lynch's research of internet companies in the 1990s. Merrill Lynch filed a report with the US Securities and Exchange Commission [official website] on Friday, informing them of the settlement plan [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Court Judge Marcia Cooke on Thursday upheld a previous district court ruling denying bail for alleged "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive], agreeing with federal prosecutors who say his history of skipping bail makes him a flight risk, and that he would pose a significant threat [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Nepal [government website; JURIST news archive] on Friday ordered the government to free 37 politicians who had been detained for opposing the direct rule of King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile], saying that the court did not find any legitimate reason for the detentions. The [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Rwandan Supreme Court on Friday rejected the appeal [JURIST report] of former Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu [BBC profile], who had asked the court to overturn his 15-year criminal sentence [JURIST report] for inciting violence, embezzlement, and associating with criminals. Bizimungu, the country's first president after the 1994 Rwandan [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus [BBC profile] has vetoed a bill that would provide same-sex partners with access to medical information, property inheritance, and the right to raise children equal to that of married couples, among other things. Klaus' veto was expected [Prague Post report], and the president said [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] Thursday reaffirmed the US commitment to ending what she called the "genocide" in Sudan's troubled Darfur region, telling [testimony, PDF] members of the House International Relations Committee [official website] that "the United States is appalled by the ongoing atrocities that have [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Friday's environmental law news, the US Environmental Protection Agency [official website] has begun efforts to secure a multilateral agreement to reduce air pollution in the central US. The Blue Skyways Collaborative was introduced at a meeting of representatives from the EPA, 8 states, corporate interests, agriculture associations, environmental [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge David G. Trager has granted the US Justice Department's request for dismissal [memorandum, PDF; JURIST report] of a civil rights lawsuit filed by Maher Arar [advocacy website, CBC timeline], in what is believed to be the first suit filed challenging US extraordinary rendition [CBS report; JURIST [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] A New York appeals court has ruled [opinion, PDF] that the state's marriage law, which allows marriage between a man and a woman but not between same-sex couples, is constitutional. The 5-0 decision covers three separate cases [NYCLU case backgrounder] filed on behalf of same-sex couples who were denied [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] has called for the United States to close its Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention facility as soon as possible, reiterating the conclusions of a 54 page report [PDF text; press release] released Thursday by a UN-appointed independent panel. Annan said:There is [read more]

09:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Republican leaders of two key Congressional committees said Thursday that they would not undertake direct probes of the president's NSA warrantless surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. The US House Intelligence Committee [official website] said it would conduct a review of federal surveillance laws but its members are already [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Friday's international brief, four high profile Egyptian judges who spoke out against fellow colleagues accused of rigging votes in last year's presidential elections have been stripped of judicial immunity and are scheduled to be questioned by Egyptian police officials on charges of slander against government officials. The judges, [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] A UK High Court judge has ruled that three UK residents [JURIST report] detained by the US at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] since 2002 can seek a court order requiring the British government to petition the US government for their release. The UK government has thusfar said that [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] As ongoing unrest stemming from the controversy over the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive] continues, Pakistani police on Friday placed radical Islamic leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed under house arrest to prevent him from giving his usual Friday sermon at a mosque in Lahore. Saeed is the [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] Sheriff's officials in Los Angeles have said they intend to pursue criminal charges against at least two dozen inmates who participated in a series of racially motivated riots [JURIST report] in early February at the North County Correctional Facility [official website]. Two people have been killed in the violence [read more]

06:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] A Belgian court has convicted three men for being members of an Islamic group connected to terror attacks in Casablanca in May 2003 and Madrid in March 2004. The men were on trial [JURIST report] for their alleged membership in a Belgian cell of the militant Moroccan Islamist [read more]

05:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] The UN High Commission on Refugees [official website] has expressed alarm [UNHCR press release] at Ukraine's deportation of 10 Uzbek asylum-seekers to Uzbekistan [JURIST news archive] where they may face torture and abuse, alleging the deportations violated international law. An eleventh detainee was kept in Ukraine because he [read more]

04:02 EDT

[JURIST Europe] French Justice Minister Pascal Clement [official profile] has responded to a new Council of Europe (COE) [official website] report released on Wednesday [COE press release] criticizing France's human rights record by calling it "unfair". The 100 page report [official DOC text] identified a range of shortcomings in the [read more]

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