Legal news from Friday, April 21, 2006
16:04 EDT

[JURIST] A Texas state jury on Friday found Merck [corporate website] liable for the death of a 71-year-old man who died from a heart attack within a month of taking Merck's painkiller Vioxx [Merck Vioxx Information Center website; JURIST news archive], in the sixth Vioxx case to reach a verdict. [read more]

16:04 EDT

[JURIST] A US Central Intelligence Agency [official website] employee has been fired for leaking classified information and having unauthorized discussions with the media, CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said Friday. Though Gimigliano declined to elaborate, a law enforcement officer has said that the leak led to last November's report in the [read more]

15:04 EDT

[JURIST] A US federal judge Friday entered not guilty pleas for former Assistant US Attorney Richard Convertino [Wikipedia profile] and US State Department Regional Secretary Officer Harry Raymond Smith III after they stood mute to charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and making false declarations in connection with a botched [read more]

15:04 EDT

[JURIST] Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue [official website] has signed into law two new bills that may incite court battles over separation of church and state. On Thursday Perdue authorized government-sanctioned elective classes on the Bible in public schools and signed a bill allowing courthouses to display the Ten Commandments. Education [read more]

14:04 EDT

[JURIST] Nepal opposition activists rallied late on Friday in Kathmandu to reject a pledge [JURIST report; proclamation text] made earlier in the day by King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile] to immediately restore democracy to the country, under the king's direct rule since February last year. The country's political parties, [read more]

13:04 EDT

[JURIST] Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling [Houston Chronicle profile], whose testimony in his own defense came to a close on Thursday, maintained his innocence on fraud and conspiracy charges [PDF indictment; DOJ trial materials] and defended his actions in the wake of Enron's financial collapse in 2001. Skilling spent the [read more]

13:04 EDT

[JURIST] The appointment of Jamal Abu Samhadana [MIPT profile], fugitive leader of the militant Popular Resistance Committees [BBC backgrounder], as director general of the Palestinian Authority's Interior Ministry and head of a new Palestinian security force raised concerns Friday that the entire Palestinian cabinet could face assassination by Israel. Samhadana [read more]

12:04 EDT

[JURIST] John Negroponte [official profile], director of US national intelligence, has said that the US has no immediate plans to put detained suspected senior al Qaeda members on trial. In a speech [prepared remarks] Thursday commemorating the first anniversary of the creation of the Office of the Director of National [read more]

11:04 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Homeland Security [official website] and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) [official website] announced a comprehensive plan to combat illegal immigration [press release] on Thursday which involves cracking down on companies that harbor illegal workers. The strategy is part of the Secure Border [read more]

11:04 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Friday's environmental law news, the California Air Resources Board [official website] has approved a plan [text and backgrounder] that calls for new emissions regulations and business incentives to reduce air pollution from shipping companies, railroads and trucking companies. The plan is specifically aimed at achieving federal standards for [read more]

10:04 EDT

[JURIST] The European Council [official website] counter-terrorism coordinator has reported that the existence of secret CIA prisons in Europe cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Addressing a European Parliament [official website] committee on Thursday, Gijs de Vries [BBC profile] also denied that allegations of coordination between the US and [read more]

10:04 EDT

[JURIST] The US State Department [official website] has said the US intends to release 100 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] as soon as it identifies countries that will accept them. Speaking at the US embassy in Paris on Thursday, State Department official Sandra Hodgkinson said that the prisoners [read more]

09:04 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that Nepal's King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile] has said that executive power "shall be returned to the people from this day forward." Gyanendra's statement follows a last attempt to put an end to pro-democracy protests [JURIST news archive] against Gyanendra's rule by imposing an 11-hour [read more]

08:04 EDT

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] said Thursday that the failure of Internet service providers to retain user records has impeded US Justice Department investigations into child pornography and said that the department is looking into setting "reasonable" data retention standards. In a speech [text] at the National [read more]

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