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Legal news from Thursday, June 15, 2006
by Tom Henry

A New Hampshire judge on Thursday dismissed 5 of 8 counts in a lawsuit brought by Democrats against Republicans after the jamming of Democratic phone lines in the 2002 Senate race between Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) and Democratic challenger Jeanne Shaheen. Sununu won the race by less than five percentage points. Republicans applauded the ruling …

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by Tom Henry

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday that, despite a 2005 US Supreme Court ruling barring the death penalty for juveniles, the mental age of a death row inmate could not be invoked to stop the state from carrying out his execution. Though the Kentucky court acknowledged the top court's decision, it said that …

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by Tom Henry

One week after the US House of Representatives voted 379-35 to pass the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, President Bush signed into law the legislation that will increase by tenfold the maximum fine for indecency, from $32,500 to $325,000 per station for each violation. The Senate passed the bill in …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 11-7 to send to the full Senate a proposed constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the US flag. The amendment has 59 co-sponsors, but would require a 2/3 majority, or 67 votes if all …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A European Union lawmaker calling for the US to close its detention center at Guantanamo Bay suggested Thursday that it should be replaced with an international criminal tribunal to hear the cases of the approximately 450 alleged terror suspects now detained. European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Elmar Brok told German TV news program …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Israel's High Court of Justice, the Supreme Court of Israel sitting as a court of first instance in cases regarding state actions, on Thursday ordered the state to take down a five-kilometer section of the West Bank security barrier that separates Israelis from Palestinians. The Court found that the barrier section …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US government has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey against New Jersey Attorney General Zulima Farber and other New Jersey officials, seeking to stop them seeking information from telecommunications companies on whether they cooperated with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its domestic surveillance …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The UN Security Council on Thursday voted to extend the mandate of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission probing the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri for an additional year until mid-June 2007. The Council's vote follows the recommendation of Serge Brammertz, deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal …

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by Jaime Jansen

A Chinese court Thursday sentenced Yang Xiaoging, a reporter for the state-run China Industrial Economy News [media website; People's Daily backgrounder], to one year in prison after finding him guilty of extortion. Xiaoging wrote articles about official corruption, accusing local Communist Party official Yang Jianxin of stealing state assets. Xiaoging's wife, Gong Jie, plans to appeal the ruling immediately, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A federal grand jury has handed up another indictment against South Korean lobbyist Tongsun Park, charging him Wednesday with lying to the FBI about his role in the adoption of the 1995 UN Security Council Resolution 986, which established the now-defunct Iraqi Oil-for-Food Program. The one-sentence indictment accuses Park …

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by Jaime Jansen

Yemeni officials on Thursday called for a second investigation into last week's detainee suicides by one Yemeni and two Saudi Arabians held at the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, saying the deaths exemplify the "inhumane conditions of detainees" at Guantanamo. The three men reportedly hung themselves in their cells with bedsheets and cloths, …

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by Jaime Jansen

Sudanese Justice Minister Mohammed al-Mardi insisted Thursday that the International Criminal Court does not have jurisdiction to investigate war crimes committed in the volatile Darfur region and said that Sudanese officials would not submit to questioning by ICC prosecutors in their investigation into crimes against humanity in Darfur. Mardi said that Sudanese …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Responding to public outrage in the UK over the possibility of parole within six years for a sex offender convicted earlier this week, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said on Wednesday's BBC TV program Question Time that judges are not to be blamed over the sentencing issue. Lord Falconer …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court handed down four decisions Thursday, including Hudson v. Michigan where the Court held 5-4 that evidence collected under a search warrant is admissible even when police officers failed to knock before entering a home. The Court upheld a Michigan court ruling which …

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by Jaime Jansen

Mexican lawmakers began working this week to revive a bill that will decriminalize personal drug possession – or possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and heroin. Lawmakers hope to override a potential veto by Mexican President Vicente Fox, who announced plans to sign the bill, but then reversed his position after the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Russian Duma, the lower house of parliament, on Wednesday voted 359-53 to pass a bill that will shorten the military conscription requirement from two years to one, beginning in January 2008. The bill is expected to gain approval from the Federation Council, Russia's upper house, within the month and be signed into law by …

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by Joe Shaulis

A court in Japan has ruled that journalists have a right not to disclose the identities of their sources. The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday reversed a district court order that a newspaper reporter testify in an American company's lawsuit against the US government. Presiding Judge Nobuo Akatsuka wrote in the High Court's ruling …

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by Joshua Pantesco

UK Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett said Thursday that Britain will take custody of former Liberian President Charles Taylor if he is convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, as long as authorizing legislation is passed by parliament. In a statement, Beckett said that as long as parliament passes …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US government can detain non-citizens indefinitely on the basis of religion, race or national origin, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that "the executive is free to single out 'nationals of a particular country' and focus enforcement efforts on them" under his interpretation of immigration law. Judge John Gleeson of the US District Court for …

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by Joe Shaulis

The US military has canceled regular visits between detainees at Guantanamo Bay and their lawyers this week after three prisoners committed suicide last weekend, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which represents many of the 460 detainees. Government officials told the CCR that no guards are available to supervise attorney-client …

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by Jaime Jansen

Italian prosecutors finished an investigation on Wednesday into the 2005 killing of Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari by a US soldier, but have not yet decided if they will charge US Army Specialist Mario Lozano with murder. Calipari was shot to death while driving to the Baghdad airport after securing the release of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena …

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by Jaime Jansen

A military lawyer representing Yemeni Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, one of ten Guantanamo Bay detainees awaiting trial before a military commission, filed a motion Wednesday to move al-Bahlul's trial to a Navy base in the United States, claiming that the Guantanamo restrictions make it impossible to hold a fair trial. Army Major Tom Fleener …

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