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Legal news from Wednesday, June 21, 2006
by James M Yoch Jr

The war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor could begin as early as January, Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) officials said Wednesday. Taylor, who was transferred from Sierra Leone to The Hague on Tuesday, will await trial by the UN-backed SCSL at International Criminal …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Former Computer Associates senior vice president Thomas Bennett pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of obstruction of justice for his role in the company’s revenue-swapping of $2.2 billion with another company in 1999 and 2000. Bennett, who faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000, is the third CA executive to plead guilty …

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by James M Yoch Jr

A retired Canadian Supreme Court justice said Wednesday that major flaws plaguing the Canadian justice system contributed to the mismanagement of the criminal trial and investigation into the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight from Montreal that exploded over the Atlantic near Ireland, killing 329 people, most of them Canadians. A judicial inquiry into the bombing, …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday approved a review of media ownership rules, including limits on ownership of broadcast stations by one company and on cross-ownership by broadcasters and newspapers. FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said that the rules, which must be reviewed every four …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Marine Corps on Wednesday charged seven Marines and one Navy corpsman with murder and kidnapping in connection to the April 26 death of an Iraqi man outside his home in Hamdania. The eight men allegedly dragged an Iraqi civilian outside of his home, shot him, and then placed an AK-47 rifle and a shovel near his body …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US House Judiciary Committee passed a non-binding resolution Wednesday asking the President and the Secretary of Defense to provide the House with information on the NSA domestic surveillance program. The resolution calls for: all information in the possession of the President or the Secretary of Defense relating to the collection …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants have begun a hunger strike to protest the abduction and murder of a defense team lawyer in Baghdad early Wednesday morning. Leading defense counsel Khalil al-Dulaimi said the defendants would end their strike when additional security is provided to the defense team. Saddam threatened to boycott the trial last …

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by Jaime Jansen

A Nepal committee has started to consult rebels and civil society leaders in preparation for drafting a temporary constitution after the new Nepal government and Maoist rebels reached a landmark deal Friday. The two parties agreed to draft a power-sharing constitution within 15 days and dissolve the parliament reinstated by the popular people's uprising [JURIST news …

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by Joshua Pantesco

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the world's governments Wednesday to ensure the goal of nuclear non-proliferation by devaluing nuclear weapons and strengthening the treaties to limit and control them. Addressing the opening session of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, Annan advocated renewed international efforts to secure compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty …

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by Jaime Jansen

A guard at a federal detention center in Tallahassee, Florida, shot and killed a US Justice Department agent before being shot and killed himself Wednesday as FBI and Justice Department investigators arrived at the prison to arrest six men, including the guard, who were indicted Tuesday on corruption charges. The six allegedly brought contraband into the female quarters of …

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by Jaime Jansen

The United States and Japan have finalized a treaty that will allow law enforcement authorities from both countries to deal with each other directly to facilitate criminal investigations, rather than going through diplomats. The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which the two countries initially signed on August 5, 2003, will take effect …

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by Joshua Pantesco

House GOP leaders on Wednesday indefinitely postponed consideration of the Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006, which would renew provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for an additional 25-year period. The unexpected decision to remove the bill from floor debate came after Republicans from southern states complained during a …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference after a US-EU summit meeting in Vienna, President George W. Bush suggested that the White House is open to having Guantanamo Bay detainees tried in US courts, as opposed to Guantanamo-based military commissions where a few are currently facing trial. After reaffirming his commitment …

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by Jaime Jansen

Iran has charged leading women's rights activists Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani and Parvin Ardalan [Iranian.com profile] with acting "against national security" in connection with a June 12 women's rights demonstration [AP report; Kosof.com photos] that turned violent when police detained more than 70 people in central Tehran. Both women have reportedly been freed on bail. Many protesters …

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by Joe Shaulis

Law enforcement officials often obtain Americans' phone records without a warrant or subpoena by paying private data brokers, who sometimes get the information through improper or even illegal techniques, AP reports. Federal agencies that hire data brokers include the FBI and the US Marshals Service, both part of the Justice Department, and US Immigration and …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Catholic church is pushing the UK government to establish a committee to consider lowering the legal limit on abortions from the current 24 weeks allowed by the 1967 Abortion Act [BBC Q/A], UK Archbishop Rev. Peter Smith said Wednesday during an interview on the BBC Breakfast program. The proposed committee would involve members of both houses …

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by Jaime Jansen

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby supporters have raised more than $2 million for his legal defense in the CIA leak case since last fall, according to Barbara Comstock, a member of Libby's defense team. Supporters of Vice President Cheney's former aide have hosted several fundraisers, including one Tuesday evening, hosted by former …

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by Joe Shaulis

Canada must do more to protect citizens' personal information from foreign governments, the national privacy commissioner said in a report to Parliament presented Tuesday. Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart singled out the Canadian Border Services Agency for allowing guards and customs agents to give their US counterparts private information …

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by Jaime Jansen

The federal judge presiding over the Miami trial of terror suspect Jose Padilla has ordered prosecutors to turn over more evidence regarding their allegations that Padilla and his co-defendants conspired to kill, injure or kidnap US nationals overseas as part of a global terrorist network. US District Judge Marcia Cooke said that the indictment …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A Syrian writer and his son have been charged with insulting government employees and will be tried before a military tribunal, the Syrian National Organization for Human Rights said Tuesday, as a crackdown on dissent in Syria continues. Journalist Ali Al-Abdallah and his son Mohamed are members of the state-recognized Atassi Forum for National Dialogue, a political group critical …

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by Joe Shaulis

A civil rights group has sued the state of Georgia, arguing that a new law designed to protect children from sex crimes all but forbids convicted offenders from living in urban and suburban areas. The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) filed a complaint on Tuesday in the US District Court for the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday filed a motion in support of Verizon's petition to consolidate over 20 cases in which the company must defend allegations that it illegally shared customer phone records with the National Security Agency in conjunction with the NSA's domestic spying program. The DOJ motion invokes national security …

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by Jaime Jansen

Cuba and the United States exchanged barbs Tuesday over the US human rights record on the second day of the inaugural session of the UN Human Rights Council official website; JURIST news archive] in Geneva, Switzerland. Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Rogue accused the US of running a "concentration camp" at …

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by Joe Shaulis

For the first time in 20 years, a former government official is on trial for crimes committed during the Dirty War [GlobalSecurity.org backgrounder] in Argentina. The trial of Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz, former chief investigator of the Buenos Aires province police, began Tuesday in La Plata, with the defendant refusing to testify. Etchecolatz told …

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by Joshua Pantesco

In an effort to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the suicide of three Guantanamo Bay detainees, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed an Emergency Motion for Preservation of Evidence in federal court late Monday on behalf of the father of detainee Salah Ali Abdullah Al-Salami. The motion asks the district court in …

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by Jaime Jansen

A group of nurses filed four class-action lawsuits around the country Tuesday against multiple hospitals, alleging the hospitals violated antitrust laws by conspiring to keep wages low for nurses despite a national shortage of nurses. The four lawsuits - filed in Chicago, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee [PDF complaint; Tennessean …

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by Jaime Jansen

A defense lawyer in the Saddam Hussein trial was abducted and killed Wednesday, just two days after the prosecution presented their closing arguments in the trial, calling for the death penalty for Hussein and four of his co-defendants. Khamis al-Obeidi, a lawyer for both Hussein and his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti, had chosen to continue …

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