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Legal news from Wednesday, July 26, 2006
by Joshua Pantesco

Mexican leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador filed a criminal complaint against the Federal Electoral Institute Tuesday, alleging that it should have blocked campaign ads funded by private companies that he alleges broke election regulations. Obrador has claimed that the commercials contained subliminal messages.Obrador lost the July 2 presidential election …

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by Jaime Jansen

A federal judge in Manhattan ruled Wednesday that statements made by two partners at accountancy firm KPMG cannot be used in their upcoming trial because federal prosecutors coerced the two defendants into cooperating with the ongoing criminal tax shelters case by using excessive financial pressure over the two men. US District Judge …

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by Jaime Jansen

China's Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), the country's highest criminal prosecution body, has issued new regulations outlining 42 offenses constituting abuses of authority in a bid to prevent torture of criminal suspects and other malfeasance. The regulations are meant to provide criteria for prosecuting authorities to follow when launching investigations. The offenses include divulging …

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by Jaime Jansen

A Texas jury Wednesday found Andrea Yates not guilty by reason of insanity of drowning her five children in 2001. Yates will now be committed to a Texas mental hospital and will undergo periodic hearings to determine whether she will be eligible for release. Yates' attorney argued that she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis, believing that …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox suggested that Congress may need to permit increased SEC oversight over hedge funds to protect retail investors and prevent fraud, during a hearing held by the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday. Cox lamented a June decision by a federal appeals court to invalidate the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock Wednesday called on Australian states to ban books inciting terrorism in the wake of a recent Australian Classification Review Board (CRB) decision to ban two Islamic books that allegedly incited terror while allowing five others to circulate. An incitement ban would require changing the current legal test for prohibition, which goes …

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by Jaime Jansen

US Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said Tuesday that arrests of people trying to cross the border illegally have dropped by 45 percent in the two months since President Bush announced a plan to send 6,000 National Guard troops to aid in border security along the Mexican border. Aguilar said …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit granted an administrative injunction Wednesday in the case of US Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), preventing FBI review of documents seized from Jefferson's congressional offices until after the court rules on the merits of Jefferson's appeal. Jefferson is appealing a district court ruling finding the search constitutional …

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by Joshua Pantesco

CIA Director Michael Hayden on Wednesday spoke against requiring the US government to show probable cause to obtain warrants to wiretap domestic conversations thought to involve al-Qaeda affiliates during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on adapting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to the threat of terrorism. Hayden argued that while FISA was appropriate for granting …

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by Jaime Jansen

Missouri's revised plan for conducting executions by lethal injection fails to ensure that executions do not cause unconstitutional pain and suffering, according to US District Judge Fernando Gaitan, who halted all executions in the state in June. Gaitan wrote on Tuesday that the proposal was an improvement over existing procedures but still …

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by Joe Shaulis

The Washington Supreme Court ruled Wednesday morning that a statute prohibiting same-sex marriage does not violate the state Constitution. The Supreme Court reversed a 2004 Superior Court ruling that the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional because it was "not rationally related to any legitimate or compelling state interest and is …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 7-0 Wednesday that a Cincinnati suburb may not use eminent domain to take private property on the sole basis of economic benefit to the community. Several residents of Norwood held out on selling their homes to make way for a $125 million commercial development, and after a consulting firm …

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by Jaime Jansen

Israel has denied using banned cluster munitions in Lebanon. On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch accused Israel of using the cluster grenades in an attack on a Hezbollah village in South Lebanon last week. Israeli Ambassador to Moscow Arkady Milman called told Russian media that "reports of the Israeli army …

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by Joshua Pantesco

UK Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer issued a review of the implementation of the Human Rights Act Tuesday indicating that the government will not support legislation to amend or appeal the Act but wants instead to dispel "myths" surrounding it so that public officials governed by the Act do not overbalance the rights of criminals against …

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by Jaime Jansen

Saddam Hussein attended trial proceedings Wednesday for the first time since the prosecution called for the death penalty during closing arguments in June. In a statement to Presiding Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman, Hussein asked to be executed by firing squad rather than hanging and complained that he had come to trial proceedings against …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The UK Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that Military Families Against the War (MFAW), a group of families with members who have died in Iraq, is entitled to apply for judicial review of the government's decision not to hold an independent inquiry into why the UK went to war. Reversing a High Court decision in …

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by Jaime Jansen

The Bush administration has begun circulating a draft bill to authorize military trials for terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay, according to a report in Wednesday's New York Times. The draft bill, written by acting Assistant Attorney General Steven Bradbury, would allow the use of reliable hearsay evidence and would permit the …

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by Jaime Jansen

United Nations relief coordinator Jan Egeland said Tuesday that Israel had used "disproportionate" force in its military offensive against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip, but he added that both sides had violated international humanitarian law. Touring Gaza, Egeland expressed dismay over Israel's destruction of Gaza's infrastructure …

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