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Legal news from Wednesday, September 13, 2006
by Alexis Unkovic

Valerie Plame, the undercover operative whose revealed identity precipitated the CIA leak case, and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, have now sued former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage for serving as the primary source responsible for disclosing Plame's CIA affiliation to columnist Robert Novak in the summer of 2003. Armitage confirmed last …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The US House Armed Services Committee approved its version of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 Wednesday, a bill that would permit the use of military commissions for terror detainees and enemy combatants. President Bush presented the legislation to Congress last Friday.Meanwhile, Sen. …

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by Alexis Unkovic

A Jordan military court concluded two separate terrorism cases Wednesday, convicting a total of 10 suspected militants, including two fugitives in absentia, of charges stemming from alleged plots to kill Americans in Jordan. The court sentenced the suspects to terms ranging from 10 to 20 years with hard labor, though lawyers for both sets of defendants …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Two US congressmen on Wednesday filed a motion in the US District Court for the District of Columbia requesting Judge Emmett Sullivan to order the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to treat tax-exempt 527 groups [Opensecrets.org backgrounder] on a case-by-case basis or, …

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by James M Yoch Jr

UK Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells called for the redefinition of "war crimes" in light of the recent Mideast conflict between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, during a Wednesday hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament. Howells blamed the "ruthless" tactics of Hezbollah, such as storing weapons in …

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by James M Yoch Jr

The US Senate Judiciary Committee approved the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 Wednesday, a bill that pushes forward Republicans' efforts to confer legal status on the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program, which involves warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency. The bill would subject the program to a …

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by Joe Shaulis

Texas' highest court for criminal cases announced Wednesday that it will consider whether to reinstate conspiracy charges against former US Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX). The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a request by Travis County Prosecutor Ronnie Earle, although it did not set a date …

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by Joshua Pantesco

China's Supreme People's Court has promulgated new rules aimed at preventing leaks of information regarding sensitive cases, and has established a system whereunder all court information will flow through court spokesmen, 65 of whom have already been appointed, according to a Wednesday China Daily report. The report did not say how the new spokesman system would …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A federal judge Tuesday ordered the state of Missouri to submit new protocols for carrying out the state death penalty by lethal injection and has refused to authorize executions until revisions are approved. The order by US District Judge Fernando Gaitan, issued Tuesday, marks the second time that Missouri has …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will not make an exception to the Russian Constitution or other laws in order to pursue a third term for himself in the scheduled 2008 Russian election. In a transcript posted on the Kremlin's website Tuesday, Putin was quoted as acknowledging …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) presented a report to the Australian Parliament Wednesday recommending that references to the term "sedition" in the new Australian anti-terrorism laws be removed. The ALRC report presents the group's conclusions after a five-month inquiry. ALRC President David Weisbrot said that continued use of …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The National Assembly of Serbia voted 219-5 on Tuesday to refer to Kosovo as an "integral and historic" part of Serbia in Serbia's forthcoming constitution, voicing its opposition to efforts by Kosovo to form a fully independent nation. UN-sponsored talks over the Kosovo issue began in February; in …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Former US Attorney General John Ashcroft, who resigned from the post in November 2004, told an audience at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Tuesday that President Bush has done less harm to civil liberties than any other wartime president in US history, and said that Bush administration efforts to combat terrorism, including the USA Patriot …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US military will not pursue the death penalty against US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. in the fatal shooting of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania, a military prosecutor said Tuesday during an Article 32 hearing. Shumate, 21, is accused of firing at …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A lawyer for Momin Khawaja, the first person charged under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act, urged an Ontario Superior Court judge Tuesday to strike down the anti-terror legislation because it is unconstitutionally vague and violates several provisions of the Canadian Charter on Rights and Freedoms. In a second day of arguments, Lawrence Greenspon …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Munqidh Al Faraun, the chief prosecutor in the Saddam Hussein trial requested Wednesday that presiding judge Abdullah al-Amiri remove himself from the case for reasons of bias, specifically, for allowing defense lawyers to make politically-charged statements in court. Al-Amiri was named trial judge in August of the second Hussein trial, this one …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The chief US prosecutor for the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, told reporters Tuesday that his office has begun preparing charge sheets for the 14 high-profile terror suspects who have been transferred from secret CIA prisons to Guantanamo Bay. Col. Moe Davis also reminded reporters that military lawyers are just …

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by Joshua Pantesco

UK Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer on Wednesday blasted the US for denying Guantanamo Bay detainees adequate access to the judicial system. In a speech delivered in Sydney, Australia, on "The Role of Judges in a Modern Democracy," Falconer, who also serves as Britain's Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, said:It …

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