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Legal news from Wednesday, November 15, 2006
by Brett Murphy

US Marine Corps Pfc. John J. Jodka III was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in military custody for his role in the murder of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania last spring. Jodka, one of eight servicemen originally charged in connection with the killing of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, pleaded guilty last …

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by Robert DeVries

A federal jury sitting in New Orleans ruled Wednesday that Merck & Co., makers of the painkiller Vioxx that was withdrawn from the market after it was found to expose users to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, was not liable for damages allegedly caused by the heart …

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by Robert DeVries

Former Enron accounting chief Richard Causey received a 66-month prison sentence Wednesday for authorizing bookkeeping practices that allowed Enron to defraud investors of billions of dollars. Under the original slate of 35 charges against him, Causey had faced up to 20 years in prison. In December he accepted a plea deal [PDF …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Lawyers for Saifullah Paracha, a multimillionaire from Pakistan in US custody at Guantanamo Bay, petitioned a federal court Wednesday to enjoin the US military from performing a cardiac catheterization because the facility there lacks sufficient medical equipment and the backup to ensure his health if something goes wrong. Paracha, who …

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by Brett Murphy

The High Court of Ireland held Wednesday that the protection of an unborn's right to life under Article 40 of the Irish Constitution does not include the preservation of embryos frozen as a part of infertility treatment. Article 40, Section 3.3 says:The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Pakistan's National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, passed the 2006 Protection of Women Bill Wednesday, transferring rape case jurisdiction from religious Sharia courts to civil courts. The bill also classifies rape under the penal code and makes it easier for women in Pakistan to prove rape allegations. Religious leaders …

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by Brett Murphy

Shaun Hansen, former owner of the telemarketing firm Mylo Enterprises Inc., pleaded guilty to two federal counts of conspiracy to commit interstate telephone harassment on Wednesday for his involvement in the New Hampshire GOP's 2002 phone jamming plot against the state's Democratic Senate candidates. Prosecutors alleged that Hansen was paid $2,500 to make phone calls to jam …

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by James M Yoch Jr

US Army Spc. James P. Barker pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of her family in the Mahmudiya (also "Mahmoudiya") area in March. Barker, who will be spared from capital punishment as a result of the plea, agreed to testify against the other …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud Wednesday rejected his cabinet's approval of a UN draft proposal for an international judicial tribunal to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Lahoud said the measure was invalid because in the midst of other domestic political turmoil all …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Labour Party government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged Wednesday to "put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system support the police and all those responsible for the public's safety" in its new legislative agenda for the 2006-2007 session of Parliament. In the Queen's Speech, …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The US decision to build a 700-mile fence along the US-Mexican border is "inhumane," a senior Vatican official said Tuesday while delivering Pope Benedict XVI's yearly message on migrants. Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Council on Migrant and Itinerant People, compared the proposal in the Secure Fence Act of …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged the existence of a memorandum, signed by President Bush, that authorizes the detention and interrogation of terror suspects overseas in a letter sent to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU requested the memo in a FOIA request, sent to the CIA in 2004 [JURIST …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A Nepal newspaper reported Tuesday that a blue-ribbon panel investigating possible human rights violations in the police response to anti-democracy protests last spring that left 22 dead and more than 5,000 wounded will blame King Gyanendra for the crackdown. The report may undergo revisions before it is presented to the government Friday, but the current version …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US Vice President Dick Cheney and his former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby asked a federal court Tuesday to dismiss the civil lawsuit brought against them and other current and former administration officials by Valerie Plame, the undercover operative whose revealed identity precipitated the CIA leak case [JURIST …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to uphold a lower court ruling that the NSA domestic surveillance program is unconstitutional, arguing that the program is an unconstitutional intrusion on privacy and free speech and oversteps the limits of executive power. In August, US District …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff on Wednesday began serving his six-year prison sentence on fraud and conspiracy charges. Abramoff will serve his sentence at a minimum-security facility in Cumberland, MD, a location close to the Washington, DC prosecutors who are using Abramoff's testimony to bring a corruption case against members of Congress and others. Abramoff was sentenced to …

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