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Legal news from Thursday, December 7, 2006
by Gabriel Haboubi

The US Supreme Court Thursday granted certiorari in five cases, including two antitrust cases, and three criminal appeals. There are currently two other antitrust cases to be heard by the court this term. Credit Suisse v. Glen Billing (05-1157) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], which Chief Justice …

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by Gabriel Haboubi

Canada’s House of Commons voted 175 to 123 Thursday against reopening debate on same-sex marriage. The result effectively upheld Canada’s 2005 law allowing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, passed under the leadership of former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin. Canadian Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper …

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by Ryan Olden

Hewlett-Packard reached a $14.5 million settlement agreement with California Attorney General Bill Lockyer on Thursday in an unfair business practices suit stemming from HP's allegedly fraudulent attempts to obtain certain phone records, a practice known as "pretexting." Lockyer "commend the firm for cooperating instead of stonewalling" and announced …

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by Ryan Olden

Outgoing Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) presented a bill Thursday that would prevent federal prosecutors from exerting what he sees as excessive pressure on companies and executives in fraud investigations. Specter said he hoped the move would put pressure on the US Justice Department to refrain from …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Roy Belfast Jr. and Charles Taylor Jr., son of former Liberia president Charles Taylor, pleaded not guilty in a US district court in Florida Thursday to charges of committing torture in the first prosecution brought under a federal anti-torture statute. Emmanuel commanded a paramilitary unit …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Interim Fiji Prime Minister Dr. Jona Senilagakali admitted Thursday that the military coup carried out in the country earlier this week is "illegal" but defended the takeover as necessary "to clean up the mess of a much bigger illegal activity of the previous government." Fiji military commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama [BBC profile; JURIST news …

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by Jaime Jansen

Russia has opened a criminal investigation into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian Prosecutor General's office said Thursday. Litvinenko, who once worked for the Russian Security Federal Bureau, was poisoned in London on November 1, and passed away due to radiation poisoning on November 23. Scotland Yard said Wednesday that it …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Scientists produced new evidence Wednesday supporting the claim of innocence of five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor accused of infecting over 400 Libyan patients, primarily children, with the HIV virus. An analysis published in Nature of 44 HIV and hepatitis virus samples taken from some of the infected children showed that the …

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by Jaime Jansen

Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2003 for crimes relating to the Rwandan genocide, was released from prison Wednesday after serving his sentence, becoming the first person freed after serving a tribunal sentence. Ntakirutimana, a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, was found guilty of aiding and abetting the …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert S. Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that the FBI has launched internal investigations into media leaks of details relating to several public corruption probes. The FBI had pending investigations of Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA), Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) and …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The Bulgarian Parliament voted Wednesday to open the archives of the nation's former communist secret service in order to disclose information about 29 categories of people who currently hold or have held positions of responsibility in Bulgaria. The law, which passed with 107 votes in favor and 42 against, requires the publication …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Supreme Court heard no oral arguments Wednesday despite it being a scheduled argument day, an unusual development reflecting a gap in its docket caused by a decrease in the number of cases it chooses to hear. Compared to last year, the Court has accepted 40 percent fewer cases, and will …

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by Katerina Ossenova

US Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), outgoing chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and current ranking member of the committee Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have introduced a bill which would restore habeas corpus rights to military detainees and amend the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) [JURIST news …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed into law a controversial bill that eliminates a rule requiring at least 50 percent of voters to turn out in order for poll results to be validated. Putin signed the measure despite opposition by Ella Pamfilova, the chairwoman of Putin's Human Rights Council, and …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli resigned Wednesday after admitting that he gave incorrect testimony to a Canadian House of Commons committee about the Maher Arar case. Arar is a Canadian citizen who, on suspicion of ties to al Qaeda, was deported from the US to Syria …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The US Senate unanimously passed the Secure Access to Justice and Court Protection Act Wednesday, a bill that will increase security measures for judges both in and out of courtrooms across the country. The bill was written in response to the increased number of courtroom shootings and attacks on judges …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The Iraq Study Group (ISG) recommended Wednesday that the Bush administration provide "strong" support and funding for US Justice Department efforts in Iraq "to establish courts; to train judges, prosecutors, and investigators; and to create institutions and practices to fight corruption." In its report, the ISG noted that "new and refurbished courthouses with …

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