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Legal news from Wednesday, January 10, 2007
by Jaime Jansen

Democrats in the US Senate on Wednesday renewed efforts to pass legislation that would grant temporary legal status to illegal immigrant workers who work in agriculture, after House Republicans stalled bicameral negotiations last year. The Senate passed a bill in May that would set millions of illegal immigrants on a path to …

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by Leslie Schulman

Lawmakers in the Italian Senate have started weighing proposals for legislation that would legalize civil unions in the country. The process in the Senate's Justice Committee comes a month after Senate leaders requested that a bill be drafted by January 31 that would give legal status to unions of all unmarried couples, both heterosexual and …

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by Jaime Jansen

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking compliance with a CREW Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to the destruction of …

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by Leslie Schulman

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has announced it will rehear arguments on a preliminary injunction imposed last year which prevented South Dakota from enforcing a 2005 abortion law. Enforcement of the law was initially halted in 2005, pending a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota …

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by Jaime Jansen

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in the consolidated cases Davenport v. Washington Education Association and Washington v. Washington Education Association, 05-1589 and 05-1657, where the Court must decide whether a state campaign finance law that prohibits labor unions and their officials from seizing and using …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A federal appeals court heard oral arguments Wednesday on whether the government should be permitted to reinstate a charge against alleged terrorist Jose Padilla. The charge, conspiracy to "murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country," carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, unlike the other charges now against him. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A coordinated hunger strike has halted proceedings before Bosnia's national war crimes after multiple defendants boycotted the court Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, demanding to be tried under the criminal code in place at the time of their alleged crimes, not under the 2003 criminal code which authorizes forty-year maximum penalties for those crimes charged. The code enforced during …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Northern Ireland must abide by a gay rights bill that came into effect January 1 after the House of Lords voted Tuesday to keep the regulations in place. Lord Morrow opened debate on the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006, a bill which prohibits businesses from withholding goods and services, including accommodation, from same-sex couples. …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the causation standard for railroad negligence under the Federal Employers Liability Act [45 USC 51-60 text] is the same as that for employee contributory negligence under the Act. In Norfolk Southern v. Sorrell, an employee of the railroad sued for injuries suffered and …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Peru plans to mount a legal challenge to a decision from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ordering a $20 million judgment be paid to the families of deceased rebels and calling for the government to publicly honor the rebels, Peruvian President Alan Garcia said Tuesday. The IACHR's November ruling held …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US military mental health workers had diagnosed an Army soldier as a homicidal threat three months before he was involved in the alleged rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of her family in the Mahmudiya (also "Mahmoudiya") area in March 2006, AP reported Tuesday. Former US Army soldier Pfc. Steven D. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The first US execution of 2007 took place Tuesday, when the state of Oklahoma executed a man by lethal injection for the 1992 murders of four people. The US Supreme Court denied Corey Duane Hamilton's request for a stay of execution and certiorari review on Monday, with Justices Souter and Stevens voting to grant the …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US military prison for terror suspects at Guantanano Bay, Cuba drew renewed criticism from rights defenders Tuesday as the camp approached the fifth anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees from Afghanistan. Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the European rights watchdog organization, called Tuesday for all …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Wednesday that the execution of two co-defendants of Saddam Hussein should be delayed "to see what the circumstances are," without offering any further explanation. Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief judge of Iraq's Saddam Hussein-era Revolutionary Court, and former Iraqi intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim …

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by Ryan Olden

Moroccan-born Mounir al-Motassadeq on Tuesday appealed the 15-year prison sentence handed down by a German court earlier this week for Motassadeq's role in assisting the men who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks. Lawyers for Motassadeq also said Tuesday that they might take the case to the European Court …

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by Joe Shaulis

President Bush has cleared the way for drilling of oil and natural gas in parts of Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the central Gulf of Mexico [US Interior Dept. maps, PDF]. In a memorandum to the secretary of interior dated Tuesday, Bush modified a moratorium that President Clinton imposed in 1998, forbidding …

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by Ryan Olden

US Army Spc. Juston R. Graber pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the deaths of three Iraqi detainees in Thar Thar, a town near Samarra, some 60 miles north of Baghdad, but pleaded not guilty to more serious charges of attempted premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder. Graber, …

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