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Legal news from Tuesday, January 23, 2007
by Bernard Hibbitts

President Bush pressed for comprehensive immigration reform in his State of Union address Tuesday night, urging US lawmakers to take action to secure US borders, enhance interior and worksite enforcement of immigration laws, create a temporary worker program, resolve "without animosity or amnesty" the status of illegal immigrants already in the US, and promote …

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by Ryan Olden

State Farm insurance company reached a settlement Tuesday with hundreds of Mississippi policyholders whose claims were denied after Hurricane Katrina, bringing an end to a trial that began January 9 in the US District for the Southern District of Mississippi. The agreement between State Farm and Mississippi Attorney General Jim …

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by Ryan Olden

The US House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Tuesday to deny retirement pensions to any member of Congress "convicted of any of certain offenses," including fraud, bribery and perjury. Currently, federal lawmakers can only be stripped of their benefits for treason or espionage. The new legislation, passed by a vote of 431-0 [roll …

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by Lisl Brunner

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday that he was unaware of a US offer to release Guantanamo Bay detainee Murat Kurnaz, a German-born Turk, to Germany in 2002 notwithstanding a finding by a committee of the European parliament investigating CIA activity in Europe that Germany refused the offer, extending Kurnaz' detention …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The US District Court for the District of Columbia Tuesday postponed the scheduled sentencing of former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford until February 27. Crawford previously pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of conflict of interest and false writing in …

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by Lisl Brunner

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has upheld a prior ruling to shut down the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, a small NGO that reported on human rights violations and disappearances in the Northern Caucasus. The group was first shut down in October after a lower court applied a controversial law [JURIST report; JURIST …

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by Lisl Brunner

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has upheld a prior ruling to shut down the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, a small NGO that reported on human rights violations and disappearances in the Northern Caucasus. The group was first shut down in October after a lower court applied a controversial law [JURIST report; JURIST …

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by Lisl Brunner

The Iraqi High Tribunal heard more tapes on Tuesday in which the voice of defendant Ali Hassan al-Majid vowed to "leave no Kurd who speaks the Kurd language" and to "wipe them out." The genocide trial of al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news …

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by Brett Murphy

A European Parliament (EP) special committee adopted a report Tuesday alleging that some EU nations knew about CIA activity in Europe including the existence of secret flights and CIA-operated secret prisons. The European Parliament committee on CIA activities in Europe (TDIP) concluded according to an EP press release …

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by Brett Murphy

Thirty Democratic members of the North Carolina General Assembly urged Gov. Mike Easley on Tuesday to implement an immediate suspension of all state executions until an investigation shows that the state's execution protocol meets constitutional standards so as not to amount to cruel and unusual punishment. State senators are also expected to …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The office of Israeli Attorney General Menahem Mazuz said Tuesday that there is enough evidence to indict Israeli President Moshe Katsav on various charges, including rape, sexual harassment, abuse of power and obstruction of justice. Formal charges, however, can only be made once a hearing is held in which Katsav will …

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by Brett Murphy

The trial of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby began Tuesday as the prosecution and defense attorneys delivered opening statements in the CIA leak case. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told the jury in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that when Libby was …

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by Brett Murphy

A military judge in Israel on Tuesday ordered the release of Imam Fawaz Damra, former leader of Ohio's largest mosque, the Islamic Center of Cleveland, claiming there was insufficient evidence to hold him. Damra's lawyer told AP that the release order came after the court refused to grant a prosecution request to extend his detention. Damra was …

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by Natalie Hrubos

Federal prosecutors have accused lawyers for alleged terrorist Jose Padilla of violating a protective order that bars distribution of sensitive documents after one of the lawyers admitted to leaking classified government wiretap transcripts to the New York Times, which lead to a January 4 report in the newspaper. The defense team has said the …

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by Natalie Hrubos

The UK Council of Circuit Judges which represents British judges in England and Wales has dismissed British government proposals designed to increase rape convictions in the country, which have hit a record low. The proposals advanced last spring include efforts to help jurors understand rape victims, such as using expert witnesses to …

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by Natalie Hrubos

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) Tuesday denied a request by Uruguay to force Argentina to put a stop to protestors blocking major roads and bridges between the two nations in an effort to halt Uruguay's construction of two paper mills along the river that separates the states. The court, …

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by Joe Shaulis

A coalition of businesses and environmental groups on Monday called for federal legislation to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In a letter to President Bush a day before his State of the Union Address, the US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) advocated a "cap and trade" system, in which …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The city council of Farmers Branch, Texas Monday unanimously approved revisions to a city ordinance requiring apartment renters to show proof of US residency and penalizing landlords who rent to illegal immigrants. The original ordinance was set to take effect earlier this month, but a judge issued a temporary restraining order after the Dallas …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The head of Catholic bishops in Italy Monday denounced a plan by the Italian government to give same-sex couples many of the rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. Cardinal Camillo Ruini spoke to a conference of Italian bishops and said same-sex unions went against the basic purpose of marriage - to produce children. The proposed …

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by Holly Manges Jones

US Army Col. Michael Steele has been formally reprimanded for giving improper orders to soldiers in Iraq, leading to the deaths of four unarmed Iraqi civilians near Samarra last May, according to recent reports by two US Defense Department officials. Military documents indicate that Steele, a subject of the book and movie Black Hawk Down, …

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