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Legal news from Tuesday, February 20, 2007

[JURIST] The French Cour de Cassation [official website, in French] appeals court ruled Tuesday that French law precluded a woman from legally adopting her lesbian partner's biological child, who was conceived through artificial insemination. The court held that such adoption was impermissible because when a child is adopted, its biological … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Wednesday in Claiborne v. United States [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], a case that could impact sentencing guidelines across the country. Mario Claiborne was sentenced to 15 months in jail and three years probation … [read more]

[JURIST] A Nigerian appeals court ruled on Tuesday that Vice President Atiku Abubakar [official profile] could not legally be stripped of his office after his break with President Olusegun Obasanjo [official profile]. The pair were elected in 1999 at the end of an oppressive military regime, but Abubakar was accused … [read more]

[JURIST] The Kansas House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a bill [text, PDF] making English the state's "official" language. The legislation passed 118-2, after it was amended to provide $500,000 to help adult immigrants learn English. It is expected to receive final approval on Wednesday … [read more]

[JURIST] A military court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [JURIST news archive] has found thirteen soldiers guilty of murdering 30 civilians in the Ituri district [Human Rights Watch backgrounder]. The thirteen were sentenced Monday to life in prison, according to UN sources. Witnesses said the soldiers abducted … [read more]

[JURIST] The prime ministers of Spain and Italy have pledged to support Germany in reviving the European Constitution [JURIST news archives]. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero [official website, in Spanish; BBC profile] and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official website], whose countries both ratified the Constitution, made the … [read more]

[JURIST] The Sacramento County Superior Court [official website] Tuesday struck down a plan by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [official website; JURIST news archive] to transfer prisoners to private out-of-state facilities in order to reduce prison overcrowding. The ruling by Judge Gail Ohanesian held that an emergency declaration [JURIST report] issued … [read more]

[JURIST] Lawyers made their final arguments in the perjury trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense website; JURIST news archive] Tuesday, with the defense arguing that Libby was a scapegoat for presidential aide Karl Rove's disclosures. In its final remarks, the prosecution argued that Libby was merely trying to a … [read more]

[JURIST] The French parliament [official website, in French] voted Monday to amend the French Constitution [text] to include an explicit ban on the death penalty. In a special joint session of both the National Assembly and the Senate [official websites, in French] at the Palace of Versailles, the amendment [text, … [read more]

[JURIST] Federal investigators and prosecutors fudged data on the number of anti-terrorism investigations and cases for the four years after 9/11, according to an audit [PDF] by US Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn A. Fine [official profile] released Tuesday. In a report on terrorism-related incidents and case-loads, the inspector … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] agreed to hear two cases Tuesday, including one dealing with the procedure the state of New York employs to choose trial judges. In NY Board of Elections v. Torres, state election officials join both the Democratic and Republican parties in … [read more]

[JURIST] Lawyers for the Australian government argued that control orders do not violate the country's constitution during a Tuesday court hearing in the case of an Australian man convicted [JURIST report] in February 2006 of receiving money from an al Qaeda associate. Joseph Terrence "Jihad Jack" Thomas [advocacy website] successfully … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled [PDF text] Tuesday that provisions in the Military Commissions Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive] stripping foreign nationals held as "enemy combatants" of the right to file habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions do not violate the Suspension Clause … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] handed down decisions in three cases Tuesday, including Philip Morris USA v. Williams [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], where the Court overturned a $79.5 million punitive damages verdict against Philip Morris USA [corporate website]. The Oregon Supreme Court last … [read more]

[JURIST] The Meshrano Jirga [Wikipedia backgrounder], the upper house of the Afghanistan parliament [IRIN backgrounder], Tuesday approved a resolution calling for amnesty from war crimes prosecution for leaders of the Afghan mujahedeen resistance who fought against Soviet forces in the 1980s and later engaged in murder and torture during the … [read more]

[JURIST] Authorities in Bangladesh [JURIST news archive] plan to publish a list of several hundred people who are suspected of graft, following the Sunday arrests of 50 high-profile suspects, according to a government official. Delowar Hossain, secretary of the Anti-Corruption Commission [LCG backgrounder; BBC report], said the list will include … [read more]

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