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Legal news from Tuesday, February 20, 2007
by Alexis Unkovic

The French Cour de Cassation 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 parent must give up their legal entitlement to the child. …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Claiborne v. United States, a case that could impact sentencing guidelines across the country. Mario Claiborne was sentenced to 15 months in jail and three years probation for possessing and distributing cocaine. The federal sentencing guidelines suggest …

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by Ryan Olden

A Nigerian appeals court ruled on Tuesday that Vice President Atiku Abubakar could not legally be stripped of his office after his break with President Olusegun Obasanjo. The pair were elected in 1999 at the end of an oppressive military regime, but Abubakar was accused of corruption and forced from the party after …

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by Ryan Olden

The Kansas House of Representatives on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a bill 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 and then move on to the state senate …

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by Lisl Brunner

A military court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has found thirteen soldiers guilty of murdering 30 civilians in the Ituri district. The thirteen were sentenced Monday to life in prison, according to UN sources. Witnesses said the soldiers abducted the civilians and forced them to perform labor; in November …

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by Lisl Brunner

The prime ministers of Spain and Italy have pledged to support Germany in reviving the European Constitution. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, whose countries both ratified the Constitution, made the announcement Tuesday after an annual summit on the island of …

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by Lisl Brunner

The Sacramento County Superior Court Tuesday struck down a plan by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger 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 issued by Schwarzenegger in October violated the California Emergency Services Act …

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by Brett Murphy

Lawyers made their final arguments in the perjury trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby 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 cover up a potentially illegal intelligence leak. In response, the …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The French parliament voted Monday to amend the French Constitution to include an explicit ban on the death penalty. In a special joint session of both the National Assembly and the Senate at the Palace of Versailles, the amendment passed with a vote of 828-26. …

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by Brett Murphy

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 by US Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn A. Fine released Tuesday. In a report on terrorism-related incidents and case-loads, the inspector general found that "some of these statistics were significantly overstated …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Supreme Court 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 an appeal of a Second Circuit decision [PDF text; JURIST …

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by Katerina Ossenova

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 in February 2006 of receiving money from an al Qaeda associate. Joseph Terrence "Jihad Jack" Thomas successfully appealed the conviction in August 2006, but …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled Tuesday that provisions in the Military Commissions Act stripping foreign nationals held as "enemy combatants" of the right to file habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions do not violate the Suspension Clause [Art. I, §9, cl.2 text] of the US Constitution. The …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court handed down decisions in three cases Tuesday, including Philip Morris USA v. Williams, where the Court overturned a $79.5 million punitive damages verdict against Philip Morris USA. The Oregon Supreme Court last year upheld a jury award of nearly $80 million [opinion …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Meshrano Jirga, the upper house of the Afghanistan parliament, 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 country's civil war. Both houses of parliament are …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Authorities in Bangladesh 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, said the list will include former ministers of the Bangladesh government, politicians, businessmen, and bureaucrats. …

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