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Legal news from Wednesday, February 28, 2007
by Stefanie Presley

Lawmakers in Connecticut's House of Representatives have introduced a health care reform bill aimed at providing coverage to the state's uninsured. The initiative introduced Tuesday positions Connecticut within the growing ranks of states that have recently proposed health care reform plans for their poor and uninsured residents. Massachusetts became the first state to require health care …

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by Leslie Schulman

David Iglesias, former US Attorney for the District of New Mexico, told reporters Wednesday that he received two phone calls in October from federal lawmakers pressuring him to speed up indictments of local Democrats under investigation for a kickback scheme in time for the November elections. Iglesias and six other US Attorneys, …

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by Leslie Schulman

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has rejected a plan by the US military to construct a $100 million courthouse at Guantanamo Bay. The complex proposed last October, would have included three new courtrooms, a new high-security area for detainees awaiting trial, and other adjunct facilities. The compound would have …

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by Jaime Jansen

US District Judge Marcia Cooke ruled Wednesday that alleged terrorist Jose Padilla is competent to stand trial, rejecting defense arguments that he often cannot assist his attorneys because he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to nearly four years of incarceration in a military brig. Cooke noted that Padilla …

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by Jaime Jansen

Hawaii legislators have shelved a proposal to create civil unions for same-sex couples, indicating that the state legislature did not have enough votes to pass the law. The state House Judiciary Committee declined to vote on the proposal after hours of testimony Tuesday without explaining the reasons for deferring debate. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US State Department Legal Advisor John Bellinger told reporters in Brussels Wednesday that European investigations into allegations of CIA misconduct in Europe may dampen intelligence sharing efforts between the US and European countries. He also said that allegations of torture by the CIA are unsupported by hard evidence. AP has more.Earlier this month, the European …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, 06-157, where the court must decide whether taxpayers have standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge federal support for "faith-based" religious initiatives. The Freedom from Religion Foundation …

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by Katerina Ossenova

US Department of State Legal Adviser John Bellinger said Wednesday the US will not honor any request by Italy to extradite CIA agents wanted for their alleged role in the February 17, 2003 abduction and extraordinary rendition of alleged terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr [Wikipedia profile; …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, who won a confidence vote in the Italian Senate Wednesday after losing a key vote on a foreign policy issue last week, has asked senators to strike down an unfavorable election law that was enacted by predecessor Silvio Berlusconi prior to the contested Senate elections [JURIST …

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by Katerina Ossenova

The Law Lords, the judicial panel of the UK House of Lords which is Britain's highest court, Wednesday dismissed an appeal by a suspect in the 2004 Madrid bombings contesting his extradition to Spain. Moutaz Almallah Dabas, a Syrian-born Spanish citizen, was arrested in London in March 2005 for his …

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by Joshua Pantesco

US District Judge George B. Daniels on Tuesday approved a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit brought by Holocaust survivors against Italian insurance company Assicurazioni Generali. Under the terms of the settlement, the insurance company will accept new claims until March 31, 2008. The deadline might be extended to August 31, …

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by Joshua Pantesco

Two Guantamano Bay detainees petitioned the US Supreme Court Tuesday to expedite its review of the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA), which contains a "court-stripping" provision that prevents federal courts from hearing habeas challenges. The motion to expedite filed by joint appellants Salim Ahmed Hamdan and Omar Khadr [Trial Watch …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The former general counsel for computer security company McAfee was indicted Tuesday by the Department of Justice for concealing an illegal stock option backdating scheme. The DOJ charged Kent Roberts with six counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and filing false SEC documents. The indictment alleged that as part of the scheme to defraud McAfee …

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by Jaime Jansen

The FBI has started investigating 10-12 civil rights era suspicious death cases, according to FBI Director Robert Mueller and US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Tuesday. Although officials declined to comment on which cases have been re-opened, they did confirm that the lynching of four sharecroppers in 1946 on Moore's Ford Bridge in …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a complaint Tuesday against the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking the release of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) order that authorized government surveillance of transmissions coming into or going outside of the country where one party was suspected of association with a terrorist organization. The EFF filed their …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Supreme Court of Mexico released a decision Tuesday overturning a law that banned those with HIV from serving in the military, finding the law an unconstitutional infringement on principles of equality. The military may now only expel soldiers if a doctor certifies that their condition prevents them from performing their duties. Tuesday's decision immediately reinstates four …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that its earlier decision in Crawford v. Washington, which established that out-of-court statements are inadmissible unless the witness is unavailable and the defendant has an opportunity to cross-examine her, does not apply retroactively. In Whorton v. Bockting, …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held Tuesday that the Bush administration is permitted to deny funding to nonprofit AIDS awareness and advocacy groups that fail to publicly advocate against sex trafficking and prostitution. Judge A. Raymond Randolf held that the First Amendment rights of AIDS groups are not diminished …

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by Brett Murphy

The White House said Tuesday that President Bush will veto a new anti-terror bill [S.4 summary] if it contains a provision which would allow Transportation Security Administration airport screeners to unionize. While other federal employees already have similar union abilities, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that allowing screeners to do so is against the best interest …

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by Brett Murphy

The Catholic Diocese of San Diego filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday putting a stop to an upcoming sex abuse trial and becoming the largest US diocese to file for bankruptcy thus far. The diocese had been engaged in settlement talks with plaintiffs' attorneys in the lawsuits over clergy abuse, however, …

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