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Legal news from Tuesday, March 27, 2007
by Alexis Unkovic

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in the case of Credit Suisse Securities v. Billing, 05-1157, a case in which investors filed a class action lawsuit against underwriters and institutional investors for their alleged manipulation of initial public offerings. The question presented was whether …

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by Ryan Olden

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted Tuesday to reject proposed legislation which would have effectively ended the death penalty in the state. Had it passed, the proposed law would have set the maximum penalty for capital crimes at life in prison without parole. The debate was emotionally charged by the …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The US District Court for the Central District of California began jury selection Tuesday in the espionage trial of Chi Mak, a Chinese-American engineer charged with conspiring to smuggle sensitive naval intelligence data to China. The US government indicted Mak in November 2005 for both acting as, and failing …

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by Ryan Olden

The Iowa Senate on Tuesday passed SF427, extending the state's civil rights protections to gay and lesbians. The controversial legislation would officially add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of groups protected from discrimination in Iowa. The bill now moves to the Iowa House of Representatives, where if passed, it would complement legislation passed …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) Tuesday criticized the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) for its terrorist watchlist containing more than 6,000 names. A new LCCR report entitled "The OFAC List: How a Treasury Department Terrorist Watchlist Ensnares Everyday Consumers," said the …

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by Lisl Brunner

The late former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is under investigation for possibly ordering the murder of former Chilean President Eduardo Frei Montalva in 1982. Although Pinochet died of a heart attack in December, an investigation is underway to determine whether he directed state officials to poison Montalva with mustard gas. …

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by Lisl Brunner

The US District Court for the District of Columbia Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for authorizing torture and abuse of detainees by US personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. The suit asserted that Rumsfeld bears direct responsibility for detainee abuse and that his actions …

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by Lisl Brunner

Kosovan Prime Minister Agim Ceku Tuesday urged Serbs to accept a UN plan to have Kosovo govern itself as an autonomous, multi-ethnic society. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica responded that Kosovo "could never be independent" and calling the plan "an act of legal violence." The plan was narrowly rejected by the Serbian Parliament …

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by Katerina Ossenova

Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Italy launched simultaneous raids on Tuesday in a massive anti-corruption investigation involving European public servants. Over 150 police officers took part in over 30 raids of homes, businesses and banking offices, as well as the European Commission and the European Parliament in Brussels. The investigation is focused on whether European civil servants and …

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by Brett Murphy

The US Supreme Court handed down decisions in two cases Tuesday, including Rockwell International v. US ex rel. Stone where the Court held that individuals must be able to show that they are the "original source" of information concerning the fraudulent use of federal funds in order bring suit against …

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by Katerina Ossenova

A French appeals court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of French state railway company SNCF for the deportation of two Jewish men during World War II. An administrative court in Toulouse convicted SNCF last June. The lawsuit was brought by the family of European Parliament MEP Alain Lipietz, whose father …

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by Brett Murphy

FBI Director Robert Mueller asserted Tuesday that the agency is able to properly use the surveillance powers granted it under the Patriot Act, telling senators at a US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that a compliance program has been implemented to police the use of National Security Letters (NSL) …

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by Katerina Ossenova

An Illinois jury sided with Merck & Co. Tuesday in the latest Vioxx litigation, holding that the painkiller was not the cause of the 2003 death of 52-year-old Patty Schwaller. Schwaller's husband claimed that Vioxx contributed to his wife's fatal heart attack and that Merck failed to adequately warn doctors and consumers …

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by Natalie Hrubos

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani announced plans Tuesday to present new legislation to the Iraqi National Assembly in upcoming weeks that would allow most members of Saddam Hussein's now-defunct Baath Party to be reinstated to public life. Under the new law, the …

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by Natalie Hrubos

Rights violations being committed in Central Asia are comparable to abuses perpetrated in the former Soviet Union, according the annual report released Tuesday by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF). The IHF was particularly critical of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. According to the report, problems in those countries include government …

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by Joe Shaulis

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) has proposed amending a bill requiring girls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer, to allow parents to opt out of the mandate more easily. Kaine announced his recommendation Monday rather than sign the bill, as he had pledged …

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by Holly Manges Jones

The Egyptian government said Tuesday that voters overwhelmingly approved 34 amendments to the country's constitution despite low voter turnout in the referendum overall. Egyptian Justice Minister Mamdouh Marei said that almost 76 percent of those voting cast their ballot in favor of the amendments but only 27 percent of Egyptians actually showed up to …

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by Holly Manges Jones

A senior aide of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has said that she will assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination rather than testify regarding the events surrounding the firing of eight US Attorneys. Monica Goodling, the US Justice Department's liaison to the White House, was one of the aides who …

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by Holly Manges Jones

Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks may be sentenced this week after pleading guilty Monday to a charge of supporting terrorism and could return home to serve his sentence by the end of the year, according to US military officials. Col. Ralph Kohlmann, the judge presiding over Hicks' military commission [JURIST news …

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