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Legal news from Thursday, August 16, 2007
by Leslie Schulman

US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on Thursday asked Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine to investigate potentially misleading or dishonest testimony given in previous hearings by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specifically, Leahy urged Fine to investigate:whether engaged in any misconduct, engaged in conduct inappropriate …

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by Leslie Schulman

A former Marine sergeant has been charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter for killing two Iraqi insurgents during the Multinational National Force-Iraq's November 2004 offensive in Fallujah, his lawyers said Thursday. Jose Nazario will be arraigned at the US District Court for the Central District of California. According to the charges, Nazario, who was …

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by Leslie Schulman

Personal notes by FBI Director Robert Mueller released Thursday reveal that former US Attorney General John Ashcroft was "feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed" when current Attorney General and then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales confronted him in his hospital room in March 2004 to obtain reauthorization of the warrantless domestic surveillance program. …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A federal jury found Jose Padilla and his two co-defendants guilty Thursday on all charges against them. Padilla, Adham Amin Hassoun, and Kifah Wael Jayyousi were convicted of conspiracy to commit illegal violent acts outside the US, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and providing material support to terrorists. They face a maximum …

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by Michael Sung

The lead counsel for former Liberian president Charles Taylor Wednesday urged the UN Security Council to lift its travel ban against individuals deemed to be threats to the peace process in Liberia, saying that the defense team needs to be able to present favorable witnesses before the Special Court …

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by Michael Sung

The government of the Netherlands is close to reaching an agreement with the United Nations to host the ad hoc tribunal that will investigate and try suspects involved in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Bart Rijs said Thursday. Rijs added that Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime …

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by Michael Sung

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani announced the formation of a new coalition government Thursday, formally signing an agreement with Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council leader Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq leader Massoud Barzani. The agreement between the Shi'a and Kurdish parties guarantees that the coalition government will …

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by Michael Sung

Hamas spokesperson Islam Shahwan said Thursday that Hamas security forces have arrested Palestinian Authority-appointed Attorney General Ahmed al-Mghani after al-Mghani ignored an order of dismissal from the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. According to Shahwan, al-Mghani entered the office of the attorney general after he was dismissed so that he could destroy documents. The judiciary in …

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by Michael Sung

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) Wednesday announced he would indefinitely block the confirmation process of CIA general counsel nominee John Rizzo, saying he had reservations due to Rizzo's failure to object to the controversial 2002 "Bybee Memo" and the continued lack of clear legal guidelines for the CIA's detention and interrogation programs. …

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by Michael Sung

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state can execute a defendant who begins to exhibit symptoms comparable with mental retardation after the age of 18. Under Tennessee's criminal code [Sec. 39-13-203 text], mental retardation is defined as a condition where an individual scores 70 or below on an IQ test, demonstrates "deficits in adaptive behavior," …

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by Michael Sung

The Canadian government under former Prime Minister Paul Martin and current Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly refused asylum requests from US officials on behalf of Chinese detainees held at detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, according to Canadian government documents obtained Wednesday by the Canadian Press. The 22 detainees, all ethnic Uighurs …

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by Michael Sung

Lawyers representing the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued in federal court Wednesday that national security letters (NSL) authorized under the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they act as a gag order without any judicial check. The ACLU, which brought the lawsuit on behalf …

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by Michael Sung

Lawyers representing the Bush administration argued for the dismissal of a class action lawsuit challenging the legality of the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program Wednesday, urging the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to give the executive branch's assertion of the state secrets privilege the "utmost deference" because the US is …

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by Michael Sung

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proposed comprehensive constitutional reforms Wednesday, asking the National Assembly to debate measures that will extend the presidential term from six to seven years, eliminate the limit on the number of terms a president may serve, bring the currently independent Central Bank under the control of the …

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