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Legal news from Monday, December 10, 2007
by Mike Rosen-Molina

The New Jersey Senate Monday voted 21-16 to pass a bill that would abolish the death penalty in the state and replace capital punishment with life in prison. The New Jersey Assembly is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday, and proponents of the legislation hope it will pass …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The judge presiding over the embezzlement proceedings against relatives of the late former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet stepped down from the case Monday after the defendants' lawyers accused him of bias. The Santiago Court of Appeals has not yet decided whether it will accept Judge Carlos Cerda's recusal. The accusations of bias stem from …

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by Leslie Schulman

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of human rights abuses for allegedly ordering the 1992 murder of 25 people, including a professor and nine students at the so-called La Cantuta massacre at Lima's La Cantuta University. If convicted, Fujimori could be sentenced to up to 30 years in …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

South African Archbishop and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu Monday criticized the United States and Great Britain for detaining terror suspects without trial, describing the practice as "a huge blot on democracy". He expressed surprise at the ease with which people had accepted government assertions that the indefinite detention of suspects at Guantanamo Bay was …

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by Leslie Schulman

The Iraqi government is mulling pardons for several thousand convicted insurgents, Iraqi government officials said Monday. A committee is being formed to draw up guidelines for issuing the pardons, including which offenses would be eligible for pardons and whether parliamentary approval would be required; a Sunni official from the office of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani noted that …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who is standing before a military trial in Egypt on money laundering and terror charges, Monday denounced the proceedings against him as a "farce." Deputy guide for the Brotherhood Khairat al-Shatir was among those Muslim Brotherhood members first arrested in a raid last December. …

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by Leslie Schulman

Canadian-born financier and former media mogul Conrad Black was sentenced in a US federal court in Chicago Monday to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay $125,000 and forfeit another $1 million for his July conviction on mail fraud and obstruction of justice charges. Former Hollinger executives and Black co-defendants John …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A German state court in Hesse on Monday upheld a ban on religious headscarves for public school teachers and civil servants. The government in Hesse, which includes Frankfurt, passed the headscarf ban in 2004. The ban includes other items of clothing which could be seen as religious or political, but has an exemption for …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A defense lawyer for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby said Monday that the former vice presidential chief of staff will drop his appeal of his conviction in the CIA leak case. Libby was convicted in March of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection to the investigation into the leak …

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by Jaime Jansen

Thousands of lawyers and judges in Turkey protested a new law Sunday that they believe will undermine judicial independence by changing the appointment process for judges and prosecutors. The new law requires a justice ministry interview as part of the appointment process, which critics believe will politicize the selection process. Protesters also condemned Turkish President Abdullah …

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by Jaime Jansen

A majority of members of the Bolivian Constitutional Assembly on Sunday approved a new draft constitution Sunday, despite a boycott by members of the main opposition party. Only 153 of 255 assembly members voted in favor of the new constitution, falling short of the two-thirds majority the opposition says is necessary to approve changes …

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by Jeannie Shawl

The US Supreme Court handed down decisions in three cases Monday, including Kimbrough v. United States, where the Court overturned a federal appeals court ruling on whether a federal judge has discretion to sentence a defendant to a prison term less than what is recommended by federal guidelines …

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by Jaime Jansen

A Canadian jury convicted Robert William Pickton Sunday of second degree murder for the deaths of six women in the 1990s. He was found not guilty of first degree murder, with the jury concluding that the killings were not planned. Pickton, accused of murdering 26 women he had lured from Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside, …

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by Bernard Hibbitts

Three new judges were appointed to the reconstituted Supreme Court of Pakistan Monday, bringing the regular membership of the court up to 14, including Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar. Pakistan's Law Ministry said in a statement that the new judges are Justice Mian Hamid Farooq and Justice Syed Sakhi Hussain Bokhari of the Lahore High Court and …

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by Jeannie Shawl

Lawyers for several detainees at Guantanamo Bay filed an emergency motion Sunday asking a federal judge to look into the CIA's destruction of videotapes showing the interrogations of terror suspects. CIA Director Michael Hayden acknowledged last week that the CIA had videotaped the interrogation of two suspects in 2002, but said that the …

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by Jeannie Shawl

A Chadian judge has determined that 10 defendants will stand trial in criminal court in connection with the abortive effort by French charity Zoe's Ark to airlift so-called "Darfur orphans" out of Chad, a lawyer told AFP Monday. The investigative judge said that six French Zoe's Ark workers should be …

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