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Legal news from Wednesday, June 25, 2008
by Andrew Gilmore

A UK High Court dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday that sought to force the government to put the ratification of the new EU reform treaty, known as the Treaty of Lisbon, to a public vote. Influential UK Conservative Party donor Stuart Wheeler launched a legal bid to force a …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Wednesday rejected an appeal of Canadian-born financier and former media mogul Conrad Black. Convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice in 2007, Black was sentenced to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay $125,000 and forfeit another $1 …

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by Deirdre Jurand

The Supreme Court of Missouri ruled Tuesday that four physicians associations do not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of a state law that legalizes midwifery [American College of Nurse-Midwifes backgrounder]. The Missouri legislature passed the provision last year as part of a larger health insurance reform act. The Missouri State Medical …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, presidential candidate of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Wednesday called for the United Nations and African leaders to lead a settlement process aimed at ending the ongoing violent political crisis in Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai's comments came at a press conference held during a temporary departure [Radio Netherlands …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A Polish appellate court Tuesday overturned the conviction of one riot police officer found guilty for the shooting deaths of nine coal miners during a 1981 protest, but affirmed the convictions of 14 other officers convicted in relation to the same incident. The coal miners were protesting the imposition of martial law and the jailing of …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The US Supreme Court handed down four decisions Wednesday, including Exxon v. Baker, in which the Court ruled 5-3 to reduce a punitive damages award to be paid by Exxon Mobil for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill from $2.5 billion to $500 million. Exxon …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The Italian Senate, the upper house of the country's parliament, approved public safety legislation Wednesday containing provisions to suspend older trials for nonviolent crimes, including corruption proceedings against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi told the Senate in a letter [text, in …

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by Devin Montgomery

Russian police have committed serious rights abuses against suspected rebel militants from Ingushetia, including abductions, torture, and killings, according to a Wednesday report by Human Rights Watch (HRW). HRW alleged that Russia has failed to hold government agents accountable for abuses and compared Russian tactics against suspected …

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by Devin Montgomery

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) Tuesday announced plans to complete operations a year early and to significantly reduced its budget.  Earlier this year the court announced plans to operate until 2011, but has been unable to raise the funds necessary to support the plan. The court said that it would still …

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by Deirdre Jurand

UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw Tuesday held emergency meetings with members of Parliament to discuss possible legislation that would expressly allow anonymous witnesses to testify at some trials.  The recently adopted judicial practice was challenged last week by a Law Lords ruling [Regina v. Davis text, PDF] that it may deny defendants' right to meaningfully challenge the …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to delay a by-election scheduled for Thursday in the district of the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and ex-Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif until the court rules on an appeal of a lower court ruling that barred Sharif …

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