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Legal news from Thursday, January 22, 2009
by Bernard Hibbitts

Discharging key campaign pledges on his third day in office, US President Barack Obama expressly banned US use of torture in interrogations and directed the immediate shutdown of CIA detention facilities in a third executive order on US detention practices issued Thursday. Declaring its overall intent to improve the effectiveness of human intelligence gathering, to …

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by Caitlin Price

Turkish police on Thursday arrested approximately 30 more people, including eight army officers, nine policemen, and a union leader, in an investigation of an alleged plot to overthrow the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The latest arrests included journalist Unal Inanc, political polling analyst Erhan Goksel, Turkish …

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by Christian Ehret

A Chinese court on Thursday sentenced two people to death and several to life imprisonment for their involvement in the melamine-tainted milk scandal that sickened almost 300,000 children and killed at least six. Chairwoman of the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group Tian Wenhua pleaded guilty in December and received a …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

US President Barack Obama issued an executive order Thursday directing that the Guantanamo Bay military prison be closed "as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order." The order also instructed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to immediately halt military commission [DOD materials; JURIST news …

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by Safiya Boucaud

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Wednesday ruled that an Illinois state law requiring a moment of silence in public schools is unconstitutional. Judge Robert Gettleman held that the Illinois Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act, which requires state schools to observe a moment of silence …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday ended a decade-long battle by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to have the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 (COPA) declared constitutional by denying certiorari in the case of Mukasey v. ACLU [docket; cert. petition, PDF]. By denying review, the Court …

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by Christian Ehret

US President Barack Obama retook the presidential oath of office Wednesday, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, following minor mistakes the two made in the wording of the oath during Tuesday's inauguration ceremony. White House lawyer Greg Craig addressed the issue on Wednesday, maintaining that Obama …

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by Steve Czajkowski

The Supreme Court of Uganda on Wednesday ruled that the death penalty is not prohibited by Uganda's constitution because it does not constitute cruel and inhuman punishment. The decision comes on an appeal by over 400 inmates on death row of a 2005 ruling of the Constitutional Court that held …

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by Safiya Boucaud

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday issued the first executive orders of his presidency, focusing on White House ethics and transparency. The executive order on Presidential Records grants broader public access to the records of previous presidential administrations, reversing restrictions implemented by former President George W. Bush. The second executive order on Ethics Commitments by Executive …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

A military judge on Wednesday suspended for 120 days the military commission proceedings at Guantanamo Bay against five alleged 9/11 co-conspirators, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, granting a request by lawyers acting at the behest of President Barack Obama. In a separate …

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