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Legal news from Wednesday, March 4, 2009
by Lucas Tanglen

Italy formally agreed to abolish the death penalty for all purposes by ratifying Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, the Council of Europe (COE) announced Tuesday. Italy is the 41st of the COE's 47 member states to adopt the provision, following France, which adopted it in 2007. The …

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by Lucas Tanglen

Chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-VT) called for the creation of a truth commission to investigate the national security policies of the George W. Bush administration at a hearing Wednesday. Leahy said a nonpartisan inquiry "could focus on the …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two criminal procedure cases Wednesday. In Abuelhawa v. United States the Court heard arguments on whether a defendant who used a cellphone for the misdemeanor purchase of cocaine can be charged with a felony for using a "communication …

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by Devin Montgomery

Sudan and other African countries on Wednesday criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) for issuing an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, while Sudan's opposition leaders, the UN, and various Western countries urged Bashir's government to cooperate with court. In Sudan, Information and Communication Minister Kamal …

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by Kayleigh Shebs

A court under the European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) reached its first verdict Tuesday, sentencing Kosovo Albanian Gani Gashi to 17 years in jail for murder, attempted murder, and grievous bodily harm. A three-judge panel, composed of two EULEX judges and a judge from Kosovo, found Gashi guilty [Reuters …

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by Kayleigh Shebs

The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany on Tuesday ruled that the use of electronic voting machines in elections is unconstitutional. The ruling comes after a challenge to the use of the machines in the 2005 Bundestag election. Plaintiffs had argued that electronically counted votes could easily be tampered …

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by Caitlin Price

The US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Wednesday in Wyeth v. Levine that the drug labeling requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) do not preempt state products liability laws. The case was initiated by a Vermont woman who brought a negligence and failure-to-warn …

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by Jay Carmella

The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled Tuesday that the parents of a 23 year-old, who donated semen prior to his death from cancer in 1998, were not entitled to possession of the specimens. Mary and Antonio Speranza sought their son Mark's semen specimens, which he donated in 1997 so that he could …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese head of state Omar al-Bashir, charging him with seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but declining to charge him with genocide. The controversial arrest warrant …

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by Jay Carmella

The Zimbabwean attorney general's office on Wednesday appealed to the nation's Supreme Court a Tuesday High Court ruling ordering the release of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party treasurer general and cabinet member-designate Roy Bennett. Bennett faces charges under Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act for "attempting to commit terrorism, banditry and sabotage." …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Preliminary hearings began Tuesday in the new trial of former Russian oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky in a Moscow courtroom. Khodorkovsky and his former business partner Platon Lebedev are facing new charges of embezzling and laundering nearly $20 billion during their tenures at the Russian energy firm OAO Yukos Oil Co. …

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by Andrew Gilmore

A group of Massachusetts plaintiffs who are or have been married under the state's same-sex marriage law filed a lawsuit against the US federal government Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The plaintiffs in the …

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by Safiya Boucaud

Former Bosnian Serb leader and war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic refused to enter pleas on Tuesday to 11 amended charges including genocide and crimes against humanity in a hearing before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Last month, the ICTY granted in part the prosecution's …

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