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Legal news from Thursday, June 25, 2009
by Andrew Morgan

The Spanish Congress of Deputies voted 341-2 Thursday to limit use of the country's universal jurisdiction statute to those offenses committed by or against Spaniards, or where the perpetrators are in Spain. The nearly unanimous vote enjoyed support from the opposition Popular Party (PP) as well …

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by Christian Ehret

Iranian authorities arrested 70 members of the Islamic Association of University Teachers after they met with opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi on Wednesday, according to a statement on Mousavi's website. The professors met to discuss the recent unrest in the country and were reportedly arrested immediately after …

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by Andrew Morgan

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Thursday that the US detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib are "high-profile symbols" of a trend toward finding ways to circumvent the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT). In order to close the "Guantanamo chapter," Pillay said, remaining inmates "must either …

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by Christian Ehret

The US Senate began the impeachment trial process for Judge Samuel Kent Wednesday for alleged "high crimes and misdemeanors" after accepting the articles of impeachment from the US House of Representatives. Senate leaders established a bipartisan committee to prepare for the upcoming impeachment trial. The judge for the US …

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by Christian Ehret

US Attorney General Eric Holder urged sentencing reform for crack cocaine Wednesday, calling for a review of disparities between sentencing guidelines for powder and crack. Addressing a symposium on federal sentencing policy hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus and Harvard Law School's Race and Justice Institute, Holder said that a "thorough review" of …

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by Andrew Morgan

A Sudanese court on Wednesday convicted five men of the January 2008 murder of two US Agency for International Development (USAID) employees, sentencing four to death. Mohamed Makkawi Ibrahim Mohamed and Abdel Basit al-Hajj Hassan were found guilty of firing shots that killed USAID workers John Granville and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama while they were returning from a …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 5-4 in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts that a forensic analyst's laboratory report is testimonial evidence under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment, giving criminal defendants a right to cross-examine the analysts. The Massachusetts Appeals Court held [opinion, …

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by Christian Ehret

The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in Safford United School District #1 v. Redding that a strip search of a school student violated her Fourth Amendment rights but that school officials who conducted the search are protected from liability via qualified immunity. New Jersey v. T.L.O. …

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by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 5-4 in Atlantic Sounding v. Townsend that an injured seaman may recover punitive damages for the willful failure of his employer to pay a basic living allowance, wages that he otherwise would have earned, and benefits to cover medical expenses, …

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by Andrew Morgan

The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 5-4 in Horne v. Flores and Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives v. Flores that the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit erred in declining to modify an injunction requiring Arizona to provide sufficient funding for its …

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by Christian Ehret

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a Virginia law [Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-71.1] Wednesday that bans "partial birth" abortions, reversing previous rulings that found it unconstitutional. The appeals court initially affirmed the district court's ruling that the law was unconstitutional. Then, after the …

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by Andrew Morgan

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced indictments Wednesday against 53 health care providers and beneficiaries accused of submitting $50 million in fraudulent Medicare claims. The indictments, returned by a grand jury in Detroit, led to the arrest of suspects in Detroit, Miami, and Denver whom the government alleges billed the federal health …

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by Devin Montgomery

Shackling techniques used by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Shin Bet Security Agency (GSS) against Palestinian detainees are unjustifiably harsh and constitute torture, according to a report issued Wednesday by advocacy group Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. The group said that the IDF and GSS employ harsh shackling …

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by Devin Montgomery

Chinese authorities have charged prominent rights activist Liu Xiaobo with "inciting subversion of state power" according to a Wednesday report by the state-run Xinhua news agency. Liu, who spent two years in prison following the Tiananmen Square uprising, has long challenged China's one-party rule, and co-authored Charter 08 …

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