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Legal news from Thursday, March 18, 2010
by Zach Zagger

New Jersey same-sex couples who previously sued for marriage equality filed suit again Thursday seeking to legalize same-sex marriage. The case is being brought on behalf of six couples and the surviving partner of a seventh by Lambda Legal. They filed a motion in the Supreme Court of New Jersey …

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by Zach Zagger

Turkish police detained 20 people Thursday in connection with the alleged Ergenekon conspiracy to overthrow the Islamist-rooted government. Among those arrested are retired and active military officers, but the identities and ranks of the individuals have not been released. The arrests are part of an ongoing operation to investigate the Ergenekon conspiracy …

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by Sarah Miley

The Constitutional Court of Togo on Wednesday affirmed the election of incumbent President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe despite five suits alleging voter fraud filed by the opposition. The court held that the accusations made by the opposition were unsubstantiated. The final vote totals decided by the court gave …

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by Sarah Miley

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday affirmed the genocide conviction of popular Rwandan singer-songwriter Simon Bikindi. The charge was based on a speech Bikindi gave during the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which he called on Hutus to rise up …

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by Jonathan Cohen

Myanmar authorities on Thursday released jailed democracy activist Nyi Nyi Aung, ordering him to leave the country. Aung, a US citizen, had been sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted on fraud and forgery charges by a Myanmar court last month. Advocacy groups have argued …

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by Haley Wojdowski

The Hebei Province People's High Court in northern China on Wednesday upheld a life sentence for former vice president of China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) Huang Songyou. Huang was convicted in January of bribery and embezzlement, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Huang is the highest-ranking judge to be charged with …

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by Bhargav Katikaneni

The number of inmates in US state prisons has dropped for the first time in 40 years, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Center on the States. Led by California and Michigan, the state prison population decreased by 0.4 percent during 2009. Because of a slight increase in the federal system, the total …

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by Bhargav Katikaneni

The US Senate unanimously passed legislation Wednesday to reduce sentencing disparities for powder and crack cocaine offenses. The Fair Sentencing Act, introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), would amend existing law to reduce the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine convictions from 100:1 to 18:1. Durbin, who …

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by Andrea Bottorff

Idaho Governor CL "Butch" Otter (R) on Wednesday became the first governor to sign a bill into state law banning any federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance. The Idaho Health Freedom Act orders the state attorney general to file a lawsuit against the national government over any law making health insurance mandatory. …

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by Matt Glenn

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released its Annual Report on Human Rights 2009 Wednesday, noting the increasing demand for human rights by citizens throughout the world. The report also cited the contrasting argument by some governments that human rights are merely a Western construct that are unnecessary or inappropriate in certain countries. Introducing …

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by Matt Glenn

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Wednesday that a Pennsylvania prosecutor cannot file child pornography charges against a teenage girl whose topless photo was found on a number of her schoolmates' cell phones, upholding a preliminary injunction. Wyoming County prosecutor George Skumanick threatened to bring felony charges against several students who …

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