Legal news from Thursday, January 13, 2011

[JURIST] The number of free countries and electoral democracies dropped and the overall freedom in the Middle East and North Africa suffered for the fifth year, according to a report [text, PDF] released Thursday by the US-based rights group Freedom House [advocacy website]. The group's annual assessment, Freedom in the … [read more]

[JURIST] A US bankruptcy judge approved a historic settlement on Thursday with the estate of Jeffry Picower, a friend and investor of fraudulent financier Bernard Madoff [JURIST news archive]. As part of the approved settlement, Picower's widow, Barbara, has agreed to forfeit an unprecedented $7.2 billion to Trustee Irving Picard … [read more]

[JURIST] A New York State Supreme Court [official website] judge on Monday ruled [opinion, PDF] that the New York City Department of Education [official website] may release performance data on 12,000 city teachers. The order permits the Department of Education to comply with requests for Teacher Data Reports (TDRs) containing … [read more]

[JURIST] A California federal judge was appointed Thursday to hear the trial of Arizona shooting [NYT backgrounder] suspect Jared Loughner. Judge Alex Kozinski [official biography] of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] appointed Judge Larry Burns [Judgepedia profile] of the US District Court for … [read more]

[JURIST] The Italian Constitutional Court [official website, in Italian] on Thursday struck down portions of a law [matierials, in Italian] backed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] that would have granted Berlusconi and other public officials temporary immunity from charges while in office. The law, as … [read more]

[JURIST] Officials from the Ensco Offshore Company [official website] appeared in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [official website] on Wednesday in connection with a lawsuit [text, PDF] the company filed last year against the moratorium on issuing drilling permits. The moratorium was enacted after the … [read more]

[JURIST] Media magnate Conrad Black [CBC profile; JURIST news archive] returned to the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] Thursday for a status hearing before judge Amy St. Eve [official biography]. St. Eve will begin the process of deciding whether to free the Canadian-born newspaper … [read more]

[JURIST] The Associated Press (AP) [official website] and artist Shepard Fairey on Wednesday reached a settlement agreement [AP press release] on their opposing copyright infringement claims stemming from Fairey's unauthorized use of an AP photo of incumbent US President Barack Obama [official website]. Fairey's iconic red, white and blue artistic … [read more]

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