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Legal news from Thursday, June 30, 2011
by Maureen Cosgrove

US Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that he would continue investigating the deaths of two detainees who died during interrogations by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Former attorney general Michael Mukasey had appointed Assistant United States Attorney John Durham in 2008 to conduct a criminal investigation into the destruction of 92 interrogation …

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by Chris Morris

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday upheld a 2008 decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list polar bears as "threatened" on the endangered species list because of melting polar ice caps caused by global warming. Environmental groups and the …

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by Julia Zebley

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Thursday rejected a motion by Google to dismiss class-action lawsuits under wiretapping laws. Judge James Ware denied Google's argument that when they collected information while creating their Street View feature, the information was freely and …

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by Julia Zebley

The US Sentencing Commission (USSC) voted unanimously on Thursday to implement the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act, which brings the sentences for crack cocaine more in line for those of powder cocaine. The retroactive sentencing will go into effect with the law on November 1, unless Congress acts to …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday declared that it would hear an appeal of convicted terrorist Mohammed Momin Khawaja. The high court granted an application for leave to appeal filed by Khawaja challenging the life sentence imposed by the Ontario Court of Appeals. Khawaja, the first person …

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by Chris Morris

Samsung Electronics filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on Tuesday seeking to prevent Apple from importing iPads and iPhones. Samsung claims Apple has violated five patents related to smartphones and tablets. Samsung also filed a patent infringement suit …

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by Julia Zebley

The US Senate passed the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act by 79-20 on Wednesday. The bill exempts 170 minor executive posts and 2,800 posts in the US Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Officer Corps from requiring congressional confirmation. The bill also lessens the paperwork requirement for any nominee, streamlining the …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui was indicted on Thursday on charges of money laundering and embezzling money from a secret diplomatic fund. Lee and a top aide, Liu Tai-ying, were charged with embezzling $7.79 million from a National Security Bureau fund to set up a think tank, Taiwan Research Institute. Prosecutors …

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by Zach Zagger

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida struck down a campaign finance law providing matching funds for campaigns choosing to use public financing. The decision closely follows the recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision issued earlier this week in Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom Club PAC v. …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

Former Khmer Rouge head of state, Khieu Samphan, on Thursday promised to reveal information about of the communist Khmer Rouge regime that governed Cambodia during the 1970s. Samphan told the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) that he would cooperate with the tribunal [AP …

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by Chris Morris

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay criticized China on Thursday for welcoming Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir rather than arresting him to stand trial. Al-Bashir has been accused of crimes against humanity and genocide against Darfur tribal groups. Upon news of a scheduled visit …

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by Julia Zebley

The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on Thursday released to Lebanese authorities an indictment with four arrest warrants in relation to the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. The warrants were issued for Mustafa Badreddine, Salim al-Ayyash, Hasan Aineysseh and Asad Sabra, who are alleged …

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by Chris Morris

The Rhode Island Senate on Wednesday approved a same-sex civil union bill by a vote of 21-16. The bill [2011 - H6103, PDF] is identical to a version of the bill passed in the House of Representatives, and Governor Lincoln Chafee is expected to sign the bill into law. Modeled after …

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by Zach Zagger

The New Jersey Legislature Tuesday passed a bill to completely ban hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a controversial technique used to release natural shale gas. The Senate passed the bill 33-1 and then it passed the Assembly later in the day 58-11 with 8 abstentions. The bill now goes to New Jersey Governor …

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by Julia Zebley

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday contesting a bankruptcy court ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. DOMA is a federal law barring same-sex marriage, even …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

The Chinese government has implemented measures aimed at suppressing lawyers pursuing human rights cases, Amnesty International (AI) reported Thursday. The report, entitled "Against the Law: Crackdown on China's Human Rights Lawyers Deepens," presents evidence that human rights lawyers have increasingly had their licenses revoked or suspended and have faced harassment and torture in …

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by Erin Bock

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Wednesday found the individual mandate provision of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) constitutional. The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), joined by four individuals, challenged the individual mandate provision of PPACA, arguing that it …

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