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Legal news from Wednesday, August 8, 2012
by Sung Un Kim

The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany on Wednesday ruled that homosexual couples in a civil union should receive the same tax benefits as heterosexual married couples. The court held that with regard to land transfer tax, gay couples should enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples and further noted …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Tuesday that private security contractors Blackwater, now known as Academi, agreed to settle several federal criminal charges dealing with export and firearm violations. Academi agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine. The company also agreed to acknowledge a statement of facts [text, …

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by Sung Un Kim

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Wednesday signed into law a bill that makes Russian the official language in parts of former Soviet republic within the country. Opponents of the bill heavily criticized the move, condemning the bill as a crime against the state. Politicians opposing the new language bill such as Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging a new Puerto Rican law that limits the rights of protesters in the commonwealth. The new law, approved by Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuno last week, bans certain kinds of protests and includes penalties of up to three years in prison for some violations. The …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

A federal judge on Monday issued a temporary injunction barring enforcement of a Florida statute that prevents minors from donating more than $100 to any political candidate or committee within an election period. Under the law, adults are allowed to contribute up to $500 per election. The lawsuit was brought by Julie Towbin, a 17-year-old Florida …

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by Sung Un Kim

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday denied an application to stay the Texas execution of a man with in IQ of 61. Justice Antonin Scalia refused the challenge brought by Marvin Wilson who claimed that his execution is unconstitutional under the 2002 ruling in Atkins v. Virginia, which prohibits the execution …

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by Sung Un Kim

The US Court for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday reversed a lower court's decision in favor of an Oregon-based Islamic nonprofit corporation challenging the Bush administration's warrantless wiretap program. The US District Court for the Northern District of California held that the federal government implicitly waived sovereign immunity under Section 1810 of the …

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by Sung Un Kim

A Canadian federal court judge on Tuesday ordered a judicial review of the nation's prison grievance system. Justice Anne Mactavish for the Federal Court of Canada held that the backlog in the grievance system is contributing to the increased violence and tension in the nation's prisons. The case arose when Michael Spidal, an inmate in …

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by Sung Un Kim

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday ordered Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to appear before the court by the end of this month to explain his refusal to reopen the investigation into corruption allegations against President Asif Ali Zardari. Ashraf may also face contempt of court proceedings like his predecessor Yousuf Raza …

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by Rebecca DiLeonardo

A Russian court on Wednesday reduced the sentence of the former business partner of jailed Russian oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Platon Lebedev has been incarcerated since 2003 for various charges associated with his business partnership with Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are each serving prison sentences for fraud, theft and …

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by Brandon Gatto

The man charged with killing six people and wounding 13 others in the January 2011 Tucson shooting pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the US District Court for the Southern District of California shortly after Judge Larry Alan Burns declared him mentally competent to stand trial. The defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, admitted …

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