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Legal news from Friday, February 22, 2013
by Jaclyn Clifford

Puerto Rico's Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a law banning same-sex couples from adopting children. The case was brought by a woman who wanted to adopt the child of her partner of 20 years. In a 5-4 judgment, the court upheld the constitutionality of a law making it legally impossible for …

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by Elizabeth LaForgia

Germany's parliament approved a new election law Thursday that will help the small political parties gain legislative seats. Germany uses a mixed-member proportional representation voting system which has voters cast two ballots, one for a constituent and one for a party. When a party wins more constituent …

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by Sydney Normil

Thirteen Egyptian human rights organizations on Wednesday alleged that Egypt's Ministry of Interior is responsible for police brutality and the deaths of protesters that have occurred since January 25. The report said the recent crimes occurred in prisons, police stations, detention centers and at public demonstrations, resulting in a death toll of …

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by Addison Morris

Advocates for same-sex marriage submitted briefs to the US Supreme Court Thursday in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry [docket; cert. petition, PDF] for the respondent couples, as well as for the City and County of San Fransisco. The advocates urged the court to find California's 2008 ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, claiming that the …

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by Samuel Franklin

A Haitian judge on Thursday ordered former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier to appear in court for a hearing on whether he should face charges for human rights abuses. The summons follows a previous order from nearly two weeks ago by a Haitian appeals court for Duvalier to appear for the hearings, a directive …

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by Alison Sacriponte

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister were convicted Thursday of corruption for misusing state-paid staffers to do campaign work and win a seat on the bench. The sisters were convicted for work done on Melvin's 2003 and 2009 Supreme Court campaigns. Melvin was found guilty on six of seven counts of theft of …

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by Benjamin Minegar

A pre-trial judge for the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Thursday delayed the trial of four Hezbollah militants charged with the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Counsel for the accused requested the delay in January citing …

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by Adiah Oreyomi

Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Malian government on Thursday to prosecute soldiers who participate in violence toward suspected Islamist rebels and supporters. Government soldiers have allegedly participated in torture, summary executions and enforced disappearances that began after the French-led offensive in January helped Malian forces retake most of the north. HRW alleges that witnesses …

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by Max Slater

The judge presiding over the 9/11 military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay has granted defense lawyers access for the first time to Camp 7, the secret facility where detainees are housed. In an order Tuesday that remains classified, Army Col. James Pohl allowed lawyers for the five detainees to spend 12 hours …

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by Laura Klein Mullen

An Australian judge ruled Thursday that the nation's ban on same-sex marriage does not amount to gender discrimination, dismissing a challenge to the law. The ruling upholds the decision of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to terminate the complaint of sex discrimination under the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 on the …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

The Arkansas House of Representatives on Thursday voted 80-10 in favor of a bill that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother's life. The bill, commonly referred to as The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was approved in …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

Mexican security forces have enforced or participated in widespread "disappearances" in which individuals are taken against their will, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported Wednesday. The rights group has documented at least 250 "disappearances" since 2007. In most of these cases, security forces failed to search for the victim or investigate, and perpetrators have …

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