Legal news from Thursday, August 18, 2005
19:08 EDT

[JURIST] Court documents released Thursday revealed that the US government is arguing that Australian citizen David Hicks [Wikipedia profile; advocacy website] should face a military commission trial following an appellate court ruling from a three judge panel that included US Supreme Court nominee John Roberts [JURIST news archive]. In Hamdan [read more]

19:08 EDT

[JURIST] A federal appeals court ruled [PDF opinion] Thursday that congressional legislation that permits medical insurance for US military personnel to pay only for abortions needed to save the life of the mother was constitutional. The three judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official [read more]

19:08 EDT

[JURIST] The last of the publicly accessible documents authored by US Supreme Court nominee John Roberts [JURIST news archive] in storage at the Reagan Library [official website] in were released simultaneously Thursday in California and Washington, DC. The thousands of pages of material complete the greater-than 50,000 pages of work [read more]

19:08 EDT

[JURIST] David Radler, former Chicago Sun-Times publisher, Mark S. Kipnis, former lead counsel for Hollinger International [corporate website], and Ravelston Corp, a private company controlled by Conrad Black [CBC profile] were charged with five counts of federal mail fraud and two counts of federal wire fraud on Thursday. The two [read more]

17:08 EDT

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's states brief, a New Jersey court of appeals has ruled [PDF opinion] that a jury should decide whether Porfirio Jimenez is mentally competent and able to face the death penalty. A spokesman for the Office of the Public Defender said that, "Most states have gone with the [read more]

16:08 EDT

[JURIST] Four people filed suit Thursday against the Transportation Security Administration [official website] in an Anchorage federal court alleging that the agency illegally collected information about passengers in testing the Secure Flight Program [official website] last fall. Earlier this month, Department of Homeland Security [official website] Secretary Michael Chertoff said [read more]

15:08 EDT

[JURIST] Dennis Rader, the BTK killer, was sentenced to 10 consecutive life terms on Thursday after pleading guilty [JURIST report] in June to 10 murders. Since Kansas did not have the death penalty at the time of the crimes, the life terms handed down were the toughest sentence possible. AP [read more]

15:08 EDT

[JURIST] Indonesian Minister of Justice and Human Rights Hamid Awaluddin has confirmed that the Indonesian government will grant general amnesties to all members of the Free Aceh Movement [Wikipedia profile] (GAM) currently incarcerated by the government. The amnesty is part of the Helsinki peace agreement [PDF text] between the GAM, [read more]

15:08 EDT

[JURIST] The Nepalese Royal Commission for Corruption Control arrested two government officials Thursday and issued an arrest warrant for a third on corruption and tax evasion charges adding up to nearly $400,000 (USD). Director-General of Inland Revenue Department [official website] Abanindra Kumar Shrestha and Ministry of Finance officer Sharada Prasad [read more]

14:08 EDT

[JURIST] Prosecutors in the French Caribbean island of Martinique [government website] have initiated a manslaughter investigation against West Caribbean Airways [company website in Spanish]. The investigation will target the airline's increasingly controversial safety record to determine if WCA was at fault for the crash on Tuesday which killed 160 people [read more]

14:08 EDT

[JURIST] Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen reported Thursday that senior leaders in the Tamil Tigers [faction website; MIPT profile] have agreed to attend peace talks to be held with representatives of the Sri Lankan government [official website]. The date and location of the talks has yet to be decided, [read more]

14:08 EDT

[JURIST] The Illinois Supreme Court [official website] reversed a $1 billion judgment against State Farm [corporate website] Thursday, ruling [summary; full text] that a class action should not have been certified in the case. In 1999, State Farm was held liable for using sub-standard parts in repairing policyholders' damaged vehicles. [read more]

13:08 EDT

[JURIST] Japan announced plans Thursday to revise the so-called G-4 plan [JURIST news archive] for expansion of the UN Security Council [official website] after the African Union rejected their previous proposal [JURIST report]. The new plan will be presented to the UN in September and is expected to add another [read more]

13:08 EDT

[JURIST] Chief Justice Evan Gicheru of the Kenyan Court of Justice is scheduled to decide Thursday whether three separate court cases [JURIST report] filed by three different opposition groups of the Kenyan Parliament [government website] should be consolidated into one case and heard by the nation's highest court. The suits [read more]

13:08 EDT

[JURIST] The Nigerian Senate [official website, in French] has passed a resolution calling for the executive to abolish a pact made with the United States that said neither country will turn over suspected war criminals to the Hague's International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], which Washington opposes. The two countries [read more]

13:08 EDT

[JURIST] A majority of jurors in a Republic of Congo court have acquitted 15 senior level military and police officials accused of orchestrating the 1999 disappearance of over 300 refugees returning from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Congolese city Brazzaville. Families of the victims brought civil and [read more]

13:08 EDT

[JURIST] In a Slate article [text] published Wednesday, legal ethicists Stephen Gillers, David Luban and Steven Lubet claim that the White House violated the law when it interviewed Judge John Roberts [JURIST news archive] this spring for the US Supreme Court while he was considering a challenge to US military [read more]

13:08 EDT

[JURIST] Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile] introduced Thursday a highly controversial constitutional reform bill [JURIST report] to the Zimbabwean Parliament [official website]. The constitutional amendment bill contains proposed changes to the Zimbabwean Constitution [text] that leaders in the MDC Opposition Party [party website] have criticized as little more than [read more]

12:08 EDT

[JURIST] Lawyers representing the family of Brazilian citizen Jean Charles de Menezes, mistakenly killed by police [JURIST report] who thought they were pursuing a suspect in the July 21 London bombing [JURIST report], have accused Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair [official profile] of trying to block an independent inquiry [read more]

12:08 EDT

[JURIST] The National Archives [official website] began an investigation Wednesday into the disappearance of a file containing papers authored by US Supreme Court nominee John Roberts [JURIST news archive] on affirmative action. Officials said the file disappeared [Washington Post report] from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California [read more]

11:08 EDT

[JURIST] Vladimiro Montesinos [Wikipedia profile], a close aide of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori [JURIST news archive] and Peru's former intelligence chief, went on trial Wednesday on charges that he ordered the massacres of Maoist rebel supporters by paramilitary death squads in the 1990s. Montesinos' past is full of questionable [read more]

11:08 EDT

[JURIST] David Satterfield, the number-two diplomat at the US Embassy in Baghdad, is allegedly one of the anonymous government officials said to have disclosed classified information to a Department of Defense analyst and two former officials of the pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) [advocacy website], who [read more]

11:08 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that Ohio Governor Bob Taft [official website] will plead no contest to charges [JURIST report] that he improperly failed to report golf outings and other gifts.1:22 PM ET - Taft was fined $4,000 but will not serve any jail time as part of a plea agreement. [read more]

10:08 EDT

[JURIST] There has been an almost 80 percent decrease [DOJ press release] in the number of federal tort trials from 1985 to 2003, the US Department of Justice [official website] said in a report released Wednesday. According to Federal Tort Trials and Verdicts, 2002-03 [report abstract; PDF full text], the [read more]

10:08 EDT

[JURIST] Police in Bangladesh have detained almost 50 people for questioning after a series of over 100 bombs exploded across the country [AP report] on Wednesday, killing two and injuring over 100. The near-simultaneous bombings took place outside government buildings and court houses in almost every major city in Bangladesh. [read more]

09:08 EDT

[JURIST] Ali Alatas, former Indonesian foreign minister, went to Myanmar Thursday as a special envoy of the UN to help push for the release of jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi [advocacy website; Wikipedia profile]. Alatas was appointed to the position in 2003, but this is his first visit [read more]

09:08 EDT

[JURIST] The trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive] resumed Wednesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website; JURIST news archive] after a summer recess, with Milosevic calling ethnic Albanian witnesses from Kosovo to testify. The prosecution contends that Yugoslav and Serbian forces [read more]

09:08 EDT

[JURIST] The Iraqi Islamic Party [Wikipedia backgrounder], Iraq's largest Sunni political group, on Wednesday heavily criticized the committee drafting a new Iraq constitution [JURIST news archive] and said that the same major disputes blocking a draft last week remain to be worked out. The group said the committee was biased [read more]

08:08 EDT

[JURIST] Israeli security soldiers on Thursday entered the religious settlement of Kfar Darom and surrounded a synagogue filled with hundreds of young pullout opponents as the soldiers removed screaming residents from nearby homes and a religious school. One soldier refused to take part in the operation and had to be [read more]

08:08 EDT

[JURIST] A US military jury on Wednesday convicted Pfc. Willie Brand of assault, maltreatment, false official swearing and maiming. Brand faces up to 16 years in military prison for beating one of two Afghan detainees who later died at Bagram Control Point [Global Security profile] near Kabul. The jury acquitted [read more]

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