Legal news from Thursday, October 20, 2005
20:10 EDT

[JURIST] Senators predicted Thursday that the confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers [JURIST news archive], scheduled to begin November 7th [JURIST report], will probably not finish before Thanksgiving as hoped for by the White House. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official profile], the chairman of the Senate Judiciary [read more]

19:10 EDT

[JURIST] Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) [official profile], chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee [official website], introduced new legislation Thursday to split the US Ninth Ciruit that would create a new US Twelfth Circuit Court of Appeals covering Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Under the Federal [read more]

18:10 EDT

[JURIST] The US Sentencing Commission [official website] has authorized emergency rules [text] increasing penalties for persons convicted of swapping as-yet-unreleased films over peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as Kazaa and Morpheus. The emergency regulations, which supplement the current guidelines [PDF text], allow judges to base sentences on the volume of [read more]

17:10 EDT

[JURIST] Robert Amsterdam [profile], international defense counsel for jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website], says that Western governments are turning a blind eye to the deteriorating rule of law in Russia exemplified by his client's prosecution and recent conviction. In a JURIST op-ed [Forum text] published Thursday, Amsterdam [read more]

16:10 EDT

[JURIST] The government of Saudi Arabia on Thursday denied accusations [press release] that Saudi officials tortured Ahmed Omar Abu Ali while he was detained by the Saudi government in 2003. Abu Ali, an American citizen arrested in Saudi Arabia, testified in US federal district court [JURIST report] on Wednesday that [read more]

16:10 EDT

[JURIST] In a 7-4 decision issued on Thursday, a full panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld the Seattle school district's use of race in its high school admissions policy. The policy allows high school students to choose their preferred school. If there [read more]

16:10 EDT

[JURIST] Ecuador's high court on Thursday rejected an attempt by President Alfredo Palacio [BBC profile] to seek a referendum on his political reforms. Palacio, a political independent in office for only seven months, has no support in the Ecuador Congress [official website] and has faced substantial opposition to his efforts [read more]

15:10 EDT

[JURIST] A German appeals court on Thursday heard an appeal brought by federal prosecutors challenging last year's acquittal [JURIST report] of Deutsche Bank CEO Joseph Ackermann [WEF profile]. The appeal comes from a July 2004 court ruling that cleared Ackermann and five other former Mannesmann [corporate website] executives of corruption [read more]

15:10 EDT

[JURIST] Sky News is reporting that Saadoun Janabi, a member of the legal defense team for Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive], has been kidnapped in Baghdad.4:07 PM ET - Reuters is now reporting the kidnapping victim, also identified by police as Saadoun Dulaimi, is actually a defense lawyer for former [read more]

15:10 EDT

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice is adopting a zero tolerance policy for anyone attempting to fraudulently acquire aid money appropriated to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] said Thursday. Speaking to about 100 investigators [prepared remarks] from the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, Gonzales [read more]

14:10 EDT

[JURIST] Motorola [corporate website] has filed a lawsuit against the incoming CEO of Nortel Networks [corporate website], claiming the Canadian telecommunication equipment company's move to hire its former chief operating officer will inevitably result in the use and disclosure of Motorola's trade secrets. Nortel hired Mike Zafirovski [press release] as [read more]

14:10 EDT

[JURIST] AP is reporting that Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) [official website; campaign website] has turned himself in for booking on criminal conspiracy [JURIST report] and money laundering [JURIST report] charges. A warrant was issued for DeLay's arrest [JURIST report] Wednesday, and DeLay arrived at Houston's Harris County Sheriff's Office [official [read more]

13:10 EDT

[JURIST] The European Commission [official website] has outlined its plan to combat human trafficking during a two-day conference, Tackling Human Trafficking [overview], stressing the importance of cooperation between member states in the effort to stem the flow of adults and children smuggled into countries to work for low wages or [read more]

12:10 EDT

[JURIST] Top UN investigator Detlev Mehlis on Thursday turned a report over to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive]. Annan is expected to send a copy of the report to the UN Security Council [official website] and to Lebanese [read more]

12:10 EDT

[JURIST] The US military announced [press release] late Wednesday that it is conducting an investigation into the alleged desecration of the bodies of two dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan by US soldiers. The troops burned two bodies and used the charred remains in a propaganda campaign against insurgents, broadcast over [read more]

12:10 EDT

[JURIST] A Virginia oil trading company has pleaded guilty [press release] to charges of first-degree grand larceny in connection with the United Nations Oil-for-Food scandal [JURIST news archive], according to a US prosecutor Thursday. Midway Trading was accused of paying kickbacks to Iraqi officials for oil purchases made under the [read more]

12:10 EDT

[JURIST] Prosecutors for Spain's National Court asked Thursday that the court drop an arrest warrant issued for three American soldiers who allegedly killed Spanish journalist Jose Couso [Guardian report] and a Ukrainian cameraman in Iraq, according to a court official. The prosecutor's office said that Spain does not have jurisdiction [read more]

12:10 EDT

[JURIST] Judges at The Hague Thursday refused a request by Slobodan Milosevic [ICTY case backgrounder], on trial for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website], for more time to question witnesses for his defense, and then urged Milosevic [read more]

11:10 EDT

[JURIST] Although the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] has been delayed until next month [JURIST report], a key witness seriously ill with cancer will testify before the trial resumes, presiding Judge Rizgar Amin announced Thursday. The witness, Wadah Ismael al-Sheikh, was a senior Iraqi intelligence officer serving in Dujail [read more]

11:10 EDT

[JURIST] An alliance of British writers, comedians, and bishops Thursday proposed amendments they want added to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill [text], which was debated [JURIST report] last week in the UK House of Lords [official website]. Comedic actor Rowan Atkinson [profile] and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey [read more]

11:10 EDT

[JURIST] Three militant fighters convicted for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings [BBC report] that killed over 200 have refused to seek presidential pardons, saying that they are prepared to be executed, a prosecutor said Thursday. The bombing in Bali earlier this month triggered calls for the immediate execution [JURIST report] [read more]

11:10 EDT

[JURIST] Australian state leaders warned Thursday that "shoot-to-kill" provisions in the country's anti-terrorism proposals [draft law text, PDF] could lead to another wrongful police shooting similar to the one by British officers who incorrectly identified a Brazilian citizen as a suicide bomber [JURIST report] and killed him. The opposition could [read more]

10:10 EDT

[JURIST] Australia is urging the UN Security Council to put Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe [official website] on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for crimes against his own people. Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer [official website] says that Mugabe has ruined Zimbabwe's economy and is a [read more]

10:10 EDT

[JURIST] President Bush's "faith-based initiative" to get taxpayer funding to religious charities won a legal victory recently when a US federal judge ruled that religious groups are able to hire and fire employees based on their religious beliefs and practices, even if their salaries are funded by taxpayers. The case [read more]

09:10 EDT

[JURIST] Recently fired Ukrainian Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun is claiming his termination last month was a direct result of an investigation he launched into the expenditures of the wife of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko [BBC profile]. Piskun was looking into the costs involved when US-born Kateryna Yushchenko-Chumachenko flew a group [read more]

09:10 EDT

[JURIST] US Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers [JURIST news archive] has said that she will provide more details to the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] after Republican and Democratic committee leaders requested that Miers resubmit her answers to a judicial questionnaire, which some members of the committee found insufficient in [read more]

09:10 EDT

[JURIST] Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser [official profile] Wednesday voiced his strong opposition to new anti-terrorism proposals [draft law text, PDF] from current Prime Minister John Howard [official profile], which were leaked [JURIST report] by an Australian state leader earlier this month. The laws allow up to 14 days [read more]

08:10 EDT

[JURIST] Australia [JURIST news archive] has disputed suggestions by the US Department of Defense [official website] that the four years terror suspect David Hicks [advocacy website] has been detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] should not count toward any sentence he receives if convicted. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer [read more]

08:10 EDT

[JURIST] A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed half of a whistleblower suit [complaint, PDF] filed by former US Attorney Richard Convertino, who alleged that he was retaliated against [JURIST report] after cooperating with a US Senate investigation into the failed prosecution of four men on terror charges in the first [read more]

08:10 EDT

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] is expected on Thursday to approve a bill that will block various civil lawsuits filed against US gun manufacturers. Both Republicans and Democrats predicted that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act [S. 397 bill summary] would be approved with bipartisan [read more]

07:10 EDT

[JURIST] The Malawi [government website; BBC country profile] parliament has adopted procedures for the impeachment of the country's president, who has been accused of misusing state funds and violating the country's constitution. Legislators approved the procedures late Tuesday in a growing dispute between President Bingu wa Mutharika [BBC News profile] [read more]

07:10 EDT

[JURIST] Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] and his business partner Platon Lebedev have reportedly been sent to remote prisons [JURIST report] in Siberia and the far north of the country to serve eight-year sentences after being convicted of fraud and tax evasion [JURIST report]. [read more]

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