Legal news from Wednesday, December 7, 2005
20:12 EDT

[JURIST] A memo obtained Wednesday shows that the top US general in Iraq, Gen. George Casey [official profile], was aware of reports of abuse of detainees by Iraqi security forces in June. The memo, dated June 22, indicated that Casey heard reports of serious physical abuse of detainees by Iraqi [read more]

20:12 EDT

[JURIST] Supporters of a ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] in Massachusetts delivered 170,000 signatures to the secretary of state Wednesday, moving them one step closer to putting the initiative on the ballot in 2008. The drive, headed by the Massachusetts Family Institute [advocacy website] and other [read more]

20:12 EDT

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile] on Wednesday said that the US-led war on terror has threatened the world ban on torture and weakened the US' international standing on human rights. Arbour said that "unassailable" principles against torture had been sacrificed in the war on [read more]

19:12 EDT

[JURIST] The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey [official website] has asked that a jury verdict finding it negligent [JURIST report] in the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center [Wikipedia backgrounder] be set aside. According to a motion filed earlier this week, the Port Authority is arguing [read more]

19:12 EDT

[JURIST] Former Hollinger International [corporate website] executive Jack Boultbee Wednesday pleaded not guilty to fraud charges a week after failing to appear [JURIST report] for his originally scheduled arraignment. Boultbee appeared in a Chicago court to answer charges stemming from millions allegedly diverted from the company by former CEO Conrad [read more]

19:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] on Wednesday ruled in a 2-1 decision [PDF text] that restrictions imposed on telemarketers by North Dakota help to maintain privacy and are not overly broad. The court's holding reverses a district court ruling striking down the law. Under the [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] Australian Human Rights Commissioner Sev Ozdowski [official profile], whose statutory appointment to the post ends Wednesday, has urged his successor to push for an Australian bill of rights to counter the tough anti-terror laws [JURIST report] that the Australian Senate passed Tuesday. An avid opponent of children in immigration [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] British playwright Harold Pinter [official website], winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature [official website], has called for war crimes charges against US President Bush [official profile] and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile] in an acceptance speech to be shown Saturday at the award ceremony in [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday heard two cases involving jury deliberations in death penalty cases. In the first, Oregon v. Guzek [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], the Court considered whether juries can weigh any doubts they have about a defendant's guilt in [read more]

16:12 EDT

[JURIST] Orleans Parish Criminal District Court [official website] Judge Calvin Johnson has ordered the release without bail of as many as 100 prisoners who were arrested before Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] ravaged the area, but were never charged. Johnson, who was appointed to hear the cases in Baton Rouge [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] US Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald [official profile; investigation website] on Wednesday presented additional evidence to a newly empaneled grand jury [JURIST report] in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive]. Fitzgerald has continued his probe and is reportedly considering charges against White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] US Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) [official website], chairman of the House Armed Services Committee [official website], has said that the final version of the 2006 defense spending bill will likely contain a ban on cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment [JURIST document] of foreign terrorism suspects and a requirement to [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] A Chilean appeals court on Wednesday stripped former dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC News profile; JURIST news archive] of immunity from prosecution for the disappearance of an additional 29 leftists under his regime. The ruling allows the 29 cases to be joined with nine others for which Pinochet was previously [read more]

15:12 EDT

[JURIST] A nonpartisan group that tracks the records of federal government personnel has sued the Bush administration for withholding the names and job information of about 900,000 civilian employees. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) [official website] filed a complaint [PDF text] Tuesday under the Freedom of Information Act [text; [read more]

13:12 EDT

[JURIST] Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] Chief Justice Rizgar Mohammed Amin on Wednesday adjourned proceedings in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] until December 21 in order to avoid holding hearings during the upcoming parliamentary elections. The court held a brief session Wednesday, hearing testimony from two prosecution witnesses [read more]

13:12 EDT

[JURIST] A series of not guilty verdicts [JURIST report] returned by a federal jury Tuesday for former Florida professor Sami Al-Arian [JURIST news archive; advocacy website] on terrorism charges is being called a major defeat for law enforcement officials. Al-Arian was indicted [PDF indictment] for allegedly supporting terrorists, but the [read more]

12:12 EDT

[JURIST] South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) [official website] ruled Wednesday that Microsoft [corporate website] breached antitrust rules [KFTC findings, PDF] and ordered the company to pay a $32 million fine and offer multiple versions of its Windows operating system because the automatic inclusion of Microsoft programs with Windows has [read more]

12:12 EDT

[JURIST] Alexander Vershbow [official profile], the US ambassador to South Korea, on Wednesday called North Korea [government website; JURIST news archive] a "criminal regime" that is involved in arms sales, drug trafficking and currency forgery. Vershbow's comments came as he was explaining why the US has imposed economic sanctions against [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] handed down two decisions Wednesday, including one in Lockhart v. US [Duke Law backgrounder], where the court held that the federal government can offset Social Security benefits to collect outstanding student loan debt even if the debt has been owed for over 10 [read more]

11:12 EDT

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] on Wednesday sentenced Miroslav Bralo [ICTY case backgrounder], a former Bosnian Croat soldier, to 20 years in jail. Bralo pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to murder, rape and torture charges stemming from the 1993 Bosnian war. He had initially pleaded [read more]

08:12 EDT

[JURIST] Proceedings in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] continued Wednesday without the former president in the courtroom, after Hussein promised not to return [JURIST report] to an "unjust court". There was a delay in proceedings [AP report] Wednesday at the Iraqi High Criminal Court (formerly the Iraqi Special [read more]

08:12 EDT

[JURIST] On the final day of Egypt's legislative elections [JURIST news archive], police beat back female voters with sticks when they tried to enter a blocked-off polling station in the Nasiriyah district of Zagazig, a stronghold of banned political group the Muslim Brotherhood [Wikipedia profile; JURIST report]. The Brotherhood is [read more]

08:12 EDT

[JURIST] Bruce Gordon [NAACP profile], president and chief executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) [advocacy website] on Tuesday urged [press release] that death row inmate and convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams [advocacy website biography] be granted clemency, calling him a secret weapon for helping [read more]

07:12 EDT

[JURIST] Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was questioned Tuesday by Federal Judge Claudio Pavez, who is investigating the killing of an army colonel, Gerardo Hube, who has been linked to a 1992 illegal arms sale. The judge's questioning came the same day that Pinochet was [read more]

07:12 EDT

[JURIST] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] announced [transcript] Wednesday that the US has changed its policy on the interrogations of detainees, and will impose a worldwide ban on US personnel subjecting prisoners to cruelty, citing obligations under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) [text]. The ban marks a [read more]

04:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] A letter from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may have been instrumental in preventing the UN’s World Summit on the Information Society [JURIST report] last month from making changes to the current control structure of the internet. The letter, co-signed by US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, [read more]

03:12 EDT

[JURIST Europe] Addressing the Dutch Parliament [official website] Tuesday, Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot [official profile] called assurances by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the US does not conduct renditions for torture "unsatisfactory." The Netherlands has been reported as one of the countries in which CIA rendition flights [read more]

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