Legal news from Wednesday, November 8, 2006
20:11 EDT

[JURIST] The French parliament may soon consider a draft bill proposing the addition of class action lawsuits [JURIST news archive] to France's legal system after French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry Thierry Breton [official profile, in French] introduced the legislation at a weekly cabinet meeting Wednesday. Currently, an association [read more]

19:11 EDT

[JURIST] The genocide trial [JURIST news archive] of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] for allegedly killing 100,000 Kurds in the "Anfal" campaigns [HRW backgrounder] in the late 1980s was adjourned Wednesday just one day after it had resumed [JURIST report]. The trial of Saddam and six co-defendants, including Ali Hassan [read more]

17:11 EDT

[JURIST] An unnamed registered sex offender filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday seeking to block California Proposition 83 [text, PDF], a measure approved Tuesday by 70 percent of state voters [results, CA Secretary of State; Yes on 83 advocacy website] that would prohibit registered sex offenders from residing "within [read more]

16:11 EDT

[JURIST] Michigan voters Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment banning affirmative action [JURIST archive] in public employment, public education and state contracting. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative [advocacy website] pushed Proposal 2 [text] which prohibits preferential treatment based on “race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin.” Michigan follows California and Washington [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] Arizona voters Tuesday overwhelmingly passed four measures directed against illegal immigration, approving each one by about a three-to-one margin across the state. If not overruled by the courts, Proposition 100 [text, PDF] will deny bail for illegal immigrants under certain conditions; Proposition 102 [text, PDF] will prohibit illegals from [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] Former US Army soldier Steven Green [JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Kentucky federal court to charges related to his role in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and her family [JURIST news archive] in the Mahmudiya (also "Mahmoudiya") area in March. Green, [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] Former US Army soldier Steven Green [JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Kentucky federal court to charges related to his role in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl [JURIST news archive] and the murder of her family in the Mahmudiya (also "Mahmoudiya") area [read more]

15:11 EDT

[JURIST] The parliament of Kyrgyzstan [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] voted Wednesday to adopt a new constitution [constitutional materials, in Kyrgyz] that will restrict presidential authority based on a compromise [JURIST report] reached Tuesday. The new constitution creates a presidential-parliamentary government, enlarging the parliament to 90 deputies and enhancing its [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] The Montgomery County Circuit Court in Maryland on Wednesday imposed a life imprisonment sentence on Lee Boyd Malvo [BBC profile], who pleaded guilty [JURIST report] last month to six Maryland murders that occurred during a three-week shooting spree [BBC backgrounder] in the Washington, DC area [WP map] in 2002. [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] A panel of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] ordered prosecutors Wednesday to drop five of the 14 charges against Vojislav Seselj [BBC profile; ICTY case backgrounder], ruling that the dropped "crimes against humanity" charges were duplicates of "war crimes" charges also in the [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] Ballot measures approved in three US states Tuesday will ban smoking in many public places. In Arizona, Nevada and Ohio [JURIST news archives] voters chose more comprehensive measures over less restrictive versions generally favored by the food and beverage industry. Ohio's Issue 5 [text via smartvoter.org], for example, prohibits [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] Mexican legislators in the Cámara de Diputados [official website, in Spanish], the lower house of parliament, voted Tuesday to prohibit Mexican President Vicente Fox [official profile] from traveling to Australia and Vietnam later this month, citing domestic concerns, including the ongoing conflict in Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico, [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF; additional transcript, PDF] Wednesday in the consolidated cases of Gonzales v. Carhart [Duke Law case backgrounder; merits briefs], 05-380, and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood [Duke Law case backgrounder; merits briefs], 05-1382, which challenge the constitutionality [read more]

14:11 EDT

[JURIST] Voters in nine US states approved ballot initiatives restricting the use of eminent domain [JURIST news archive] in mid-term elections Tuesday, reacting strongly against the 2005 US Supreme Court Kelo v. New London [opinion text; JURIST report] decision, which held that private redevelopment conferring economic benefits on a community [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] Ballot measures limiting political campaign contributions and spending failed in two states Tuesday, while measures temporarily barring some former public officials from lobbying succeeded in two other states. Voters in California [JURIST news archive] soundly rejected [Stop Prop 89 advocacy website] Proposition 89 [PDF text], which would have provided [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] US proponents of marijuana legalization took stock Wednesday after voters in Colorado, Nevada and South Dakota rejected mid-term ballot measures that would have decriminalized use of the drug in certain circumstances. In Colorado, voters on Tuesday rejected Amendment 44 [backgrounder, PDF] that would have legalized the possession of less [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] Turkey's bid for EU membership [EC materials] still faces significant obstacles, including the slowing of reforms and laws inhibiting freedom of speech, according to report [PDF text] released by the European Commission Wednesday. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn [official profile] highlighted Article 301 [Amnesty backgrounder] of Turkey's Penal Code, [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] President George W. Bush announced [transcript] Wednesday in the wake of Democratic Party successes in the US mid-term elections that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] is resigning from his position at the Defense Department. Bush said he plans to nominate Robert Gates [official profile] former Director of [read more]

13:11 EDT

[JURIST] Missouri voters Tuesday narrowly approved [Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures advocacy website] Constitutional Amendment #2 [text], a stem cell initiative that would prevent Missouri from criminalizing the use of stem cells in certain techniques such as therapeutic cloning. With 3572 of 3734 precincts reporting early Wednesday afternoon, the unofficial [read more]

12:11 EDT

[JURIST] Arizona became the first US state to reject an amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman after voters Tuesday narrowly rejected [results] Proposition 107 [official backgrounder], which would have amended the Arizona Constitution [text] to effectively ban gay marriage as well as civil unions [read more]

12:11 EDT

[JURIST] A Chilean appeals court Wednesday again stripped former dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of immunity, this time in a case involving the 1974 disappearance of a Spanish priest. The priest, Antonio Llido, was arrested by the Chilean DINA [NID backgrounder] after expressing opposition to Pinochet. The [read more]

12:11 EDT

[JURIST] South Dakota voters roundly rejected [No on Amendment E advocacy website] the so-called Jail 4 Judges [advocacy website] ballot initiative Tuesday, meaning the state will not establish a 13-person oversight committee with the power to sanction judges, prosecutors, and other decision makers who make judicial decisions that break certain [read more]

12:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] has upheld a lower court order [PDF text] vacating the criminal conviction of the former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay [Houston Chronicle profile; JURIST news archive]. Lay died of a heart attack in July, six weeks after being convicted [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] A British immigration judge Wednesday adjourned a hearing after a lawyer in his courtroom refused to remove her Muslim niqab [Wikipedia backgrounder] despite being ordered to by the judge because he claimed he could not hear her speak. Shabnam Mughal refused to take off the black veil covering all [read more]

11:11 EDT

[JURIST] South Dakota voters Tuesday rejected a controversial law banning most abortions [HB 1215 text, PDF] passed by the state legislature [JURIST report] earlier this year. With 818 out of 818 precincts reporting Wednesday, the final unofficial results for Referred Law 6 [Vote Smart backgrounder] were:NO 185948 56% YES 148666 [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] Five senior judges from Shenzhen, China [government website] have been arrested and 20 other judges implicated in a crackdown on corruption during the months of June to October, the China Daily reported [text] Wednesday. The raids begun after prosecutors arrested retired judge Liao Zhaohui and the head of a [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] Rhode Island on Tuesday granted some convicted felons the right to vote, according to the latest unofficial count of ballots on the state's Question 2 [PDF text]. Question 2 would amend the Rhode Island constitution [text] to grant the voting franchise to those felons who are currently serving parole [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] ruled [text, PDF] Tuesday that it would review a lower court decision [JURIST report] allowing a class action lawsuit [EFF case backgrounder; JURIST report] filed against the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive] to proceed to trial. The [read more]

10:11 EDT

[JURIST] New UK legislation pardoning 306 World War I soldiers who were executed [backgrounder] for various offenses, including cowardice, sleeping while on duty, striking a superior officer, disobedience and desertion, received final approval Wednesday after the Armed Forces Act [legislative materials] received royal assent [press release]. Royal assent came a [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] India will try the 19 suspects in the July Mumbai train bombings [JURIST report] case using special courts to speed up the legal process, the leader of the Mumbai Police [official website] anti-terrorism squad [backgrounder] told Reuters Wednesday. India's legal system is notoriously slow, and special courts are often [read more]

08:11 EDT

[JURIST] Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] told the BBC Wednesday that he expects Saddam Hussein to be executed before the end of the year [BBC interview], pending the conclusion of the appeal process. Al-Maliki seemed undeterred by the predictions [JURIST report] of chief prosecutor Jaafar Moussawai, who indicated [read more]

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