Legal news from Tuesday, January 23, 2007
22:01 EDT

[JURIST] President Bush pressed for comprehensive immigration reform in his State of Union address [text; White House initiatives summary] Tuesday night, urging US lawmakers to take action to secure US borders, enhance interior and worksite enforcement of immigration laws, create a temporary worker program, resolve "without animosity or amnesty" the [read more]

19:01 EDT

[JURIST] State Farm [corporate website] insurance company reached a settlement Tuesday with hundreds of Mississippi policyholders whose claims were denied after Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive], bringing an end to a trial that began [JURIST report] January 9 in the US District for the Southern District of Mississippi [official website]. [read more]

18:01 EDT

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] unanimously passed a bill [HR 476 summary] Tuesday to deny retirement pensions to any member of Congress "convicted of any of certain offenses," including fraud, bribery and perjury. Currently, federal lawmakers can only be stripped of their benefits for treason or espionage. [read more]

17:01 EDT

[JURIST] German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier [BBC profile] said Tuesday that he was unaware of a US offer to release Guantanamo Bay detainee Murat Kurnaz [JURIST news archive], a German-born Turk, to Germany in 2002 notwithstanding a finding by a committee of the European parliament investigating CIA activity in Europe [read more]

16:01 EDT

[JURIST] The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] Tuesday postponed the scheduled sentencing of former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website] commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford [official profile] until February 27. Crawford previously pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to misdemeanor charges [criminal information, PDF] of [read more]

16:01 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation [official website] has upheld a prior ruling to shut down the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society [advocacy website], a small NGO that reported on human rights violations and disappearances in the Northern Caucasus. The group was first shut down in October [JURIST report] after [read more]

16:01 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation [official website] has upheld a prior ruling to shut down the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society [advocacy website], a small NGO that reported on human rights violations and disappearances in the Northern Caucasus. The group was first shut down in October [JURIST report] after [read more]

16:01 EDT

[JURIST] The Iraqi High Tribunal [official website] heard more tapes on Tuesday in which the voice of defendant Ali Hassan al-Majid [JURIST news archive; BBC profile] vowed to "leave no Kurd [alive] who speaks the Kurd language" and to "wipe them out." The genocide trial [JURIST news archive; BBC trial [read more]

15:01 EDT

[JURIST] A European Parliament (EP) [official website] special committee adopted a report [EP press release, DOC] Tuesday alleging that some EU nations knew about CIA activity in Europe including the existence of secret flights and CIA-operated secret prisons [JURIST news archive]. The European Parliament committee on CIA activities in Europe [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] Thirty Democratic members of the North Carolina General Assembly [official website] urged [press release, DOC] Gov. Mike Easley [official profile] on Tuesday to implement an immediate suspension of all state executions until an investigation shows that the state's execution protocol meets constitutional standards so as not to amount to [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] The office of Israeli Attorney General Menahem Mazuz [official profile] said Tuesday that there is enough evidence to indict Israeli President Moshe Katsav [official website] on various charges, including rape, sexual harassment, abuse of power and obstruction of justice [JURIST report]. Formal charges, however, can only be made once [read more]

13:01 EDT

[JURIST] The trial of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense website; JURIST news archive] began Tuesday as the prosecution and defense attorneys delivered opening statements in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive]. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [official profile] told the jury in the United States District [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] A military judge in Israel on Tuesday ordered the release of Imam Fawaz Damra, former leader of Ohio's largest mosque, the Islamic Center of Cleveland [official website], claiming there was insufficient evidence to hold him. Damra's lawyer told AP that the release order came after the court refused to [read more]

12:01 EDT

[JURIST] Federal prosecutors have accused lawyers for alleged terrorist Jose Padilla [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of violating a protective order that bars distribution of sensitive documents after one of the lawyers admitted to leaking classified government wiretap transcripts to the New York Times, which lead to a January 4 [read more]

11:01 EDT

[JURIST] The UK Council of Circuit Judges [official website] which represents British judges in England and Wales has dismissed British government proposals [consultation paper, PDF] designed to increase rape convictions in the country, which have hit a record low [BBC report]. The proposals advanced last spring include efforts to help [read more]

11:01 EDT

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] Tuesday denied a request by Uruguay [case materials, in Spanish] to force Argentina to put a stop to protestors blocking major roads and bridges between the two nations in an effort to halt Uruguay's construction of two paper mills along the [read more]

08:01 EDT

[JURIST] A coalition of businesses and environmental groups on Monday called for federal legislation to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In a letter to President Bush a day before his State of the Union Address [White House materials], the US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) [advocacy website] [read more]

07:01 EDT

[JURIST] The city council of Farmers Branch, Texas [official website] Monday unanimously approved revisions to a city ordinance requiring apartment renters to show proof of US residency and penalizing landlords who rent to illegal immigrants [JURIST news archive]. The original ordinance was set to take effect earlier this month, but [read more]

07:01 EDT

[JURIST] The head of Catholic bishops in Italy Monday denounced a plan by the Italian government to give same-sex couples [JURIST news archive] many of the rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. Cardinal Camillo Ruini [Wikipedia profile] spoke to a conference of Italian bishops and said same-sex unions went against the [read more]

06:01 EDT

[JURIST] US Army Col. Michael Steele has been formally reprimanded for giving improper orders to soldiers in Iraq, leading to the deaths of four unarmed Iraqi civilians [JURIST report] near Samarra last May, according to recent reports by two US Defense Department officials. Military documents indicate that Steele, a subject [read more]

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