Legal news from Wednesday, February 28, 2007
20:02 EDT

[JURIST] Lawmakers in Connecticut's House of Representatives [official website] have introduced a health care reform bill [text] aimed at providing coverage to the state's uninsured. The initiative introduced Tuesday positions Connecticut within the growing ranks of states that have recently proposed health care reform plans for their poor and uninsured [read more]

20:02 EDT

[JURIST] David Iglesias, former US Attorney [DOJ backgrounder] for the District of New Mexico [official website], told reporters [McClatchy Newspapers report] Wednesday that he received two phone calls in October from federal lawmakers pressuring him to speed up indictments of local Democrats under investigation for a kickback scheme in time [read more]

19:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Defense Secretary Robert Gates [official profile] has rejected a plan by the US military to construct a $100 million courthouse at Guantanamo Bay [DOD news archive; JURIST news archive]. The complex proposed last October [JURIST report], would have included three new courtrooms, a new high-security area for detainees [read more]

18:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge Marcia Cooke [official profile] ruled Wednesday that alleged terrorist Jose Padilla [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] is competent to stand trial, rejecting defense arguments that he often cannot assist his attorneys because he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) [NIMH backgrounder] due to nearly four years [read more]

18:02 EDT

[JURIST] Hawaii legislators have shelved a proposal [HB 908 summary; text] to create civil unions [JURIST news archive] for same-sex couples, indicating that the state legislature did not have enough votes to pass the law. The state House Judiciary Committee [official website] declined to vote on the proposal after hours [read more]

15:02 EDT

[JURIST] US State Department Legal Advisor John Bellinger [official profile] told reporters in Brussels Wednesday that European investigations into allegations of CIA misconduct in Europe may dampen intelligence sharing efforts between the US and European countries. He also said that allegations of torture by the CIA [official website] are unsupported [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Wednesday in Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], 06-157 [docket], where the court must decide whether taxpayers have standing under Article III [text] of the Constitution to challenge federal [read more]

14:02 EDT

[JURIST] US Department of State Legal Adviser John Bellinger [official profile] said Wednesday the US will not honor any request by Italy to extradite CIA agents [JURIST reports] wanted for their alleged role in the February 17, 2003 abduction [JURIST news archive; WP timeline] and extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [personal website], who won a confidence vote [BBC report] in the Italian Senate Wednesday after losing a key vote on a foreign policy issue last week, has asked senators to strike down an unfavorable election law that was enacted [BBC report] by predecessor Silvio [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Law Lords [official website], the judicial panel of the UK House of Lords which is Britain's highest court, Wednesday dismissed [opinion] an appeal by a suspect in the 2004 Madrid bombings [JURIST news archive] contesting his extradition to Spain. Moutaz Almallah Dabas, a Syrian-born Spanish citizen, was arrested [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge George B. Daniels [official profile] on Tuesday approved a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit brought by Holocaust [JURIST news archive] survivors against Italian insurance company Assicurazioni Generali [corporate website]. Under the terms of the settlement, the insurance company will accept new claims until March [read more]

13:02 EDT

[JURIST] Two Guantamano Bay detainees petitioned the US Supreme Court [official website] Tuesday to expedite its review of the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA) [PDF text; JURIST news archive], which contains a "court-stripping" provision that prevents federal courts from hearing habeas challenges. The motion to expedite [PDF text] filed by [read more]

12:02 EDT

[JURIST] The former general counsel for computer security company McAfee [corporate website] was indicted Tuesday by the Department of Justice for concealing an illegal stock option backdating scheme. The DOJ charged [PDF indictment] Kent Roberts with six counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and filing false SEC documents. The indictment [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] The FBI [official website] has started investigating 10-12 civil rights era suspicious death cases [press release], according to FBI Director Robert Mueller [remarks] and US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] Tuesday. Although officials declined to comment on which cases have been re-opened, they did confirm that the lynching [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) [advocacy website] filed a complaint Tuesday against the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking the release of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) [FJC backgrounder] order that authorized government surveillance of transmissions coming into or going outside of the country where one party was suspected [read more]

11:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Mexico [official website] released a decision Tuesday overturning a law that banned those with HIV from serving in the military, finding the law an unconstitutional infringement on principles of equality. The military may now only expel soldiers if a doctor certifies that their condition prevents [read more]

10:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] ruled Wednesday that its earlier decision in Crawford v. Washington [text; Duke Law case backgrounder], which established that out-of-court statements are inadmissible unless the witness is unavailable and the defendant has an opportunity to cross-examine her, does not apply retroactively. [read more]

08:02 EDT

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] held [PDF opinion] Tuesday that the Bush administration is permitted to deny funding to nonprofit AIDS awareness and advocacy groups that fail to publicly advocate against sex trafficking and prostitution. Judge A. Raymond Randolf held that [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] The White House said Tuesday that President Bush will veto a new anti-terror bill [S.4 summary] if it contains a provision which would allow Transportation Security Administration airport screeners to unionize. While other federal employees already have similar union abilities, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff [official profile] said that [read more]

07:02 EDT

[JURIST] The Catholic Diocese of San Diego [official website] filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy [petition, PDF] on Tuesday putting a stop to an upcoming sex abuse trial and becoming the largest US diocese to file for bankruptcy thus far. The diocese had been engaged in settlement talks with plaintiffs' attorneys [read more]

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