Legal news from Thursday, July 26, 2007
20:07 EDT

[JURIST] The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] will not reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, according to a letter [excerpts] released Thursday to Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) [official website] by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. The Fairness Doctrine [MBC backgrounder], under which broadcast licenses could be revoked if the broadcaster failed [read more]

20:07 EDT

[JURIST] City and town clerks in Massachusetts may issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples from New Mexico, according to recent instructions from the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records [official website]. A July 18 internal notice to municipal employees said that because the New Mexico government has not explicitly banned same-sex [read more]

19:07 EDT

[JURIST] A Zimbabwean judge has released 13 opposition activists held by the government because police faked evidence against them, defense lawyers said Thursday. All 13 belong to the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change [party website], and had been held since March when the government arrested [JURIST report] at least [read more]

15:07 EDT

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled Thursday that Russian authorities were responsible for the shooting death of 11 unarmed civilians [judgment, DOC] in Chechnya and ordered Russia to pay damages and court expenses totaling 163,864 euro (approximately $224,500) to five Chechen plaintiffs. The court ruled [read more]

14:07 EDT

[JURIST] Former Saddam Hussein-era Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] is threatening to go on a hunger strike, his son Ziad Aziz told AFP Thursday. Ziad says that Aziz and 14 other detainees are threatening to initiate a hunger strike next week if Iraqi authorities [read more]

14:07 EDT

[JURIST] Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website] issued subpoenas for White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Deputy Director of Political Affairs J. Scott Jennings Thursday in the ongoing probe of the US Attorney firings scandal [JURIST news archive], ordering Rove and Jennings to provide documents [read more]

13:07 EDT

[JURIST] US District Judge James Munley [official profile] ruled Thursday that two anti-illegal immigration laws passed by the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania [official website; legal defense website] are unconstitutional, issuing a permanent injunction [memorandum and order, PDF; docket] prohibiting the enforcement of the Illegal Immigration Relief Act and the Landlord [read more]

13:07 EDT

[JURIST] A federal judge Thursday ordered [PDF text] the federal government to pay Peter Limone, Joseph Salvati [AP reports], and the families of two other men who died while in jail over $101 million after finding the government liable for malicious prosecution. The men were convicted of a 1965 murder [read more]

12:07 EDT

[JURIST] Four Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement [official website] Thursday asking Clement to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "may have misled Congress or perjured himself in testimony before Congress." The letter follows reports [read more]

12:07 EDT

[JURIST] Bulgarian Prosecutor General Boris Velchev Thursday defended Bulgaria's pardon of six medics [BBC Q&A; JURIST news archive] against Libyan criticism [JURIST report], saying that Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov [official profile] properly exercised his discretionary power to pardon the six defendants, who were within the legal jurisdiction of Bulgaria. On [read more]

12:07 EDT

[JURIST] Federal authorities have arrested and charged [DOJ press release] a former school teacher for accepting kickbacks from contractors attempting to obtain military contracts in Iraq, the US Justice Department announced Thursday. Carolyn Blake is alleged to have been involved in a scheme with her brother, Major John L. Cockerham, [read more]

10:07 EDT

[JURIST] US Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) [official website] Wednesday urged members of Congress to adopt legislation suspending the United States' annual $3 million contribution to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website; JURIST news archive]. Coleman said that the UNHRC's focus on Israel and failure to address alleged human [read more]

10:07 EDT

[JURIST] The Kansas Supreme Court [official website] delayed a bid by Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison [official profile] to test the constitutionality of an anti-funeral picketing law [PDF text; supplemental note, PDF] Wednesday, saying it wasn't sure whether Gov. Kathleen Sebelius [official website] was correctly named as the defendant. The [read more]

10:07 EDT

[JURIST] Former Bangladeshi Telecommunications Minister Aminul Huq was sentenced to 31 years imprisonment Thursday for aiding Islamic extremists executed in March for the murder of two judges [JURIST reports] in 2005. The militants acted as part of a terror campaign to bring traditional Islamic rule to the country to replace [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] Nigerian Judge Anwuri Shekere Wednesday suspended court proceedings in the criminal case against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer [corporate website] until October 29, granting a request by prosecutors for more time to prepare. Pfizer is accused of conducting an illegal clinical trial in 1996 on approximately 200 Nigerian children, 100 of [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] failed to attend a meeting Thursday with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) [official website] which is probing possible tax evasion allegedly committed by Thaksin during his tenure in office. According to the DSI, Thaksin, who now resides [read more]

09:07 EDT

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Ohio [official website] ruled Wednesday that unmarried couples are subject to domestic violence statutes [opinion, PDF], despite the fact that the law refers to those "living as a spouse." The case arose when a man charged under the domestic violence statute for alleged abuse of [read more]

08:07 EDT

[JURIST] The US Military Academy at West Point's Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) [official website] said Wednesday that US military panels reviewing the status of detainees at Guantanamo Bay determined that most detainees represented a threat to US national security. The CTC report [PDF text; annex, PDF] was based on an [read more]

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