Legal news from Wednesday, December 7, 2011

[JURIST] Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams [official website] announced Wednesday that his office will no longer seek the death penalty [press release] against Mumia Abu-Jamal [Philadelphia Inquirer backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. As a result of the decision, Abu-Jamal will remain in prison for life ending a 30-year sentencing battle after … [read more]

[JURIST] Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich [personal website; JURIST news archive] was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison on corruption charges. Judge James Zagel of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] handed down the sentence after Blagojevich made a public apology in court … [read more]

[JURIST] The French parliament approved a proposal [resolution, PDF, in French] on Wednesday to ban prostitution [JURIST news archive]. The non-binding resolution was backed by a show of hands and is expected to be followed by a bill. Prostitution is not currently outlawed in France although certain linked activities are. … [read more]

[JURIST] The Brazilian Senate [official website, in Portuguese] voted 59-7 Tuesday to approve amendments [materials, in Portuguese] to the country's Forest Code. Supporters of the bill, including Brazil's National Agriculture and Livestock Federation [official website], say that this change will assist in lowering the carbon emissions while continuing to require … [read more]

[JURIST] A UN panel of independent human rights experts warned Wednesday that recently-passed legislation in Malaysia would severely curtail the right to peaceably assemble [UN News Centre report; press release] in that country. The Peaceful Assembly Act 2011 [bill, PDF], which passed the lower house [JURIST report] of Parliament [official … [read more]

[JURIST] Bank of America (BOA) [corporate website] agreed Monday to pay $315 million in a settlement of claims brought by investors alleging they were misled with respect to mortgage-backed investments. Court papers disclosing the settlement agreement [AP report] were filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of … [read more]

[JURIST] Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange [official website] has suggested repealing specific provisions of the state's controversial immigration law [HB 56 text]. Strange sent a letter to leaders of the Alabama legislature [AP report] suggesting the removal of at least two of the sections that are currently on hold as … [read more]

[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Wednesday rejected the prosecution's motion for a new judge in the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile; JURIST news archive] and fined the prosecution for making the request. Lawyers representing Mubarak's alleged victims filed the petition, claiming that presiding Judge Ahmed Refaat … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] returned Tuesday to the longstanding debate [hearing materials] over whether to televise the proceedings of the US Supreme Court [official website], including whether Congress, as an equal branch of government, has the authority to require the court to admit cameras. Senators Dick … [read more]

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases on Tuesday. In Williams v. Illinois [transcript, PDF; JURIST report], the justices heard the latest in a series of arguments over the Confrontation Clause [text] and will decide if a defendant's rights are violated … [read more]

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