JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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A panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Friday ruled [Opinion, PDF] that the Arizona Department of Corrections' (ADC) [official website] outgoing mail policy calling for a "page-by-page content review" of inmates' confidential outgoing legal mail violated the First and Sixth Amendments of the US Constitution. In reaching this conclusion, the panel applied Nordstrom I standard for Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel, which states: "The right to counsel is violated when 1) 'the...
The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [official site] approved a special bill [Japan Times report] on Friday allowing the reigning Emperor Akihito [BBC profile] to abdicate his throne. This development comes after the 83-year-old emperor hinted at the negative impact the grueling schedule had on his health during a televised remark last year. The current laws preclude the emperor from retiring, thereby preventing a new heir to the throne from assuming the role until after the current emperor dies....
The Human Rights Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) [official website] released a report [PDF] on Friday that revealed the findings of a year-long investigation into human rights violations in the Yei Town, Central Equatoria area of South Sudan. The human rights violations stem from violence between the government and opposition forces led by Riek Machar [BBC profile]. The report found 114 cases of Sudan's People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and allied militias killing civilians that were...
A settlement [text, PDF] was reached between plaintiffs and several car manufacturers in a lawsuit concerning defective Takata [official website] airbag inflators on Thursday. The faulty airbags would rupture and expel debris, causing injury and damage to the vehicle's cabin. At least 16 deaths [NPR report] were linked to the defect. Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW [corporate websites] will collectively pay out $553 million in a deal that covers nearly 16 million vehicles. The settlement will not cover personal injuries...
Romania's parliament [official website] approved legislation on Friday that facilitates financial support for Holocaust survivors. The law, which will be enforced starting July 1, will offer 400 lei (USD $97.98) per month for each year of deportation or detention to those who had their property taken or were forcefully removed from their homes to endure ghettos, concentration camps, death trains and forced labor. The restitution will be provided to those who are no longer Romanian citizens as well as living...
More than a dozen Democratic attorneys general filed a motion to intervene [text, PDF] in a lawsuit that threatens key parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [text] on Thursday. House v. Price (formerly House v. Burwell) [complaint, PDF], a suit currently pending in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website], was filed in an attempt to cut subsidy payments to insurance plans that were created under the ACA that help cover out-of-pocket expenses...
The US Department of the Treasury [official website] on Thursday announced sanctions [press release] against eight Venezuelan Supreme Court justices for usurping democracy. The sanctions come after the court has issued controversial rulings, including dissolving the legislature [JURIST report]. The rulings were met with backlash and protests [JURIST reports]. As a result the treasury announced sanctions against the justices pursuant to Executive Order 13692 [summary]:The eight officials are the President of Venezuela's TSJ, Maikel Jose Moreno Perez, and the seven...
The California Rifle and Pistol Association [advocacy website], the state affiliate of the National Rifle Association (NRA), filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday seeking to prevent California from enforcing stricter gun laws. The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against the measure [section 32310] that limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds. The complaint argues the restrictions are in violation of the constitutional right to carry arms and due process:Finally, Section 32310 violates the Due Process Clause. Banning magazines over...
Sweden's Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, dropped [decision, PDF] the preliminary investigation of rape charges against WikiLeaks [official website] founder Julian Assange on Friday. The decision was made on the grounds that in order to continue with court proceedings, Assange would need to be physically present. Assange has been protected by asylum, living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012 when he lost a court battle over extradition [Guardian report] to Sweden for the rape charges. He feared...
Oregon became the second US state to enact legislation [HB 2673A materials] that makes it easier for transgender individuals to change the name and gender on their birth certificates on Thursday. The law [Reuters report] allows transgender Oregon residents to amend their name and gender identification by filling out a form rather than having to post a public notice in the county clerk's office and petition a court. The new system will allow for more privacy and is more cost...
The Brazilian Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday authorized a corruption probe into President Michel Temer [BBC profile] and his alleged involvement with the bribery of a potential witness in a major corruption case. Local news sources have cited the court's decision, but the Supreme Court has yet to release a copy [Valor Econômico report, in Portuguese] of the decision itself. Temer has responded that he will not resign and that he welcomes the investigation [Reuters report] so his innocence...
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer [official website] sent a letter [text] to Congress Thursday communicating the Trump administration's intention to begin the process of re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) [text, PDF]. NAFTA is an international trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada, and has been in place since 1994. Lighthizer cited a lack of modernity in light of more recent digital trade developments as the reason for renegotiation. Lighthizer wrote: In particular, we note that NAFTA...
Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby was found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting of an unarmed black man on Wednesday. Terence Crutcher was fatally shot after his SUV stalled on the side of the road. Shelby testified [NPR report] that she feared Crutcher was under the influence of PCP, a hallucinogen that causes erratic, combative behavior. According to her testimony, Crutcher ignored the officers on scene and placed his hands on the SUV and began to reach inside...
The US House of Representatives passed a bill [press release] Wednesday to impose sanctions on supporters of Syria's Assad regime. Bill 1677 [text, PDF], also known as Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, is hoped to encourage negotiations to end violence and promote the prosecution of war criminals. Chairman Ed Royce delivered a speech on the House floor urging members to vote on the bill and recounted the atrocities people face in Syria. Chairman Royce further stated that, "Syria can't keep...
The US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] on Wednesday granted [order, PDF] a temporary restraining order to allow legal aid groups to continue to provide certain kinds of assistance to undocumented immigrants. Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) [advocacy website] filed NWIRP v. Sessions [case summary] after being informed by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) they could no longer provide legal advice to individuals unless they offered full representation of the clients. NWIRP argued...
European Union (EU) antitrust regulators fined [press release] Facebook [corporate website] 122 million dollars on Thursday for misleading information regarding a deal for WhatsApp [corporate website]. The European Commission [official website], found that in order to avoid anti-trust concerns, Facebook stated that it could not automatically match users between Facebook and WhatsApp when it purchased the company in 2014. The European Commission states that the technology to automatically match users existed in 2014 and that Facebook staff were aware of...
The International Court of Justice on Thursday instructed [press release] Pakistan to withhold the execution of an Indian national until after the court's final decision his case. The Jadhav Case (India v. Pakistan) [ICJ docket] centers on alleged violations of consular rights that predated the death sentence [JURIST report] of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, who is accused of being a spy. India brought the case before the court arguing they have no knowledge of the charges against Jadhav, nor are they...
Former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed [DOJ statement] as special counsel to the investigation of Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election on Wednesday. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued the order [text, PDF] in place of Attorney General Jeff Session who recused himself after admitting [NYT report] he had failed to disclose meetings he had with a Russian ambassador while he was serving as an advisor to the Trump campaign. Mueller is authorized to investigate any links and/or...
The European Parliament [official website] passed a resolution [text, PDF] Wednesday accusing Hungary of engaging in actions which have resulted in the "serious deterioration of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights." The organization particularly focused on human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees as well as freedom of education. It calls for [press release] "the Hungarian Government to repeal laws tightening rules against asylum-seekers and non-governmental organisations, and to reach an agreement with the US authorities, making...
[JURIST] The US District Court of the Southern District of New York on Wednesday began hearings on the restructuring of Puerto Rico's debt. The hearing stems from Puerto Rico filing for bankruptcy protection [JURIST report] under Article 3 of PROMESA [text] for its $70 billion debt earlier this month. Chief Justice Roberts appointed [text, PDF] Judge Laura Taylor Swain two weeks ago to hear the case as she has an extensive history [NYT backgrounder] in large debt cases. While proceedings...

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