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 judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Tuesday denied [opinion, PDF] Paul Manfort's request to dismiss indictments against him that arose out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's [official website] investigation.. Manafort had called for the dismissal of the indictment arguing that the indictment exceeded the limits on the Special Counsel's authority to issue appointments and exceeded his authority to investigate the charges. Specifically, Manafort stated that paragraph (b)(ii) of the appointment order,...
Former Malaysian prime minister Anwar Ibrahim received a royal pardon Wednesday and was released after serving three years of his five-year sentence. He was sentenced for sodomy in proceedings that were widely seen as politically motivated [JURIST report]. Amnesty International had previously called [JURIST report] Anwar's imprisonment a human rights violation. Malaysia held elections on May 9—their first elections in which an opposition coalition emerged victorious. Newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed now holds the distinction of being the oldest...
Texas, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada and Pittsburgh [complaints, PDF] filed lawsuits on Tuesday against Purdue Pharma LP [corporate website] and other opioid painkiller makers, alleging the companies contributed to the current opioid crisis by misrepresenting the risks of their drugs. Attorneys General of the states allege that Purdue deceptively marketed its drug to profit, thereby violating state deceptive trade laws by falsely denying or minimizing the risk of addiction. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accuses [press release]...
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [text] on Tuesday against the State of Iowa and the Iowa Board of Medicine in the Iowa District Court of Polk County [official website] over a recently passed abortion law, Senate File 359 [text]. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the enforcement of Section 4 of the Act, which makes it illegal to perform an abortion if there is a detectable heartbeat of the fetus. Planned Parenthood notes that this can...
[JURIST] Maryland Governor Larry Hogan [official website] signed [press release, PDF] a bill on Tuesday that will ban conversion therapy from being practiced on LGBT minors. SB 1028 [text] defines conversion therapy as "a practice or treatment by a mental health or child care practitioner that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity." Conversion therapy is now defined as "unprofessional conduct" and health care practitioners could be subjected to disciplinary action. The bill was introduced in the...
The Greek parliament [official website] approved a draft bill [materials, in Greek] on Tuesday to expedite the asylum process for migrants and refugees and cure the overcrowded refugee island camps. The bill addresses "issues concerning the reception, hosting and integration of asylum seekers and refugees, speeding up asylum procedures as well as provisions related to immigration policy." The Migration Policy Ministry [official website] drafted the bill in accordance with two EU directives to speed up asylum processes and protect refugees....
The US Department of Justice announced [press release] Tuesday that it joined [complaint, PDF] a whistleblower lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics Inc. on Monday in an effort to combat the opioid crisis. The DOJ will take over prosecuting the False Claims Act case in the US District Court for the Central District of California [official website], against Insys, which produces the fentanyl nasal spray Subsys. According to the complaint, Insys has caused federal healthcare programs to pay for Subsys for uses...
Human rights defenders in Pakistan have been the targets of cyber attacks, according to an Amnesty International [advocacy website] report [text, PDF] Tuesday. The report identifies four different methods of cyber attacks that are being utilized. These include the use of fake social media accounts to deliver malicious surveillance technologies to human rights defenders, phishing attempts to steal human rights defenders' Facebook and Google credentials, malware known as Crimson that is used for long-term surveillance, and spyware known as StealthAgent...
Federal judge Mark Walker for the US District Court of the Northern District of Florida [official website] denied [order, PDF] the request by the National Rifle Association (NRA) [advocacy website] on Sunday to use pseudonyms for teenagers involved in the legal challenge against new Florida gun laws. In March, the Florida legislature passed new restrictions [text, PDF] to purchasing a firearm, including raising the age limit from 18 to 21 years. The NRA quickly filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging...
The High Court of Taiwan [official website] on Tuesday sentenced former president Ma Ying-jeou to four months jail for leaking national security and legal documents along with information pertaining to opposition Ker Chien-ming. The High Court of Taiwan overturned a decision from a lower district court, convicting Ma of violating the Communications and Surveillance Act. Ma has pledged to appeal the decision but could still avoid his sentence by paying a fine of roughly USD $4,000. Ma's conviction comes at...
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory Michael Lynk [official profile] on Tuesday condemned [press release] Israel's excessive use of force toward unarmed protesters at the Gaza fence. For the past few months, human rights experts and the International Criminal Court (ICC) [JURIST reports] have called for the Israeli government to address its military's fatal use of force against Palestinian civilians. On Monday, an attack at the border left 58 Palestinians dead and...
An Egyptian high court acquitted two police officers on Sunday who were accused of torturing and killing a prominent lawyer, Karim Hamdi, while he was in custody. Hamdi was arrested [AP report] on suspicion of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group recognized as a terrorist organization in Egypt. In recent years, the Egyptian government has convicted and sentenced Muslim Brotherhood figures [JURIST report] in a crackdown of its members that once held political prominence in the country....
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that a wiretap order authorized by a Kansas judge in an investigation of a drug ring was not insufficient on its face, thereby denying the petitioners' request for suppression of the evidence. Los and Roosevelt Dahda had asked the court to suppress evidence obtained through wiretap orders due to the orders explicitly allowing interception of communication outside the jurisdiction of the judge who authorized the orders. However, the government did...
Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] Philip Luther on Monday called [AI report] the use of force by Israeli military against protestors along the border of Gaza and Israel as "wilful killings constituting war crimes." There have been numerous reports of Palestinians being killed and injured as a result of the force used by Israeli military. According to Luther, the events that have unfolded at the border are:another horrific...
The US Supreme Court [official website] unanimously ruled [opinion, PDF] on Monday in Byrd v. US [SCOTUSblog materials] that a driver who is in control or possession of a vehicle, but not listed on the rental agreement, still has a reasonable expectation of privacy, as provided under the Fourth Amendment [text]. The case arose after in 2014 Terrence Byrd had pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of heroin and a bulletproof vest after being pulled over by Pennsylvania state troopers for...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] unanimously Monday in US v. Sanchez-Gomez [SCOTUSblog materials] that defendants' constitutional objection to shackling was not saved from mootness because the defendants "sought 'class-like relief' in a 'functional class action'" nor because "the challenged practice was 'capable of repetition' yet 'evading review.'" A policy adopted by the US District Court for the Southern District of California [official website] allows marshals to produce all in-custody pretrial defendants for non-jury proceedings in full...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday added two cases, BNSF Railway Company v. Loos and Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. Devries [SCOTUSblog materials], to its docket for next term. In BNSF Railway Company, the central issue to be decided is whether BNSF's court-ordered payments to Loos for time lost from work is subject to employment taxes under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). Loos, who had worked for BNSF for 15 years as a brakeman, switchman and...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 6-3 Monday in McCoy v. Louisiana [SCOTUSblog materials] that a defense lawyer cannot admit a client's guilt over the client's objection, even when the lawyer believes this is the client's best chance of avoiding the death penalty. The case arose after Robert McCoy's defense counsel conceded guilt, despite McCoy's express objection, because he believed it was his ethical duty to save his client's life and conceding guilt would do so. The...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday in Murphy v. NCAA [SCOTUSblog materials] that the decision of legalizing sports gambling should be left to state lawmakers. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) [text], passed by Congress in 1992, made it unlawful for a state to authorize these gambling schemes, allowing the Attorney General and various sports organization to bring civil actions to enjoin any violations. In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito highlighted the importance...
The UN Special Rapporteur on racism E Tendayi Achiume [official profile] on Friday commended [press release] the UK government for its policies aimed at preventing racism but urged further action to end discrimination. In the full report [text], Tendayi Achiume recognized widespread structural discrimination faced by ethic minorities, ranging from access to education to disproportionate law enforcement. The report calls for a unified policy across the UK that lays out a strategy to eliminate these disparities, while including the community...

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