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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[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Monday. The court heard arguments first in Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc. [transcript, PDF; JURIST report], a long-running patent infringement case. Biosig sued Nautilus [corporate websites] in 2004, alleging that Nautilus infringed its patent for a heart rate monitor. A district court found Biosig's patent invalid because of "indefiniteness." However, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the lower court...
[JURIST] The United Church of Christ (UCC) [church website] on Monday filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; materials] challenging North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban on the grounds that it restricts freedom of religion. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on behalf of UCC reverends and same-sex couples. The UCC believes that North Carolina marriage laws "limit ministers' choices, violate the principle of 'free exercise of religion' upon which the church is...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to determine the requirements of the Truth in Lending Act [15 USC § 1635]. The Jesinoskis refinanced their house with Countrywide Home Loans in 2007, but Countrywide failed to furnish the Jesinoskis with all the information and disclosures required by the Act. The Jesinoskis attempted to rescind their loan transaction under 15 USC § 1635(a),...
[JURIST] A Slovenian appeals court on Monday upheld the conviction and two-year sentence of former prime minister Janez Jansa [personal website]. Jansa was convicted of corruption [JURIST report] in June along with two others for soliciting bribes while signing a defense contract with the Finnish company Patria for a supply of armored vehicles. Investigators believe that Jansa and his accomplices expected to receive €21 million. The two defendants with Jasna were sentenced to 22 months in prison, and all three...
[JURIST] An Egyptian judge on Monday sentenced 683 alleged supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to death, including the group's supreme guide, Mohamed Badie [Washington Institute backgrounder]. The judge also confirmed [Al Jazeera report] the death sentence of 37 of 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced to death in March [JURIST report]. The remaining defendants sentences were commuted to life prison. Under Egyptian law the death sentence recommendations in the case of Badie and the 682...
[JURIST] Egyptian courts over the weekend convicted many supporters of the ousted former president Mohamed Morsi on charges including violence and rioting. According to AFP reports, 13 supporters were sentenced on Saturday and another [AFP reports] 42 on Sunday. Those sentenced on Saturday were convicted of offenses ranging from offending the public order to rioting and sabotage during protests in August 2013. Prison terms for those offenders range from five to 88 years. Sunday saw 42 individuals sentenced to terms...
[JURIST] Nepalese lawmakers [official website] passed legislation on Friday that could grant amnesty to former Maoist rebels and security forces accused of committing various war crimes, including torture and murder, during the nation's civil war. The bill establishes [AFP report] two bodies for addressing the alleged commission of war crimes, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Commission on the Disappeared. The commissions will investigate accusations of war crimes and hold hearings to determine if those found guilty of serious...
[JURIST] The Libyan News Agency [agency website] reported on Sunday that the son of Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [JURIST news archive], and other officials have appeared for their trial via video conferencing. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared at his trial [AP report] through video-conferencing because he has been held in Zintan by a militia since 2011. Human Rights Watch reported [JURIST report] in February that Libya has failed to grant due process rights to Gaddafi...
[JURIST] A Bahraini [BBC backgrounder] court on Sunday sentenced eight activists to life in prison for killing a policeman and participating in anti-regime protests in August. The eight pro-democracy protesters said [PressTV report] that they confessed while being tortured. Harsh sentences for activists have become a trend in Bahrain. Since 2011 thousands of pro-democracy demonstrations have been held in the streets of Bahrain concerning the Al Khalifa family [official profile] relinquishing their power over the state. Shortly after the protests...
[JURIST] The Florida Senate [official website] approved a bill [press release] Friday that will prevent most abortions after the fetus reaches viability. The legislation would require the doctor to conduct an exam before performing an abortion to determine if the fetus is viable. The bill could reportedly prevent abortions [Florida Times-Union report] as early as the twentieth week of pregnancy. If the bill is signed into law, Florida will join 23 states with similar legislation. The bill will be delivered...
[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus Miklos Haraszti [official profile] called [press release] Friday for Belarus, currently the only European nation that has retained the death penalty, to end the practice. The statement was issued following the reported execution of Pavel Sialiun who was put to death at an unknown date without notification of his family while his complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee [official website] was still pending. "It is unacceptable that Belarusians must live in the fear...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] on Friday renewd claims [opinion] by Apple against Google subsidiary Google's Motorola Mobility [corporate websites] for infringing smartphone patents. Judge Richard Posner, sitting in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website], dismissed [JURIST report] both company's patent claims against each other in 2012 before trial, ruling that a sales ban would harm consumers. The Federal Circuit has called for the district court to...
[JURIST] The Periodic Review Secretariat [official website], a national security panel under the authority of the US Department of Defense (DoD) [official website], on Thursday recommended [official determination, PDF] the release of a Yemeni prisoner currently held at Guantanamo Bay. The prisoner, Ali Ahmad Mohamed al-Razihi [NYT profile], was suspected of acting as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and has been held at Guantanamo since 2002. The Periodic Review Secretariat determines [docket] whether certain individuals detained at Guantanamo represent...
[JURIST] Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] Chairman Tom Wheeler [official profile] on Thursday announced [press release] plans to adopt new rules to protect open Internet access and ensure Internet service providers (ISPs) promote transparency with their consumers. Experts say the new rules will create a "fast lane" for certain websites and services, which may enable companies to enter into pay-for-play agreements [WP report] with ISPs to ensure their data is transmitted at a faster speed for special services or...
[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Friday announced [press release] that it has begun a preliminary investigation into allegations of crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Though Ukraine is not a member of the ICC, it has granted the court jurisdiction over crimes in its territory from November 21, 2013, to February 22, 2014, under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute [text]. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, as a matter of policy in accordance with the Rome Statute, opened a...
[JURIST] A judge for the Pulaski County Circuit Court for the 6th Division [official website] on Thursday struck down [opinion] an Arkansas voter ID law, finding that it violates the state constitution. In the order granting summary judgment to the Pulaski County Election Commission [official website], Judge Tim Fox found Act 595 [bill, PDF] violates Article 3 §1 and Article 3 U§2 of the Arkansas constitution [text, PDF]. The law requires that voters present a limited range of government forms...
[JURIST] Lawmakers in Kosovo on Wednesday voted 89-22 to create an EU-backed court that will investigate crimes committed by ethnic Albanian rebels during the 1998 war with Serbia [BBC backgrounder]. The move follows [AP report] international pressure for Kosovo to open a state investigation into civilian killings committed by the rebel side. The court will be based in Kosovo, though most of the work will be carried out in the Netherlands. Similar to the operations of the International Criminal Tribunal...
[JURIST] Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant [official website] on Wednesday signed a bill into law that bans abortions after 20 weeks after a woman's last menstrual period, or as early as 18 weeks of pregnancy. The bill [text], passed [JURIST report] earlier this month, allows [AP report] for an exception to the ban if the woman faces death or permanent injury because of the pregnancy or if the fetus suffers from a severe abnormality. The bill will go into effect on...
[JURIST] UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Ivory Coast Doudou Diene on Wednesday called on [press release] authorities in the Ivory Coast to undertake broad consultations on the reform of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) [official website]. Diene's statements follow the recent adoption of a bill on the IEC's composition, organization, powers and functioning, in response to his specific recommendation. Diene stressed the importance of reaching consensus on the mapping of electoral districts, voters' lists...
[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Oklahoma [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that two inmates' constitutional rights were not violated by keeping sources of lethal injection drugs secret. The 5-4 opinion affirmed [AP report] the district court's declaratory judgment that denied the prisoners relief and reversed the declaratory judgment that found confidentiality of the source of drug cocktails unconstitutional. The secrecy provision in Title 22 §1015(B) of the Oklahoma statutes [text] states, "The identity of all persons who participate in...

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