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] California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] on Wednesday signed a bill [AB-154] that allows nurse practitioners and other non-physicians to perform an early abortion during the first trimester. The bill was introduced due to a lack of physicians who could perform abortions, which was preventing women from accessing such procedures. The new law requires [NYT report] non-physicians to undergo special training in performing abortions, but opponents argued that the new law will lower the medical standards, thereby endangering women's...
[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar [official website], Tomas Ojea Quintana, on Wednesday welcomed [press release] a recent release of 56 prisoners of conscience in Myanmar [JURIST news archive] through presidential amnesty. Quintana noted that the releases are important for a "democratic transition and national reconciliation." Still, he stressed the continuing arrests and maltreatment of activists in the country. He urged that the releases should be unconditional, referring to the current Code of Criminal...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Wednesday. In United States v. Woods [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court heard arguments on whether 26 USC § 6662 of the Internal Revenue Code [texts], which prescribes a penalty for an underpayment of federal income tax that is "attributable to" an overstatement of basis in property, applies to an underpayment resulting from a determination that a transaction lacks economic substance because the sole...
[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed suit on Wednesday challenging the inclusion of three abortion-related amendments in the state budget [HB 59] passed in June. Filed on behalf of a Cleveland-based women's health clinic, the ACLU claims that the amendments violate a state constitution provision known as the "single subject rule." According to the Article II, Section 15(D) [text] of the Ohio Constitution, "No bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be...
[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Miklos Haraszti, urged the Belarusian government on Wednesday to immediately cease executions of its citizens until legislation related to capital punishment and the court system can be reformed. According to Haraszti [press release], executions are administered via a gunshot to the back of the head, while information is withheld from the relevant parties regarding the date of execution and burial site. The lack of transparency, Haraszti states,...
[JURIST] The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) [advocacy website] on Wednesday filed a complaint [press release] against the UN [official website] for compensation of Haiti's cholera victims and their families. The complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] and comes amid the UN's refusal to compensate the victims earlier this year. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] stated [press release] that the claims brought on behalf...
[JURIST] US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel [official website] named [press release] Paul Lewis as Special Envoy to oversee the eventual closing of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] on Tuesday. Lewis will join his US State Department [official website] counterpart, Clifford Sloan [professional profile], in working toward closing the detention center. His main duties will relate to the transfer of detainees, including those to be transferred to and within Afghanistan. There are currently 164 prisoners held in Guantanamo. Lewis previously served as...
[JURIST] The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh (ICTB) [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday found Abdul Alim, leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website] in the nation's war for independence in 1971 [Banglapedia backgrounder], guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The tribunal, which was established in 2009 under the International Crimes Act [text] is charged with investigating and prosecuting war crimes committed during the conflict in which about 3 million people were killed....
[JURIST] A Egyptian court on Wednesday set the trial date for the ousted president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for November 4. Along with Morsi, 14 other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], including Essam el-Erian and Mohammed el-Beltagy, will be tried [AP report] on the same day. The defendants were charged [JURIST report] in September with "incitement to murder" stemming from violent protests that took place last year. Morsi and other high-level Brotherhood...
[JURIST] A Turkish appeals court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of several former military officers for plotting to overthrow the regime of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [official website, in Turkish; JURIST news archive] in 2003. The court upheld 20-year prison sentences [Reuters report] for former commanders Cetin Dogan and Ozden Ornek. Supporters of the military officers argued that the trials were politically motivated and an attempt by Erdogan's Islamist-rooted government to suppress secularism. Lawyers for the retired military officials...
[JURIST] US President Barack Obama's administration on Tuesday upheld a decision [text, PDF; JURIST report] by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) [official website] to ban some Samsung products on the grounds that the products infringed on designs patented by Apple [corporate websites]. US Trade Representative Michael Froman [official website] declared [IT World report] that the import ban would protect intellectual property rights and would have only a minimal effect on the availability of Samsung products because Samsung has redesigned...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday affirmed [opinion, PDF] a preliminary injunction against a portion of Arizona's controversial immigration law [SB 1070, PDF]. The provision in question makes it illegal to transport, shield or harbor an undocumented immigrant within Arizona borders, creating a separate crime for someone who is violating any other law while also transporting or harboring such an individual. The provision would also make it a crime to encourage or...
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that the Detainee Treatment Act [text] prevents the court from having jurisdiction over a former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainee's lawsuit for damages. Adel Hassan Hamad [JURIST news archive], a Sudanese national, was captured in 2002 and transferred to Guantanamo prior to an agreement an agreement to transfer him to Sudan in 2007. Hamad states that that he was wrongfully detained and subjected to...
[JURIST] California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] vetoed [text] a bill [AB 1401] on Monday that would have permitted lawful permanent immigrants to serve on juries. The bill's supporters compared [Reuters report] disqualifying permanent residents to outdated laws that preventing women and minorities from serving on juries, while the opposition felt the measure could prevent a defendants from having cases decided by a jury of their peers. The veto stated, "[j]ury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility...
[JURIST] EU lawmakers on Tuesday approved sweeping new regulations [text] to curb smoking, including limits on electronic cigarettes, bigger warnings on cigarette packs and a ban on menthol, or any flavored cigarettes which could be considered "gimmicks." An EU press release [text] outlined the changes, which include graphic warnings that cover 65 percent of the packaging. Current warnings cover only 30 percent of the packaging. More than 700,000 people in the EU die from causes related to smoking each year,...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Tuesday in a campaign finance case. In McCutcheon v. FEC [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) [text] limit on individual campaign contributions. The court previously held in Buckley v. Valeo [opinion] that limits on contributions implicate First Amendment interests but that limits may be imposed as long as they are closely drawn to match a...
[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] reported its busiest year on record [text, PDF] to the UN General Assembly [official website] on Tuesday. In the report, the ICC called for greater support [press release] from the UN Security Council[official website]. The ICC report talked about the futility of its decisions without the power to enforce them and discussed the courts' heavy workload and 13 outstanding arrest warrants. The court has eight situations under investigation and an additional eight...
[JURIST] Turkey lifted its ban on women wearing traditional Islamic headscarves in public institutions on Tuesday. The official lifting of the ban occurred just eight days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [official website, in Turkish; JURIST news archive] announced the change, which is part of a package of human rights reforms [JURIST report] that Erdogan proposed. The reform package will include allowing Kurdish language education and reducing barriers to entry for Kurdish political parties. In a speech to...
[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez [official profile] on Monday urged [press release] the US to immediately end the solitary confinement imposed in 1972 on a former Black Panther. Albert Woodfox [AI backgrounder] was serving a prison sentence for armed robbery in 1972, when he and another inmate Herman Wallace were charged and convicted [AP report] of fatally stabbing a guard. The men were first moved to isolation in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and later to...
[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants [official website] Francois Crepeau urged [press release] the EU on Monday to adopt a new approach to migration that focuses on the rights of migrants. The discussion was centered around last week's sinking of the Lampedusa [BBC report] off the coast of Italy, which claimed the lives of 194 Eritrean and Somali migrants. Crepeau visited Italy in May to study the external border management of the EU and its...

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