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 jury in Washington, DC, acquitted [press release] Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the ringleader of the 2012 Benghazi attacks, of murder on Tuesday, but convicted him on terrorism charges. After five days of deliberations, the jury found him guilty of one count of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to terrorists, one count of providing material support or resources to terrorists, one count of maliciously destroying and injuring dwellings and property, and placing lives in jeopardy within the special maritime...
The European Court of Justice ruled [judgment] Wednesday that EU workers are entitled to paid annual leave. The case was brought by a UK worker who had requested pay from his former employer for leave not taken from 1999-2012 in his sales job. The employer claimed under UK Working Time Regulations 1998 Regulation 13(9) [regulation] that the worker was not entitled to carry over leave into a new year. The court interpreted Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of...
The Australian Senate on Wednesday passed [text] a same-sex marriage bill, by a 43 to 12 vote. The Marriage Amendment [text, PDF] amends the Marriage Act 1961 [text] by redefining marriage by introducing non-gendered language permitting same-sex marriages. The decision to pass the bill comes after a national postal survey was conducted [JURIST report] where over 61 percent voted in favor of same-sex marriage. The bill was passed unamended, despite recommendations to ensure that religious freedoms were not harmed and...
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau [official website] issued a formal apology [video] Tuesday for the historic suppression of and discrimination against the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community as well as mentioning economic compensation efforts and new legislation. During his speech Trudeau apologized for the indiscretions made throughout history toward Canada's LGBTQ+ community: "It is with shame and sorrow and deep regret for the things we have done that I stand here today and say: We were...
Japan's Supreme Court [Official website] ruled [judgment, PDF, in Japanese] Wednesday that the crime of indecent assault does not require a sexual intention. The case came before the supreme court after a man denied [Japan Times report] having sexual intent when he molested and took nude photos of a girl under the age of 13. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison by a lower court. The man stated that because he only took the pictures to send them...
[JURIST] In a ruling from the bench Tuesday, US District Judge Timothy Kelly of the District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] refused a request [WP report] for a temporary restraining order that would have prohibited Mick Mulvaney [official profile] from serving as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) [official website]. The request was initially filed [JURIST report] by Leandra English, the CFPB's deputy director who was slated to become the agency's temporary chief director....
The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) [advocacy website] on Tuesday called [press release] for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to investigate allegations of war crimes in Yemen by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recruiting foreign nationals to serve in an army of mercenaries. AOHR UK sent letters to the governments of Australia, Chile, El Salvador, Colombia and Panama, all countries where recruitment took place, asking that they "withdraw their citizens from these dangerous...
The Germany Federal Constitutional Court [official website, in german] on Tuesday ruled [order, in German] against increased prices for telephone calls for prisoners. The complaint was brought by an inmate after a 2015 tariff increase by the sole telephone service provider for the prison. There were other providers available in the market and the inmate argued that the use of the more expensive option was a violation of his constitutional rights. While acknowledging that telephone services need not be provided...
A federal judge in Boston ruled to delay [order] efforts to deport 51 Indonesian Christians on Monday. The petitioners originally fled their home country to avoid religious prosecution and have been living in New Hampshire under an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website]. They may now be subject to final deportation due to the Trump administration's heightened immigration regulations. The petitioners had complied with a 2010 ICE program called "Operation Indonesian Surrender." Under this initiative, Indonesian nationals...
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Monday issued an order [text, PDF] stating that the US Military must begin enlisting transgender individuals starting January 1, 2018. Monday's order is a clarification of a October 30 preliminary injunction [JURIST report] issued at the governments request. In June 2016, the Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] signaled a departure [JURIST report] from its long-established policies banning recruitment of openly transgender military personnel....
Freedom Watch [advocacy website] announced [press release] Monday that they have filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] seeking the removal of Robert Mueller as head of the investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election. The complaint alleges that the former FBI director has "failed to carry out his oath of office, and fulfill his duties." The complaint says the special counsel's conflicts of interests have led to leaks, citing articles from various media outlets which contained confidential information, including NBC,...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments in two economic related cases on Tuesday. The first case, Cyan v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund [SCOTUSblog materials], examines whether a state court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear a class action that only alleges claims under the federal Securities Act of 1933 [text]. During the arguments in Cyan [transcript, PDF], counsel for Cyan argued that the Securities Uniform Standard Act (SUSA) [text, PDF] eliminated concurrent jurisdiction for many...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined to rule [order list, PDF] on a Nebraska law which limits protesting around funerals. The Nebraska Funeral Picketing Law [text], which was enacted in 2006, originally prohibited [Omaha World-Herald report] protests within 300 feet of a cemetery, mortuary, or church if it occurs one hour prior or two hours after a funeral. The law was amended in 2011 to extend the restricted area to 500 feet. The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church,...
Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] on Monday called on donor governments to defend [HRW report] the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) [Official Website], which Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen [BBC profile] has called on the Interior Ministry to shut down. HRW reports that, in a speech given on Sunday, Hun Sen said "[t]he Center for Human Rights in Phnom Penh must be closed down, because this one does what its told by foreigners. The Ministry of Interior should...
The US Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments in two patent law cases challenging the constitutionality and statutory interpretation of the patent review process. The first case, Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group [transcript, PDF], challenges the constitutionality of the inter partes review process implemented in 2011 under theAmerica Invents Act [text, PDF]. In challenging the validity of an issued patent, Congress implemented the two-stage review process [SCOTUSblog report] to combat the lengthy and expensive review process...
Pakistani Law Minister Zahid Hamid [official website] on Monday resigned [announcement, Express Tribune] from his office after a three week long protest against the changed wording of an electoral oath. The main opposition group protesting the change, Tehreek-e-Labaik [official website], were upset over the replacement of "I solemnly swear" with "I believe" in reference to recognizing Mohammad as Islam's last prophet in the oath of an elected official, arguing that the change amounted to blasphemy. This led to three weeks...
A three-judge panel of the Bangladesh High Court [official website] on Monday upheld 139 death sentences and 146 life imprisonments relating to the 2009 mutiny [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] that resulted in the death of 74 people including 54 senior government or military officials. Most of the defendants were soldiers and members of the paramilitary boarder security force Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), which has been subsequently renamed Border Guard Bangladesh [official website]. In 2013 a lower court sentenced [JURIST report]...
The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear [order list, PDF] an appeal from African-American attorney Carlos Moore who sought to have the Mississippi state flag's Confederate battle emblem "declared an unconstitutional relic of slavery." Moore filed suit [complaint, PDF] against Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant [official website] in February, 2016, arguing that the current official state flag's confederate emblem "encourages or incites private citizens to commit acts of racial violence in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the...
The US Supreme Court stated on Monday that it would not review [order list, PDF] a lawsuit over a drone strike in Yemen that killed five people. Earlier this year, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia [official website] dismissed [decision, PDF] a lawsuit by the families of two Yemeni men allegedly killed by a US drone strike in 2012. The plaintiffs argued that two family members were victims of a "'signature strike,' an attack where the...
The US Supreme Court on Monday denied review [order list, PDF] of two challenges to state gun restrictions backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) [advocacy website]. The first [Fourth Circuit opinion] was a challenge to Maryland's ban on semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines, and the second [Florida Supreme Court opinion] was a challenge to Florida's ban on the open carrying of guns in public. In both cases, the lower courts upheld the restrictions, allowing the state laws to remain...

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