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] A French court on Wednesday held that ID checks are legal under French law and are not discriminatory. The case was brought [AP report] by 13 individuals from minority groups who were subject to ID checks, requesting €10,000 (USD $13,000) in compensation for each. In addition, they sought to amend the law to require written reports for ID checks that would provide legitimate reasons. The proposal to require written reports was rejected in the past, but there is a...
[JURIST] Three Texas death row inmates on Tuesday filed a lawsuit alleging that the state plans to use new types of drugs in their execution. The complaint claims that Texas has obtained [Reuters report] propofol, midzolam and hydromorphone from manufacturers by pretending to be a hospital. Thus, the drugs would not have been delivered if manufacturers knew that they would be used for executions. The three plaintiffs alleged that the drugs would create pain and that Texas prison officials are...
[JURIST] The Singapore Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday again rejected a challenge [case summary, PDF] to an anti-gay law [Section 377A] criminalizing sexual conduct between men. This section outlaws any kind of sexual conduct between men, both in public and private. Those found guilty under the law can be up to two years imprisonment. Enacted in 1938, the law has not been enforced against those in private. Only recently has the law been used by those pushing for social...
[JURIST] A federal judge on Tuesday rejected constitutional challenges against a new Maryland firearm law that went into effect the same day. The Firearm Safety Act of 2013 [SB 281, PDF] limits certain assault weapons and removable magazines and requires safety training and fingerprint for potential buyers. While the recent ruling rejected the challenges, plaintiffs are still allowed to continue [Reuters report] their cases. In September, several residents, gun store owners and gun rights advocates filed [JURIST report] two lawsuits...
[JURIST] A military judge on Tuesday refused to suspend the pretrial hearings in a case against five Guantanamo Bay prisoners related to the 9/11 [JURIST backgrounders] terrorist attack. Army Col. James Pohl [Miami Herald backgrounder; JURIST news archive] reasoned that the measures taken to respond to the defendants' concerns were adequate [AP report] to continue the hearings. The defense team claimed [JURIST report] that the government's computer network was not secure. The lawyers alleged that confidential data, e-mails and private...
[JURIST] Montgomery County Register of Wills [official website] D. Bruce Hanes on Tuesday appealed a lower court order [text] to cease issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court [official website]. Hanes, who began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples following Attorney General Kathleen Kane's [official website] statement that United States v. Windsor [JURIST reports] ruling left the Pennsylvania Marriage Law [text] unconstitutional. In his appeal, Hanes argues the lower court lacked proper jurisdiction to issue the...
[JURIST] A Vietnamese court on Wednesday sentenced prominent dissident Le Quoc Quan [HRW backgrounder] to 30 months in prison for tax evasion. Quan's imprisonment sparked outrage [AFP report] from hundreds of protesters who believe the verdict was politically motivated and part of a widespread government crackdown on dissent. Quan, a lawyer and blogger, has been a vocal critic of Vietnam's communist government [BBC report] and has written extensively about alleged human rights abuses, religious suppression and political censorship in Vietnam....
[JURIST] A court in Ecuador on Tuesday began the country's first trial for crimes against humanity. Attorney General Galo Chiriboga charged [El Comercio report, in Spanish] nine army officers and a police general with the torture, sexual violence and forced disappearance of three opponents of the government in 1985. The prosecution, led by the Truth Commission [USIP profile], denounced the crimes, which included particularly sadistic forms of torture. The 10 defendants did not have to make an appearance at the...
[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] issued an arrest warrant [document, PDF; press release] on Tuesday for a man accused of tampering with prosecution witnesses in a case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto [ICC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The ICC issued the warrant against Walter Barasa, whom the ICC accuses of attempting to bribe prosecution witnesses [BBC report] and participating in a scheme by Kenyan government officials to interfere with the prosecution. In the press...
[JURIST] A group of independent UN human rights experts expressed concern [press release, PDF] Tuesday over the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and urged the transitional authorities to take urgent measures to protect the population from atrocity crimes and restore public order. There have been continued reports of gross human rights violations in the CAR since the Seleka rebel alliance [WorldWideConflicts backgrounder] seized the nation's capital in March, including the deliberate killing of...
[JURIST] A Brazilian federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Chevron [corporate website] after approving a negotiated settlement, closing a lengthy legal battle over a 2011 oil spill. The leak occurred in November 2011, when a Chevron appraisal well leaked 155,000 gallons of oil, and the following March, when oil resumed leaking from the well and Chevron suspended production in that oil field. Brazilian prosecutors sought [Reuters report] USD $18 billion in damages from Chevron and drilling company Transocean...
[JURIST] Lambda Legal [advocacy website] filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in West Virginia on Tuesday challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban. The suit was filed on behalf of three local same-sex couples [WP report] who are seeking the right to marry as well as the child of one of the couples. The lawsuit alleges that the ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and that it treats same sex couples as second class citizens, denying...
[JURIST] The Hungarian Parliament [official website] on Monday passed a law that allows municipalities to prohibit sleeping in public places, effectively criminalizing homelessness. The law permits [AFP report] local authorities to declare areas prohibited for homeless people and evict those living in huts or shacks near the city. Punishment for violation can include community service, fines or imprisonment. The government claims that hostels have adequate space for the homeless population, although protesters and critics deny that there is enough space....
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Tuesday rejected a request [opinion, PDF] by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] to dismiss a suit over subpoenaed documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious [materials]. The lawsuit [JURIST report], filed in August 2012 by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee against Attorney General Eric Holder [official websites], requests a court order requiring Holder to deliver specific documents subpoenaed by...
[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Monday unsealed an arrest warrant [press release] for an Ivory Coast politician charged with four counts of crimes against humanity. Charles Ble Goude is accused of working with former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to orchestrate a wave of post-election violence between December 2010 and April 2011. Ble Goude is specifically charged with murder, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts from when he led the youth...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday added eight new cases [order list, PDF] to its docket for the upcoming term. In Harris v. Quinn [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether a state can "compel personal care providers to accept and financially support a private organization as their exclusive representative to petition the state for greater reimbursements from its Medicaid programs." The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held [opinion] that "a collective...
[JURIST] The administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie [official website] on Monday sent a letter to the state's supreme court, appealing a lower court ruling [JURIST report] which held that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in the state. Despite Judge Mary Jacobson's finding that the state's current process of civil unions deprives same-sex couples of federal benefits enjoyed by married couples, Christie has argued that the federal government should be held responsible [AP report] for denying benefits...
[JURIST] The Spanish government must do more to provide information on the whereabouts of individuals who disappeared during the Spanish Civil War [BBC backgrounder] and the Francisco Franco regime, experts from the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] demanded [press release] Monday. The working group compiled preliminary observations and recommendations [text, in Spanish] during a visit to Spain last week. The UN representatives criticized the Spanish government, stating that, "since the return of democracy, Spain has...
[JURIST] The International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [JURIST news archive] on Monday sentenced Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a member of parliament for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website], to death for war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Chowdhury is the first member of the BNP to stand trial [BBC report] for war crimes under the tribunal set up by the Awami League [party website] led government in 2010. He was found guilty on nine of...
[JURIST] US District Judge Myron Thompson approved a settlement [opinion, PDF] Monday that will end segregation of HIV-positive inmates in Alabama prisons. The settlement came as a result of a 2012 decision [opinion, PDF] by Thompson, who found that separating HIV-positive inmates from other inmates was discriminatory [JURIST report] and lacked a medical basis. In the settlement, the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) [official website] agreed to end the segregation of HIV-positive inmates, including the practice in which incoming HIV-positive...

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