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] Wednesday in two cases. In Lozano v. Montoya Alvarez [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court will determine whether a district court considering a petition under the Hague Convention [text; JURIST news archive] for the return of an abducted child may equitably toll the running of the one-year filing period when the abducting parent has concealed the whereabouts of the child from the left-behind parent. While the US...
[JURIST] Uruguay's Senate [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday passed a measure [text, PDF, in Spanish] to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. The bill, if signed into law by President Jose Mujica [official website, in Spanish], will make Uruguay the first country in the world [AP report] to have a system that regulates marijuana production, sale and consumption. The bill, which was unveiled in June 2012, has caused controversy, as it is in contravention to the provisions...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday in Kansas v. Cheever [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that the Fifth Amendment [text] does not prohibit the government from introducing evidence from a court-ordered mental evaluation of a criminal defendant to rebut that defendant's presentation of expert testimony in support of a defense of voluntary intoxication. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for a unanimous court: "We hold that where a defense expert who has examined the defendant testifies that the defendant lacked...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Tuesday in two cases. In the consolidated cases of Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation and American Lung Association v. EME Homer City Generation [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court is considering the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] under the Clean Air Act [text, PDF] to issue a regulation limiting power plants' emissions that cross state lines. The US Court of...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday in Sprint Communications, Inc. v. Jacobs [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST report] that the federal court did not have to delay proceedings while a similar state court proceeding was ongoing. The case dealt with the application of Younger v. Harris [opinion] where state regulations affect telephone-via-internet calls. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for a unanimous court:Circumstances fitting within the Younger doctrine, we have stressed, are "exceptional"; they include ... "state criminal...
[JURIST] Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich [official website; BBC profile] stated on Tuesday at a televised round-table discussion that a working group is likely to return to Brussels to continue talks on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement [EU backgrounder], a planned trade pact with the EU. Yanukovich's earlier decision to abandon the trade pact was reportedly influenced by Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian; JURIST news archive], who threatened trade sanctions against Ukraine, should the Ukraine back the EU's trade...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday dismissed [order, PDF] a case dealing with labor law on the grounds that certiorari was improvidently granted. In Unite Here Local 355 v. Martin Mulhall [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] the court addressed the issue of whether an employer and union can violate §302 of Labor Management Relations Act [29 USC § 186, text] by entering into an agreement under which the employer exercises its freedom of speech by promising to remain neutral to...
[JURIST] Radical cleric Abu Qatada [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges in a Jordanian court on Tuesday and challenged the court's authority to try him under the terms of his deportation [JURIST report] from Britain earlier this year. Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, argued that the presence of a military judge in the three-judge panel overseeing his trial violates an agreement [JURIST report] that the Jordanian and British governments had worked...
[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] announced [press release] on Monday that it has filed a complaint against the UK government over concerns that the country's intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) [official website] unlawfully accessed AI's communications. Following disclosures by Edward Snowden [BBC profile] about the US PRISM program [JURIST backgrounder] run by the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website], it was revealed that GCHQ may have also subjected people to blanket surveillance through a program called Tempora. AI...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] Monday in two cases. In Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court heard arguments on "Whether Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) [text, PDF] immunity may be denied without a determination that the air carrier's disclosure was materially false." The ATSA requires airlines and their employees to report to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) [official website] any and all potential security threats...
[JURIST] UN human rights experts on Monday called on the Iraqi government to provide information on seven residents of Camp Ashraf [map] who were allegedly abducted in September amidst an attack that left 52 people dead [UNAMI report]. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] demanded that the Iraqi government "speed up the investigations in order to disclose the fate and whereabouts of the individuals." UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading...
[JURIST] UN human rights experts on Monday called on the Iraqi government to provide information on seven residents of Camp Ashraf [map] who were allegedly abducted in September amidst an attack that left 52 people dead [UNAMI report]. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] demanded that the Iraqi government "speed up the investigations in order to disclose the fate and whereabouts of the individuals." UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading...
[JURIST] Two UN human rights experts on Monday urged [press release] the Bangladesh government to halt the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) [party website; GlobalSecurity backgrounder] Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Mollah, based on concerns that he did not receive a fair trial. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh [official website] sentenced Mollah to death [JURIST report] without appeal in September, and his execution could occur as early as Tuesday. Gabriela Knaul [official profile], UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges...
[JURIST] Beijing prosecutors on Monday said that they received from police a letter of recommendation to bring charges against Xu Zhiyong [BBC report; JURIST report] for disrupting public order. Xu was arrested in August for organizing demonstrations and campaigning for Chinese officials to reveal their wealth, in an attempt to combat corruption. Xu is a law lecturer at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications [academic website] and founder of the Open Constitution Initiative (Gongmeng) [Economist report]. Xu had also...
[JURIST] A Kuwaiti court on Monday acquitted 70 opposition members of charges related to the 2011 storming of the parliament. At least nine of the acquitted were former members of parliament. The 2011 demonstrations over allegations of high-level corruption prompted Kuwaiti authorities to tighten security measures nationwide. At the time, opposition lawmakers sought to question then prime minister Sheik Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah [BBC backgrounder] regarding alleged financial wrongdoing. The opposition stormed parliament after it voted against questioning Nasser. Nasser was...
[JURIST] Pakistan's military partially complied with a Supreme Court [official website] ruling on Saturday by producing before the court several prisoners out of the hundreds it has been secretly holding without charges. Human rights lawyers and relatives of the prisoners have fought to obtain information [Reuters report] about the detainees, some of whom disappeared from jails while others were directly apprehended by security forces. Most have not appeared in court to be officially charged with a crime, and other prisoners...
[JURIST] The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official websites] released a report [text, PDF] Sunday stating that although there was an increase of reported acts of violence against women to the Afghan authorities in the past year, prosecutions and convictions under the landmark Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) [text, PDF] law remained low, and most cases were settled through mediation. The reported incidents of forced marriage,...
[JURIST] A misdemeanor court in Egypt on Sunday acquitted 155 protesters who were arrested in connection with the violent clashes with police in October. The court dismissed the charges [Al-Ahram report, Arabic] of assaulting a police officer and vandalism. This group was specifically tied to violence on October 6 that killed almost 50 people. Thousands remain in jail awaiting trial, including former president Mohamed Morsi [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], following the police crackdown on protesters supporting the Muslim Brotherhood...
[JURIST] US Supreme Court [official website] Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday denied an application [text, PDF] to stay the merger of US Airways and American Airlines [corporate websites] without issuing an opinion. The group of consumers filed the application based on similar antitrust claims already brought and settled [JURIST report] by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website]. Specifically, the individuals claimed this merger would violate sections 7 and 16 of the Clayton Antitrust Act [text]. To support...
[JURIST] Japan's parliament on Friday passed a controversial secrecy law amid widespread protests. The law, which has drawn protests [Bloomberg report] at every step of the approval process, targets public officials who leak information to the public. Those convicted under the law could face up to 10 years in prison. US based rights group, Open Society Foundations [advocacy website], criticized [press release] the law as a threat to public accountability. Others claim it is too broad and vague, covering too...

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