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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The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced [press release] Tuesday that a former CIA officer has been charged with unauthorized possession of classified material and conspiracy to commit espionage. In the indictment by a federal grand jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website], Jerry Chun Shing Lee is believed to have helped Chinese intelligence dismantle a spy network from the US, which led to the imprisonment and death of informants. In...
The US House of Representatives voted [roll call] 234-175 on Tuesday to overturn a rule [text] implemented to prevent discrimination in auto lending. Implemented in 2013 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFRB) [official website], the rule ensures that auto lenders cannot charge higher fees to borrowers based on race, national original or credit score. Republican lawmakers have invoked the Congressional Review Act [text] that allows Congress to get rid of regulations shortly after they are imposed. The Senate voted...
US President Donald Trump announced [press release] Tuesday that the US will be withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA was reached [JURIST report] in 2015, which lifted economic sanctions off Iran in exchange for agreeing not to create a nuclear bomb. The statement from the White House re-imposes all US sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA, including the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996,...
The top court in Equatorial Guinea on Monday upheld [decision] a 30-year sentence for 21 activists of the Citizens for Innovation party on charges of "sedition, public disorder, attacks on authority and serious bodily harm." The ruling also upheld the dissolution of the Citizens for Innovation party, the main opposing party in Equatorial Guinea. The court upheld the ban and sentencing for the Citizens for Innovation party members because their actions were believed to cause serious public disorder and damages...
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] on Monday blocked [opinion, PDF] a lawsuit [JURIST report] against Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby [official website] for malicious prosecution, defamation and false light over Mosby's prosecution of officers in the Freddie Gray case [JURIST report]. The appeals court reviewed Mosby's assertion of absolute prosecutorial immunity for the charges of malicious prosecution under 42 USC § 1983 [text]. The appeals court found that Mosby's actions were part of...
Sun Zhengcai, former member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China and former Secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee, was sentenced[press release] to life in prison on Tuesday for taking bribes. The First Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin [official website] found Sun guilty of using his position to help certain individuals and organizations with business operations accepting bribes that totaled 170 million yuan or about $26.7 million. At trial he pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced...
Israel Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut at a swearing-in ceremony for 18 newly appointed judges at the president's residence on Monday expressed serious concerns [inaugural address, in Hebrew] about a bill approved on Sunday by the Knesset's [official website, in Hebrew] Ministerial Committee on Legislation, which she termed a "blatant and unprecedented attack" on the nation's judiciary. Hayut stated that the bill effectively gutted the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty [text], enacted by the Knesset approximately 25...
UN human rights experts on Monday urged [press release] Poland to ensure "free and full participation" at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) expressing serious concerns over the impact of the nation's newly enacted safety and security legislation on rights to privacy, peaceful assembly, and participation. The legislation in question, titled Bill on Specific Solutions Related to the Organization of Sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the...
Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released a report [PDF] on Monday detailing new research that reveals individuals who are detained on politically-motivated charges in Egypt are being held in conditions that amount to torture. AI's report, "Crushing humanity: the abuse of solitary confinement in Egypt's prisons," details the various abuses carried out in 24 documented cases of prisoners whose duration of confinement lasted between "three weeks to over four years." Prolonged solitary confinement is defined by the Nelson Mandela Rules...
Egypt's chief prosecutor on Monday referred 555 individuals suspected of joining a local affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder] group to military court. The charges against them arise out of a series of attacks [AP report] carried out by dozens of small militant groups situated in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. The suspects will faces charges for the planned and executed killings of security personnel, attacks on military checkpoints and the destruction of a gas pipeline...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: A UN human rights expert called for "calm and for all sides to exercise restraint" in the Central African Republic (CAR) Thursday, according to a UN statement [press release]. [more] The Department of Defense on Wednesday announced the transfer [text] of Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darb to Saudi Arabia. [more] The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, on Monday expressed concern [press...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Thursday unsealed an indictment [charges, PDF] against former Volkswagen (VW) [corporate website] CEO and chairman of the management board Martin Winterkorn on charges of fraud and conspiracy arising from the company's diesel emission-cheating scandal. The charges, which were filed on March 14 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] by a federal grand jury, include four...
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds [official website] on Friday signed [press release] Senate File 359 [text, PDF], a bill containing the nation's most restrictive abortion ban, into law after the bill's approval in the state legislature [JURIST report] on Wednesday. Known as the "heartbeat" bill, the law prohibits physicians from performing abortions upon the detection of a heartbeat, which can occur as early six weeks of the gestation period. More specifically, except in the case of medical emergencies, the bill prohibits...
The Brazil Supreme Federal Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled [press release, in Portuguese] to limit the immunity from local prosecution granted to federal lawmakers in the country. Earlier, members of the Brazil National Congress [official website, in Portuguese] could only be tried in the Supreme Court regardless of whether or not an individual's alleged crime occurred before he or she became a member of the legislature. With this ruling, federal lawmakers can now be tried in lower level courts for...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Thursday unsealed an indictment [charges, PDF] against former Volkswagen (VW) [corporate website] CEO and chairman of the management board Martin Winterkorn on charges of fraud and conspiracy arising from the company's diesel emission-cheating scandal. The charges, which were filed on March 14 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] by a federal grand jury, include four counts of federal law violations, including conspiracy to defraud...
A UN human rights expert called for "calm and for all sides to exercise restraint" in the Central African Republic (CAR) Thursday, according to a UN statement [press release]. Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the CAR, "urged authorities to strengthen the protection of civilians amid an upsurge in violence across the country." The call came in response to a series of deadly attacks in the CAR, the latest on a church in...
The Department of Defense on Wednesday announced the transfer [text] of Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darb to Saudi Arabia. Al Darb pleaded guilty in 2014. Part of the deal included his eventual transfer from Guantanamo. There are reports that Sandi Arabia confirmed his arrival around midnight on Wednesday. He will serve the rest of his 13-year sentence there. This is the first inmate transfer since January 19, 2017. There are 40 inmates left at Guantanamo....
The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) and Planned Parenthood [adovocacy websites] filed lawsuits against the Trump administration on Wednesday over an alleged shift in policy for family planning services toward a focus on abstinence. The complaints [NFPRHA; Planned Parenthood] state that the new provisions do not contain "recognized clinical guidelines," and therefore are giving preference to "applicants with little to no experience in providing high-quality family planning." Planned Parenthood and NFPRHA reason these changes dismantle experienced Title...
The Iowa legislature [official website] on Wednesday approved a measure [materials] to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, or as early as six weeks of gestation. According to the bill, "'Fetal heartbeat' means cardiac activity, the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac."Except in the case of a medical emergency, a physician shall not perform an abortion unless the physician has first complied with the prerequisites of chapter 146A and has tested the...
The Connecticut House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday approved HB 5542 [text], which bans "the sale or transfer, possession, manufacturing, or use of bumps stocks or other accessories to increase the rate of fire of a firearm." Violators of the bill will be guilty of a class D felony. Those who have a permit or certificate for gun ownership will be found guilty of a class D misdemeanor up until July 1, 2019. Anyone who moves into Connecticut in...

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