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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Hundreds of detainees at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) [official website] in Tacoma, Washington began a hunger strike on Monday [NWDC Resistance press release]. According to NWDC Resistance [advocacy website], an advocacy group for undocumented immigrants, prior to the beginning of the hunger strike a demand letter was circulated through the facility that included demands [text, PDF] for more expedited hearings, improved quality of food, improved access to medical care, and lowering of exorbitant commissary prices. The facility has been...
The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] on Monday that the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe has exercised sufficient governmental power to meet the requirements of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) [text], which would make their settlement lands subject to federal instead of state laws. Massachusetts argued [Boston Globe report] that 500 acres of land on Martha's Vineyard belonging to the tribe were prohibited from engaging in gambling. A lower court ruled that the...
The UK Court of Appeal ruled [advocacy press release] on Wednesday that terminally ill Noel Conway can proceed with challenge of the country's law against assisted dying. Noel Conway, a retired college lecturer, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2014 and is not expected to live more than 12 months. In March, a panel of High Court judges rejected his motion to change a blanket ban on providing a person assistance to die. Conway argues [press release] that the...
A Brazil Supreme Court [official website] justice on Tuesday ordered investigations into eight cabinet ministers and dozens of lawmakers who are allegedly linked to the country's so-called "car wash" bribery scheme. The list of those under investigation [Reuters report] consists of high-ranking officials in key political positions. Citizens in Brazil have erupted in protest due to the alleged political corruption conspiracy. The investigation threatens President Michel Temer [official profile] efforts to pass reforms directing at strengthen investor confidence and rebuilding...
Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] issued a report [text] on Tuesday saying California's bail system pressures the poor into pleading guilty in order to be released from jail. The group said tens of thousands of Californians have been held for days to months without a conviction [press release]. It also said California's median bail rates are five times that of the rest of the country and many incur debt in order to pay the bondman's fee. HRW called on California...
European Union vice president Frans Timmermans [official profile] announced on Wednesday that a legal assessment [press release] will be launched "as soon as possible" regarding Hungary's recently enacted Higher Education Law. Opponents argue the law is meant to close the Central European University (CEU), and may violate European Union free movement of services and freedom of establishment requirements. A spokesman for the Hungarian government has stated [Washington Post report] that the investigation is in retaliation for Hungary's anti-migrant positions. The...
The state of Hawaii, in a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban, requested [motion, PDF] on Tuesday that the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] sit for review of the case. Hawaii is requesting the en banc hearing for the appeal, arguing that this is a "question of exceptional importance." The state also referred to a similar case on the immigration executive orders which is currently pending in the Fourth Circuit. That court granted an en banc...
Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released [press release] its annual report [text, PDF] on global use of the death penalty Tuesday, saying China continues to use the punishment more than any other country. The group says the exact number of executions committed in China in 2016 cannot be known for certain because China labels information related to executions as a state secret. AI estimates that the total number of executions in China were in the thousands for 2016. Iran is...
The Constitutional Court of Hungary [official website] repealed a village ban on the construction of mosques as well as headscarves like burkas and chadors worn by Muslim women on Wednesday. The village of Asotthalom, located on the Serbian boarder, implemented implemented the law in November. The village also outlawed muezzins, men who call Muslims to prayer from the minaret of a mosque. In its ruling [AP report] the court said the bans were aimed to limit freedoms of religion and...
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions [official website] on Tuesday announced [press release] his office has mandated immigration enforcement as a priority. In order to limit the number of undocumented immigrants in the country, the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] sent a memo [text, PDF] to all federal prosecutors instructing them to prosecute harboring and reentry cases as felonies instead of misdemeanors for repeat offenders. Furthermore, the order requires the designation of border security coordinators to ensure enforcement and track...
[JURIST] Legislators in Maryland on Monday withdrew a bill [SB 835, PDF] proposing to make Maryland a so-called "sanctuary state." The purpose of the bill was to "prohibiting a specified government agent from taking specified actions for immigration enforcement purposes." The bill would have prevented law enforcement from "stopping, arresting, searching, or detaining an individual for purposes of investigating a suspected immigration violation or inquiring about specified matters" and would have required a specific model of conduct to be developed...
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday announced [press release] that it had effectively disrupted the Kelihos botnet [complaint, PDF], a network of thousands of virus ridden computers used to glean personal information and login credentials by distributing malicious software through spam emails. Once infected by Kelihos, compromised computers within the botnet are used by the Defendant to generate huge volumes of unsolicited "spam" emails that advertise counterfeit drugs, pump-and-dump stock schemes, work-at-home scams, and other frauds. Kelihos is also...
Hungary's president Janos Ader [BBC profile] on Monday signed legislation requiring foreign universities in Hungary to also have campuses their home country. This is an issue for schools like Central European University (CEU) [university website], which has a campus in Hungary but nowhere else, even though it states that the university has a dual US-Hungary identity. The school, financed by the Hungarian-born campaigner for "open society" George Soros, may have to move out of the country. The legislation is criticized...
Hearings began in Spain on Monday regarding potential war crimes committed by President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria [BBC backgrounder]. The case is a result [AP report] of a Spanish national's brother being abducted and tortured in Damascus before being executed in 2013. The family claims that the brother was not part of an opposition group and just a truck driver making a delivery. The family was able to identify the body after a forensic photographer smuggled the photos out...
[JURIST] The Group of Seven (G7) [backgrounder] nations failed to reach an agreement on whether to impose new sanctions on Russia and Syria, Italian foreign minister Angelino Alfano announced Tuesday. Before the two-day meeting of the G7 ministers, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson [official website] had stated that he wanted to impose [BBC report] new sanctions in the wake of the alleged chemical weapons attack. The G7 met to solidify a unified approach to the Syrian situation before US Secretary...
[JURIST] Several US advocacy groups filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Monday to obtain visitor logs for who has met with President Trump at the White House, the Mar-a-Lago Florida resort and Trump Tower in New York. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, National Security Archive [advocacy websites] and the Knight First Amendment Institute initiated the suit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. These plaintiffs previously requested the logs under the...
[JURIST] US District Judge Nelva G. Ramos found [opinion, PDF] Monday that a controversial Texas voter ID law [materials] was passed in part with discriminatory intent. The plaintiffs argued [Reuters report] that the law burdened minority voters who are more likely to not carry identification. They say such a burden was intended by Texas Republicans to suppress voters who tend to favor Democrats. While the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] held that there was sufficient evidence to prove...
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Monday afternoon resigned [statement, video] from his office after impeachment proceedings were initiated against him by lawmakers that morning. Bentley was under investigation for misuse of state resources to pursue and cover up an affair with one of his former staff members, Rebekah Caldwell. Bentley has pleaded guilty [Reuters report] to two misdemeanor charges, failing to file a major campaign finance report and converting campaign money for personal use. Leading up to the impeachment proceedings,...
[JURIST] The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [official website] said in a press release [text] on Monday that all transfers of asylum-seekers from other EU states to Hungary should be suspended under the Dublin Regulation [text]. The Dublin Regulation is how the EU determines which state should review an asylum-seeker's application. High Commissioner Filippo Grandi [official profile] saidGiven the worsening situation of asylum-seekers in Hungary, I urge States to suspend any Dublin transfer of asylum-seekers to this country...
New York became the first state to offer free college tuition to residents on Monday when governor Andrew Cuomo approved the 2018 State Budget [text, PDF]. The budget, unanimously passed [materials] by the Senate, invests $163 million in the Excelsior Scholarship [government website] program, making tuition free for middle class and low-income students attending 2 and 4-year SUNY and CUNY [official websites] colleges. Cuomo said he hopes other states will adopt similar programs. By making college at our world-class public...

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