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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An animal rights organization filed a writ of habeas corpus [text, PDF] Monday on behalf of three elephants owned by the Connecticut-based Commerford Zoo [website]. The writ was brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) [advocacy website] for the confinement and mistreatment of the elephants. NhRP is seeking a status of "personhood" for the elephants but claims that "personhood" is not legally synonymous to "human beings." The NhRP's memorandum [text, PDF] states that not classifying the elephants under "personhood" would...
Special master in the case of Covington v. North Carolina submitted [filing, PDF] a draft plan and order yesterday that includes an initial proposal for new district maps in certain state congressional districts. This plan was drafted by special master, Nathaniel Persily [Stanford professor profile], pursuant an order from a three-judge panel for the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina [official website], which recently announced [JURIST report] its plan to continue with its appointment of a...
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday allowed [order, PDF] President Donald Trump's latest travel ban to go partially into effect. The partial ban applies to people of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad, who do not have a connection to the US, defined in the ban as, "such persons including grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins." Citizens with a tie to an "entity" in the US may also be admitted,...
The FBI [official website] released [press release] the 2016 Hate Crime Statistics [materials] on Monday revealing 7,321 recorded criminal offenses motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity in comparison to 6,885 [press release] of such bias-motivated offenses in the previous year. According to the report, there were 6,063 single-bias incidents involving 7,509 victims of which approximately 59 percent were targeted because on racial, ethnic and/or ancestral bias; 21 percent because of religious...
Twenty-three EU member states on Monday signed [press release] a joint notification [text, PDF] for the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), a long sought after pact which will facilitate states working together more closely on defense security and defense policy matters. The idea of cooperation in defense security and defense policy was introduced in the Lisbon Treaty [official website] in 2007. The signed notification to the High Commissioner and European Council is the first step in achieving full implementation of a...
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals [official site] on Sunday held [opinion, PDF] that a lawsuit brought by blind voters in Ohio against Secretary of State Jon Husted [official website] can proceed. The suit arises out of a claim that Ohio's use of a paper-ballot absentee voting system violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [text] by failing to provide reasonable accommodations for the blind. Since the blind must obtain the assistance of a sighted person in...
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday asked the Supreme Court [official websites] to dismiss [pleading, PDF] two election petitions challenging the validity of his repeat election win. Kenyatta strongly rejected the claims made by two challengers, saying that the petitions were "manifestly wanting in fact, gravely misconceived on the law and irredeemably lacking in merit." Kenyatta won reelection on October 26 in a second round of voting prompted by the Supreme Court's invalidation [JURIST report] of the previous election results...
The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari in three cases [order list, PDF] Monday, including two First Amendment cases and a question of whether probable cause defeats a retaliatory-arrest claim. National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra [cert. petition, pdf] challenges California's Reproductive FACT Act [text], which requires pregnancy resource centers to post notices that encourage women to contact the state to receive information on free or low-cost abortions. NIFLA [advocacy website], a national network of non-profit pro-life pregnancy centers, argues...
Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Sunday urged [report] Guatemalan courts to end unjustifiable delays in high-profile criminal cases. For the past decade, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) [official website], in partnership with the Attorney General's office, have helped in the arrest and prosecution of powerful criminals and corrupt officials who were once deemed untouchable. HRW alleges these proceedings have been stymied by procedural hurdles. A close examination of the judicial proceedings, as well as interviews...
Two women filed suit [complaint, PDF] on Sunday against the US Department of Education [official website] and the Navient Corporation [official website] seeking immediate relief from their student loans due to harm caused by fraudulent claims from their for-profit college. In a pleading filed with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website], Tina Carr and Yvette Colon claim that they had previously submitted evidence that the Sanford-Brown Institute [corporate website] made fraudulent statements to...
The UK its outsourcing those who want assistance with dying to Switzerland, according to a study [text, PDF] released on Monday by the non-profit organization Dignity in Dying, but the price limits those who can afford to take such measures. The study found that more than half of citizens would consider traveling to Switzerland for assistance dying, but only a quarter could actually afford the average cost of 10,000 euros. In October the High Court of Justice rejected [JURIST report]...
The British Employment Appeal Tribunal [official website] on Friday rejected [press release] Uber Technologies' [corporate website] appeal [text, PDF] verifying the ruling that found Uber drivers should be classified as minimum-wage workers, entitling UK employees to minimum-wage rights, instead of self-contractors. Judge Eady QC wrote:The issue at the heart of the appeal can be simply put: when the drivers are working, who are they working for? The [Employment Tribunal]'s [(ET)] answer to this question was that there was a contract...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: The legal world is a busy place. [more] [JURIST] The Philippines Office of the Ombudsman (OTO) [official website] has anti-graft and corruption charges [document images] Tuesday against former Philippines president Benigno Aquino III [Britannica backgrounder] in connection to the Mamasapano battle [Rappler backgrounder], which left 44 elite cops dead following a firefight with Islamic rebel groups. [more] Following an Associated Press (AP) article published [AP report] Wednesday, Sri Lanka wrote [text]...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced [press release] Thursday that it has begun distributing compensation to victims of Bernie L. [more] The legal world is a busy place. [more] A federal judge, on Thursday signed a settlement agreement [text] ending a land dispute between private citizens and Texas officials against the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) [official website] over territory on the Red River. [more] The US...
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania [official website] issued a per curiam order [text, PDF] Thursday vacating a decision by the Commonwealth Court to stay a hearing in a gerrymandering case, League of Women Voters v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania [docket]. The outcome of the case is virtually guaranteed to have a substantial impact on the results of the upcoming 2018 elections. Last month, the Commonwealth Court granted [order, PDF] a request by Respondents in the case -- Republican members of...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced [press release] Thursday that it has begun distributing compensation to victims of Bernie L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC's (BLMIS) Ponzi scheme. The first set of distributions involve $722.5 million that will be distributed to 24,631 victims. The distribution is the largest distribution of forfeited funds in the DOJ's history. The funds will be distributed through the Madoff Victim Fund (MVF). In total, $4.05 billion will be distributed to victims of BLMIS....
The legal world is a busy place. Here are a few stories we didn't get to this week that we thought you might be interested in. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] agreed Monday to an en banc review of the most recent version of the Trump administration's travel ban [text]. Oral arguments are scheduled for December 8 in the appeal from a district court decision [text, PDF] blocking the ban before it went into...
A federal judge, on Thursday signed a settlement agreement [text] ending a land dispute between private citizens and Texas officials against the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) [official website] over territory on the Red River. The landowners and state officials sued the BLM over the agency's plan to redraw boundary lines along 116 miles of the Red River. They had argued that the agency's plan would illegally seize 90,000 acres of privately owned land. The agreement recognized the shifting...
[JURIST] The Philippines Office of the Ombudsman (OTO) [official website] has anti-graft and corruption charges [document images] Tuesday against former Philippines president Benigno Aquino III [Britannica backgrounder] in connection to the Mamasapano battle [Rappler backgrounder], which left 44 elite cops dead following a firefight with Islamic rebel groups. Earlier this year, the OTO dropped the homicide charges [Inquirer report] brought against Aquino after the battle. However, the prosecution informed Aquino they still intend to hold him liable for the deaths...
The US State Department announced [press release] Wednesday that it will end the Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program, an Obama-era immigration initiative that sought to resettle "children and eligible family members who are nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras." CAM was established as a response to the thousands of unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central American countries in order to seek asylum in the US. The program came under review [Reuters report] once President Donald Trump signed an...

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