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Legal news from Friday, October 8, 2004
21:10 EDT

In response to several lawsuits seeking to overturn California laws prohibiting same-sex marriage, California state attorney general Bill Lockyer filed a brief in San Francisco Superior Court Friday arguing that the California constitution permits such laws. Petitioners in the lawsuits counter that the laws violate both civil rights and constitutional [read more]

21:10 EDT

The United States Commission on Civil Rights voted Friday to wait until after the presidential election in November to discuss its recent critical report on the civil rights policies of the Bush Administration. Despite objections from GOP commissioners, the 180-page report, Redefining Rights in America: The Civil Rights Record of [read more]

20:10 EDT

Puerto Rican attorney Gregorio Igartua argued Friday before the US First Circuit Court of Appeals that Puerto Ricans should be allowed to vote in the November US presidential election. The Justice Department argued in response that they could not be permitted to cast ballots unless and until Puerto Rico becomes [read more]

19:10 EDT

Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the recently appointed head of the Organization of American States (OAS) and former Costa Rican president, resigned abruptly Friday after allegations that he was involved in a bribery scandal. Read his letter of resignation here. Watch recorded video of today's Extraordinary Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council [read more]

19:10 EDT

Legal experts are questioning the role of US District Judge Gerald Rosen, from the Eastern District of Michigan, in the largest terrorism trial in the US since September 11th. Last month, Judge Rosen reversed the convictions of three Detroit men accused of operating a terror cell. Read the opinion here [read more]

16:10 EDT

US Ambassador John Danforth said Friday that Washington wants the UN Security Council to do something "extraordinary" about the Sudan crisis, and that is "to convene...at the site of the peace negotiations in Kenya." Danforth commented that such an act would stress the importance of reaching a peaceful resolution to [read more]

16:10 EDT

The House of Representatives Friday approved a GOP-designed bill implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission on national security and counterterrorism. The House approved the bill by a vote of 282-134. Read the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act [PDF]. The legislation gives law enforcement new authority to fight terrorism and illegal [read more]

15:10 EDT

Billy T. Thorton, an ex-safety inspector for NASA, pleaded not-guilty Friday to a federal indictment accusing him of falsifying critical examinations of the space shuttle Discovery. Thorton, after rejecting an offer to plead guilty to one fraud count, now faces 83 fraud counts each with a maximum penalty of $500,000 [read more]

14:10 EDT

A federal judge in Chicago Friday dismissed a $1.25 billion racketeering suit brought by Hollinger International, Inc. accusing former Chief Executive Conrad Black and his various corporate interests of pocketing more than $380 million in company funds in a series of actions recently documented in a scathing Hollinger report filed [read more]

13:10 EDT

The UN Security Council Friday unanimously adopted a resolution sponsored by Russia calling on all countries to prosecute or extradite terrorists and those supporting them. Resolution 1566 was put forth by Russia following several harsh attacks there. The resolution creates a working group to monitor actions taken by countries against [read more]

13:10 EDT

The Cambodian government Friday approved new succession laws for the country's monarchy adopted by the country's National Assembly after a surprise abdication announcement by King Sihanouk Thursday. The 1993 constitution (text here) states that a Throne Council will determine the next king (the monarchy is explicitly non-hereditary), but the process [read more]

11:10 EDT

Citigroup, the world's largest financial company, filed suit Friday against Italy (government site in Italian) for the government's handling of the Parmalat bankruptcy. Citigroup was owed almost $665 million by the foodmaker when it collapsed last year, but the bank alleged that the Italian government had allowed Parmalat to accept [read more]

11:10 EDT

British hostage Ken Bigley, who has been held for three weeks by militants in Iraq, has been beheaded, a video obtained by Reuters Friday showed. The militants holding Bigley had demanded the release of all Muslim women prisoners held by coalition forces in Iraq. Britain reported that it was not [read more]

10:10 EDT

The US has urged members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to honor commitments to abide by the rule of law, emphasizing legislative transparency and an independent judiciary. US Ambassador to Kazakhstan Larry Napper called on the countries to speed up the separation of powers in their [read more]

10:10 EDT

The trial of a former Afghan commander who immigrated to Britain began Friday in London. The prosecution of Faryadi Sarwar Zardad, who faces charges of conspiracy to torture and take hostages, is the first of its kind in the UK, and the prosecution's opening statements were delivered by UK Attorney [read more]

09:10 EDT

The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed two lawsuits in federal court claiming that hundreds were illegally arrested and detained during protests at the Republican National Convention in August. More than 1,800 people were arrested during the four-day convention held in New York City, many either near the World [read more]

09:10 EDT

A British soldier has lost his appeal of a conviction for going absent without leave after he objected to serving in Iraq based on religious grounds. The UK High Court ruled Thursday that Mohisin Khan, a leading aircraftsman in the Royal Air Force, was required to show his objections formally, [read more]

08:10 EDT

Martha Stewart's defense website is reporting that, as anticipated, she has reported to prison in West Virginia. In an open letter to her supporters just posted online, she says: Dear Friends,By the time you read this, I will have reported to a minimum-security prison in Alderson, West Virginia, to begin [read more]

07:10 EDT

Here's a run-down of law-related events, expected developments and live webcasts on JURIST's docket for Friday, October 8.US District Judge James Cohn has a scheduled a hearing for today in the lawsuit demanding that touch-screen voting machines in Florida be required to produce paper records. At the hearing, US Rep. [read more]

06:10 EDT

Kenyan rights activist and environmentalist Wangari Maathai has won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. The Norweigan Nobel Committee said in its official press release issued Friday in Oslo that "Maathai stood up courageously against the former oppressive regime in Kenya. Her unique forms of action have contributed to drawing attention [read more]

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