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 Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] unanimously Monday in US v. Sanchez-Gomez [SCOTUSblog materials] that defendants' constitutional objection to shackling was not saved from mootness because the defendants "sought 'class-like relief' in a 'functional class action'" nor because "the challenged practice was 'capable of repetition' yet 'evading review.'" A policy adopted by the US District Court for the Southern District of California [official website] allows marshals to produce all in-custody pretrial defendants for non-jury proceedings in full...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday added two cases, BNSF Railway Company v. Loos and Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. Devries [SCOTUSblog materials], to its docket for next term. In BNSF Railway Company, the central issue to be decided is whether BNSF's court-ordered payments to Loos for time lost from work is subject to employment taxes under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). Loos, who had worked for BNSF for 15 years as a brakeman, switchman and...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 6-3 Monday in McCoy v. Louisiana [SCOTUSblog materials] that a defense lawyer cannot admit a client's guilt over the client's objection, even when the lawyer believes this is the client's best chance of avoiding the death penalty. The case arose after Robert McCoy's defense counsel conceded guilt, despite McCoy's express objection, because he believed it was his ethical duty to save his client's life and conceding guilt would do so. The...
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday in Murphy v. NCAA [SCOTUSblog materials] that the decision of legalizing sports gambling should be left to state lawmakers. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) [text], passed by Congress in 1992, made it unlawful for a state to authorize these gambling schemes, allowing the Attorney General and various sports organization to bring civil actions to enjoin any violations. In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito highlighted the importance...
The UN Special Rapporteur on racism E Tendayi Achiume [official profile] on Friday commended [press release] the UK government for its policies aimed at preventing racism but urged further action to end discrimination. In the full report [text], Tendayi Achiume recognized widespread structural discrimination faced by ethic minorities, ranging from access to education to disproportionate law enforcement. The report calls for a unified policy across the UK that lays out a strategy to eliminate these disparities, while including the community...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: Maria Lourdes Sereno, Chief Justice of the Philippines' highest court, was removed from office [decision, PDF] Friday after President Rodrigo Duterte, who referred to Sereno as his "enemy," called for her ouster, citing violations in her appointment. [more] [JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur for the rights of indigneous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz [official profile], expressed concern [press release] Friday over Guatemala's "discrimination and marginalisation" of the nation's indigenous peoples. [more] Chinese tycoon Wu...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: Users of the Android mobile operating system filed a class action lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against Facebook Wednesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] for invading their personal contact data, including call and text message information. [more] Delaware became the first state in the nation to completely ban marriage for anyone under 18 on Wednesday. [more] [JURIST] The California Senate [official website] approved a bill...
Maria Lourdes Sereno, Chief Justice of the Philippines' highest court, was removed from office [decision, PDF] Friday after President Rodrigo Duterte, who referred to Sereno as his "enemy," called for her ouster, citing violations in her appointment. The Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warrant petition [text, PDF], a legal proceeding challenging a person's right to office, in March. In this unprecedented case against the incumbent Chief Justice, the court declared her ineligible to hold the position or that...
[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur for the rights of indigneous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz [official profile], expressed concern [press release] Friday over Guatemala's "discrimination and marginalisation" of the nation's indigenous peoples. The statement came after Tauli-Corpuz's 10-day visit to Guatemala, in which she witnessed indigenous peoples living in extreme poverty and being forcibly evicted from their homes. According to the statement, about 40 percent of indigenous peoples live in "extreme poverty" in Guatemala. Tauli-Corpuz blames lack of access to land as the...
Users of the Android mobile operating system filed a class action lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against Facebook Wednesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] for invading their personal contact data, including call and text message information. The suit alleges Facebook has and continues to collect and store information in its the Android version of the Facebook mobile application "in a scope and manner beyond that which users knowingly authorized," explaining that Facebook's terms of...
Delaware became the first state in the nation to completely ban marriage for anyone under 18 on Wednesday. Governor John Carney [official website] signed House Bill 337 [materials] into law, which went into effect immediately. The law makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to get married, regardless of parental approval. Under previous law [AP report], anyone could marry with a judge's approval. Critics of the bill opine that it will clash with religion traditions that condone...
[JURIST] The California Senate [official website] approved a bill [text] on Thursday that would limit evidence regarding a person's immigration status to situations where it is relevant. Senate Bill 785 was introduced by state senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and assemblyperson Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) [official profiles] in February 2017. The bill reads in part,In a criminal action, evidence of a person's immigration status shall not be disclosed in open court by a party or his or her attorney...
Chinese tycoon Wu Xiaohui was sentenced [statement, in Chinese] by the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court to 18 years in prison after he plead guilty to charges of fraud and embezzlement. A large portion of his property will also be confiscated. Wu was convicted of embezzling [NYT report] more than $10 billion from those who invested in the insurance company he founded, Anbang [corporate website], through illegal fundraising. Anbang, which started as a small car insurance company, drew recent...
The National Fair Housing Alliance and other fair housing groups filed suit [complaint, PDF] Tuesday against the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) [official website] and HUD Secretary Ben Carson in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. In January HUD suspended the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Act (AFFH) without any notice-and-comment procedure. The AFFH required local governments that received federal housing funds to "prepare and submit for HUD review an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH),...
Nearly 75 percent of Ohio primary voters approved an amendment [text, PDF] to the state constitution Tuesday that will change the process for drawing state congressional districts. The changes include the establishment of a bipartisan committee consisting of the governor, secretary of state, and individuals who are not members of the Ohio Congress, appointed by members from the largest two political parties in each chamber, and others; the requirement of public hearings for comment on proposed plans; and a more...
President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa vetoed [statement, in Portuguese] legislation Wednesday that would have made it easier for transgender citizens to change their gender and name on government documents. Portugal's parliament approved [JURIST report] the legislation [text, PDF, in Portuguese] April 13. Under the legislation, individuals over age 16 would have been able to change their name and gender on official documents without submitting a medical report. The current law only allows individuals over 18 to change their...
International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told [text] the UN Security Council Wednesday that Libyan National Army Major Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli has not yet been arrested by Libyan national authorities, despite [press release] an ICC warrant issued in August 2017. The warrant for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli was issued after he was accused of executing 33 Libyans. It is also believed that he executed an additional 10 people in January. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of former...
The White House announced [press release] Wednesday that US President Donald Trump signed a bill [text, PDF] that strives to assist Jewish groups in their attempts to reclaim property and compensation for losses during the Holocaust. The Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act requires the Secretary of State to submit a report within the next 18 months assessing the nature and extent of the efforts by dozens of European countries to compensate Holocaust survivors. The law does not give...
The California Energy Commission [official website] adopted new standards [text, PDF] Wednesday that will require all newly constructed residential buildings to be built with solar photovoltaic systems installed. The requirement for the solar photovoltaic systems is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 115,000 fossil fuel cars. The changes would take effect January 1, 2020. In addition to the solar installation, the regulations would also require changes to thermal envelope standards, ventilation requirements, and nonresidential lighting requirements. The standards...
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that US border authorities may not search detainees' cell phones and other electronic devices without individualized suspicion of wrongdoing. After apprehending Turkish citizen Hamza Kolsuz at the Washington Dulles International Airport in 2016, authorities conducted an extensive data extraction process that lasted one month and yielded an almost 900-page report including personal contacts, emails, and a history of GPS coordinates. Kolsuz filed a motion to...

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