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] unanimously concluded [decision, PDF] on Monday that Alabama may execute a death row inmate, Vernon Madison, who claims to be mentally incompetent and unfit to be executed under the Eighth Amendment [text] due to several strokes and vascular dementia. The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] granted [JURIST report] Madison a stay in 2016, and the Supreme Court upheld [text, PDF] the stay just hours before his scheduled execution. In...
Saudi Arabia officials on Sunday arrested [TIME report] dozens of individuals, including princes, military officers, influential businessmen and government ministers, as part of a wide ranging anti-corruption probe. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [BBC profile] has been the driving force behind the anti-corruption probe, living up to his promise to modernize the country. A royal decree stated [Al Jazerra report] that the arrests were made due to the "exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own...
Liberia's Supreme Court on Monday suspended [opinion] the presidential run-off vote that had been scheduled for November 7 until the National Elections Commission (NEC) can investigate allegations of fraud from the initial October 10 vote. Article 83 of the Liberia Constitution [text] states a run-off election is necessary, "if no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first ballot ... [then] the two candidates who received the greatest numbers of votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate."...
Iraq's Supreme Federal Court [official website, in Arabic] ruled [decision, PDF, in Arabic] Monday that no region within the country may secede from the state. The ruling is in response to the disputed referendum by the northern Kurdish region who overwhelmingly voted [JURIST reports] for independence, with 92 percent of the voters opting to secede from Iraq. In a press release [text, in Arabic] the spokesperson for the Supreme Federal Court, Iyas Samok, explained that the Supreme Federal Court was...
The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear [order list, PDF] Samsung's appeal in a patent case against Apple over Smartphone features. Samsung argued [cert. petition, PDF] that three of Apple's patents covered trivial advances that were not eligible for legal protection. Monday's order lets stand an appeals court decision [JURIST report] reinstating a jury verdict awarding $120 million to Apple for infringing on numerous patents such as the slide to unlock feature and auto-correcting text. This is one...
A Pentagon official on Friday ordered [POLITICO report] the release of a Marine Corps general, who was sentenced last week to 21-days confinement [JURIST report] to his quarters by Guantánamo Bay military commissions judge Air Force Col. Vance Spath. Marine Brigadier General John Baker, acting as chief defense counsel, argues that his conviction is invalid due to a lack of authority under the Military Commissions Act of 2009 [text, PDF]. He filed a petition in the US District Court for...
International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] said Friday that her office is seeking an investigation [press release] into potential war crimes in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Bensouda is asking the ICC to authorize an investigation into any war crimes and crimes against humanity from July 2002. The request asks for an authorization to investigate those who are responsible for the most serious crimes and to prosecute them at the ICC. The prosecutor acknowledged...
Here's the international legal news we covered this week: [JURIST] Judge Carmen Lamela of Spain's National Court [official website, in Spanish] on Wednesday jailed [press release, in Spanish] eight Catalan ministers by court order [text, PDF, in Spanish] on charges of sedition [penal code, PDF, in Spanish]. The court found that the ministers' actions violated Article 544 [text, in Spanish], which establishes that individuals engage in sedition when they "impede, through force or extralegal methods, the application of [Spanish] law."...
Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week: The US Department of Justice [official site] on Friday appealed [petition, pdf] to the Supreme Court a decision from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official websites] permitting a pregnant minor in immigration detention to receive an abortion. [more] US Army Sgt. [more] The US House of Representatives Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee [official website] announced [press release] Thursday they will be holding a hearing on...
The US Department of Justice [official site] on Friday appealed [petition, pdf] to the Supreme Court a decision from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official websites] permitting a pregnant minor in immigration detention to receive an abortion. The petition seeks to have the Supreme Court overturn the appeals court ruling and remand it to the District Court with instructions to dismiss all claims for "prospective relief regarding pregnant unaccompanied minors." The DOJ acknowledges that the issue...
US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl avoided prison time but received a dishonorable discharge Friday for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after abandoning his outpost in Afghanistan in 2009. Bergdahl was originally facing a potential life in prison sentence, though the prosecutors argued for Bergdahl to spend 14 years in prison for endangering [BBC report] the lives of his fellow soldiers. Army Judge Col. Jeffery R. Nance ruled that Bergdahl's rank be reduced from sergeant to E1 as well as...
The US House of Representatives Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee [official website] announced [press release] Thursday they will be holding a hearing on November 7 that will examine "the issue of intellectual property rights owned by entities that claim sovereign immunity on the basis of the 11th Amendment or Native American tribal immunity." The hearing will be titled "Sovereign Immunity and the Intellectual Property System." The hearing has become necessary after a drug company named Allergan [corporate website]...
Attorneys general from Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia [official websites] on Wednesday joined [amended complaint, PDF] California's federal lawsuit against the Trump administration's regulations that allow employers or health insurers with religious or moral objections to opt out of providing coverage for contraceptives in their health insurance plans. The lawsuit, first filed by California in early October in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website], claims that the regulations violate the equal protection and...
[JURIST] Judge Carmen Lamela of Spain's National Court [official website, in Spanish] on Wednesday jailed [press release, in Spanish] eight Catalan ministers by court order [text, PDF, in Spanish] on charges of sedition [penal code, PDF, in Spanish]. The court found that the ministers' actions violated Article 544 [text, in Spanish], which establishes that individuals engage in sedition when they "impede, through force or extralegal methods, the application of [Spanish] law." Spain's Constitutional Court recently established that Catalonia's referendum and...
The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] on Wednesday granted [text, PDF] an interlocutory appeal by President Donald Trump [official website] challenging an earlier denial of his motion to dismiss a lawsuit arising out of statements he made at a Kentucky campaign rally in March 2016. The suit was initially filed [complaint, PDF] by three individuals in a Kentucky state court before Trump removed [notice, PDF] the suit to the US District Court for the Western...
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee [official website] on Wednesday announced legislation [S.Res. 279, text] proposing restrictions on senior Cambodian government officials. The legislation identifies several ways in which the Cambodian government "continues to be undemocratically dominated" by the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) [party website, in Khmer] and Prime Minister Hun Sen [BBC profile], including the passage of laws allowing the government to revoke the charters of non-governmental organizations on a political basis, the jailing of prominent opposition leader Kem Sokha...
Today, a three judge panel announced [order, PDF] its intention to go forward with plans [JURIST report] to appoint a special master over the objections of North Carolina state legislators. The legislators objected [JURIST report] to the plans on Monday after the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina [official website] ordered the appointment last week. The court ordered the special master to redraw two Senate and seven House districts to redress racial gerrymandering and comply with...
[JURIST] The Republican-controlled House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means [official website] released the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act [text, PDF] on Thursday. The bill was introduced by Committee Chairman Kevin Brady [official profile] and co-sponsored by House Speaker Paul Ryan [official profile]. Brady stressed [press release] that the bill was intended to help low and middle class Americans. "Our legislation is focused entirely on growing our economy, bringing jobs back to our local communities, increasing paychecks for...
[JURIST] Federal prosecutors on Wednesday leveledd two criminal charges [complaint, PDF] against the New York attack [CNN backgrounder] suspect, Sayfullo Habibullavic Saipov. Saipov appeared before Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses [official profile] of the Southern District of New York [official website] but did not enter a plea on the counts of (1) provision of material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization; and (2) violence and destruction of motor vehicles. The count of terrorism connects Saipov to Islamic State...
A judge for the Guantanamo military commissions on Wednesday held Marine Brigaider General John Baker, the chief defense counsel, guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 21 days confinement and a fine of $1,000. The conviction comes as a response to Baker's refusal to testify about releasing three civilian defense attorneys [Navy Times report]—Rick Kammen, Rosa Eliades, and Mary Spears—from the case in mid-October, alleging the government was "listening in on their legal meetings," thereby violating attorney-client privilege....

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