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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[JURIST] The Democratic National Committee (DNC) [political website] filed a lawsuit [complaint] Friday against Donald Trump, Russia, Julian Assange, Wikileaks, and several Trump aids including Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. The complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [judicial website], alleges 12 causes of action, including computer crimes, trespass, fraud, conspiracy and violations of the Wiretap Act. The suit is in response to the alleged cyberattack on the DNC. The...
A Texas appeals court ruled [opinion] Thursday that the Relationship Privacy Act [text], which prescribes criminal and civil penalties for defendants who disseminate pornographic visual material featuring former significant others without consent, is overly broad and it violates First Amendment rights of third party individuals who are not original parties in the romantic relationships. The statute makes it unlawful to disseminate material depicting "intimate parts" of the victims. "Intimate parts" include "naked genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female nipple...
A US federal judge on Thursday sentenced [press release] a former Liberian commander known as "Jungle Jabbah" to 30 years in prison for defrauding the US immigration authorities and lying about his role during the Liberian civil war. Mohammed Jabbateh, a 20-year resident of Pennsylvania, was found guilty in October on two counts of fraud in immigration documents and two counts of perjury. Throughout the 1990s Jabbateh acted as a high ranking officer in the United Liberation Movement for Democracy...
Two federal regulators on Friday announced [press release] a $1 billion settlement with Wells Fargo [official site] after finding [text, PDF] that the the bank violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) [official websites] found that Wells Fargo unfairly failed to follow the mortgage-interest-rate-lock process it explained to some prospective buyers and unfairly administered a mandatory insurance program related to its auto loans. The report states...
A federal judge on Thursday enjoined [text, PDF] the US government from sending a US citizen who has been detained in Iraq for almost a year to another country. This order follows the American Civil Liberty Union's request [text, PDF] to temporarily block the detainee's transference until the US government could produce legal authority that supported moving him to a third country. Federal District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan issued [NPR report] the preliminary injunction a few minutes before the deadline...
The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] on Thursday ruled that Indiana's recent abortion law, House Enrolled Act No. 1337 [text], is unconstitutional [opinion, PDF]. The law was enacted on March 24, 2016, and was challenged in court by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky [advocacy website]. The law prevents women from having an abortion if it is known that the woman is doing so because of the sex of the child, diagnosis of Down syndrome...
The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] on Thursday held [judgment, PDF] that a law preventing the stocking up of alcohol from another province is constitutionally valid. The case involved Section 134(b) of the New Brunswick's Liquor Control Act, which forbids residents from possessing large amounts of alcohol not purchased from the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation&#8212i.e. purchased from other provinces. Post enactment of the law, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) [official website] were monitoring [press release] New Brunswick residents...
[JURIST] A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] on Thursday granted [opinion, PDF] a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration's attempt to punish so-called "sanctuary cities." The lawsuit was filed by the city of Chicago after the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] placed conditions on the receipt of funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, a fund which, according to the opinion, allocates substantial funds to state and...
The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] held [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that an Ohio law [JURIST report] banning the state's Department of Health from funding any entity or its affiliate performing or promoting non-therapeutic abortions through grants received from six non-abortion-related federal health programs is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs in the case, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region (Planned Parenthood) [advocacy websites], filed a § 1983 action [JURIST report] in federal district...
The Supreme Court of Maine [official website] on Tuesday upheld [opinion, PDF] a voter-approved measure to implement ranked choice voting [advocacy website]. Last summer, the Maine Supreme Court partially struck down [JURIST report] 2016 legislation that enacted ranked choice voting for the state. The legislature then approved a new law [Bangor Daily News report] that applies the ranked choice voting for 2021. The ranked candidate voting will still be implemented in primaries under the new law. This time the Supreme...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo [official website] signed an executive order [text, PDF] Wednesday that grants 35,000 paroled felons the right to vote. The governor issued the order by invoking Article IV, Section 4 [text] of the Constitution of the State of New York authorizing the governor to grant pardons. The current order allows paroled felons to be considered for a conditional pardon that restores their voting rights. A list of individuals will be submitted to the governor's office by...
The Fourth Federal Regional Court [official website, in Portuguese] in Brazil on Wednesday denied [order, in Portuguese] another appeal from former president Lula da Silva [CNN profile]. Lula was jailed earlier this month after losing an appeal [JURIST report] to the Supreme Court of Brazil. This failed appeal is year another setback for Lula and his supporters who hope to see him run for president in the elections later this year in October. There is a "clean slate" law in...
The state of Kentucky on Wednesday sued [complaint, PDF] several opioid manufacturers alleging that they "trivialized, mischaracterized, and failed to disclose" the "serious risk of addiction" inherent in the use of the high strength pain killers. The state claims that including Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals [corporate websites] "undermined evidence that opioids are addictive by suggesting or stating that the risk of addiction is limited to high-risk patients." The complaint also contains snippets of materials that were...
A federal judge on Wednesday found [order, pdf] Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach [official website] in contempt of court for violating a preliminary injunction regarding registering voters in his state. Chief Judge Julie A. Robinson of the US District Court for the District of Kansas [official website] ordered Kobach to allow some potentially ineligible voters to remain eligible to cast a ballot, pending the outcome of the lawsuit at hand. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [materials] sued [complaint,...
The US Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution [text, PDF] expressing disapproval for a rule intended to prevent racial discrimination in auto loans. The original rule was issued [bulletin, PDF] in 2013 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and was titled the "Indirect Auto Lending and Compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act." Under this rule, automobile lenders were not allowed to discriminate against minorities by increasing their interest rates or otherwise charging them higher fees. Congress is able...
The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled [opinion PDF] on Wednesday that the state's death penalty statute does not violate the Sixth Amendment's [text] guarantee of "the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury[.]" Maurice Mason, a former death row inmate, unsuccessfully challenged the role given to the judge during the sentencing phase of capital punishment cases. The court unanimously upheld Ohio's law as being in line with the requirements laid out by the US Supreme Court...
The House of Lords [official website] passed Wednesday two amendments [vote count, website] that hinder the UK's effort to leave the EU known as Brexit. The amendments address the EU (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 [bill, PDF] and require ministers to explore possibilities for remaining in the EU customs union. The debate [minutes] over the amendments lasted nearly five hours with lords expressing concern over Brexit's impact on the UK's economy and trade. The votes were based on two reports [12th Report,...
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday morning in two cases: the first concerns tribal fishing rights, and the second asks whether certain costs are compensable losses under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act. The first case, Washington v. US [docket], concerns northwest Indian tribes' rights to fishing as guaranteed in several treaties. The treaties promise the northwest Indian tribes "the right of taking fish, at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations ... in common with all citizens." The...
Another federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] has been filed against the US Census Bureau [official website] regarding a controversial citizenship question added to the 2020 Census. The City of San Jose and Black Alliance for Just Immigration, a California non-profit corporation, filed a joint lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California San Jose Division [official website] Tuesday because of a question on the 2020 Census that requires those filling it out to disclose their citizenship status....
After a 10 day visit to Ghana, the UN Special Rapporteur for extreme poverty and human rights released a preliminary report [official website] Wednesday urging Ghana to address growing inequality and poverty. The full report will be forthcoming in June and focuses on the progress and promise in the West African nation. The report lauds Ghana for its progress in democratic institutions and economic growth. As such, it serves as an example for other countries in the region and on...

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