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Legal news from Thursday, November 6, 2008
by Kayleigh Shebs

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that a statute [10 U.S.C. § 2231, text] mandating that five percent of Department of Defense (DOD) contract spending be awarded to minority companies, is unconstitutional. The opinion, written by Chief Judge Paul Michel and issued Tuesday, found that the evidential …

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by Leslie Schulman

A ballot measure to prohibit holders of government contracts totaling more than $100,000 from contributing to political parties or candidates appeared to win narrow approval from Colorado voters Tuesday, while a similar measure in South Dakota was easily rejected. In Colorado, Initiative 59 (also called Amendment 54) amends the state constitution to ban such "pay to play" …

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by Joe Shaulis

An amendment to the Maryland Constitution to permit early voting was among several election-reform ballot measures approved by voters in Maryland and other states Tuesday. Question 1 authorizes the Maryland General Assembly to allow voters to cast ballots outside their election districts or wards, to vote as much as two weeks before an election and …

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by Kiely Lewandowski

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) rapporteur Dick Marty testified Wednesday at the trial of American and Italian intelligence officials for the 2003 abduction and rendition of Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Recalling the findings of his own investigation …

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by David Weber

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) Thursday ruled that the European Commission (EC) should not have overturned a Dutch law requiring all new diesel-fueled vehicles to be equipped with a soot filter. The Netherlands wanted to require the filters in an attempt to reduce particulate matter emitted …

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by Andrew Morgan

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday proposed constitutional amendments extending the presidential term from four to six years, and the term of members of the State Duma from four to five years. The proposed amendments would change Article 81(1) and Article 96(1) of the Russian Constitution, the first …

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by Christian Ehret

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday promulgated the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance which allows certain acts of "cyber terrorism" to be punishable by death. The ordinance covers a variety of cyber crimes, including unauthorized data access, malicious code, unsolicited mass mailings, and fraud. It focuses on acts of terrorism caused by a person or …

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by Benjamin Klein

Crime victims gained a higher profile in California’s criminal justice system on Tuesday with voter approval of Proposition 9, also known as the Victims’ Rights Protection Act of 2008. The only winner among three criminal justice initiatives, Proposition 9, championed by Friends of Marsy's Law, places into the California state constitution 17 rights for victims, …

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by Joe Shaulis

Rights groups filed a writ petition with the California Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking to invalidate a state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Proposition 8, which was approved by about 52 percent of California voters Tuesday, provides that "nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid …

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by Kayleigh Shebs

A collective of Saudi citizens began a 48-hour hunger strike Thursday to protest what it called the illegal detention of 11 political reformists and to call for judicial reform. The protesters, who include Saudi lawyers, scholars, and activists, hope to call attention to Saudi legal and criminal procedures, which they say are not offering full protection to …

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by Benjamin Klein

An arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide in Darfur could “derail” the peace process in Sudan according to a statement by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet on Wednesday. Reporting to the UN Security Counsel on the status of the implementation of the …

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by Jake Oresick

Vietnamese Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong on Monday asked the country's National Assembly to consider reducing the number of crimes subject to the death penalty. Cuong’s proposal, which would eliminate the death penalty for crimes like bribery and producing counterfeit drugs, comes in response to strong international criticism of the country’s human rights abuses. Le Thi Thu …

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by Eric Firkel

Law enforcement officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Wednesday arrested Momir Pelemis and Slavko Peric on suspicion that they committed genocide by engaging in the capture and execution of 1700 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica during July 1995. The Special Department for War Crimes of the Prosecutor's Office of BiH directed …

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by Jay Carmella

Judge Nancy Atlas of the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas sentenced former US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent Santiago Perez to one year and one day in prison for civil rights violations Wednesday. Perez pleaded guilty in August to assaulting two men during separate incidents in 2006 and 2007. The …

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