JURIST Supported by the University of Pittsburgh
Serious law. Primary sources. Global perspective.
Listen to Paper Chase!

Legal news from Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Specter picks up important support for Judiciary post
Russell Adkins on November 16, 2004 9:00 PM ET

[JURIST] After a tense two-hour meeting Tuesday evening, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) appears to have won the support of some important GOP peers on the Senate Judiciary Committee, seemingly securing the committee chairmanship that will open when term limits force the resignation of Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in January. Specter's comments cautioning President Bush against the appointment of anti-abortion Supreme Court justices ignited controversy recently, with some conservative groups and religious organizations calling for GOP leaders to block Specter's ascension to the chairmanship. Following Tuesday's meeting, Hatch affirmed his support for Specter as his replacement, and stated that he expects his five-term Senate colleague to have the support of the committee. The Pennsylvania Republican is expected to release a statement reassuring conservatives of his support for the president's judicial nominees. Knight-Ridder has more. See a previous story on JURIST's Paper Chase detailing the backlash over Specter's comments.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

BREAKING NEWS ~ Bush tabs progenitor of No Child Left Behind for Education portfolio
Russell Adkins on November 16, 2004 7:46 PM ET

[JURIST] Filling the vacancy left when Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced his resignation on Monday, President Bush will nominate domestic policy advisor and longtime confidante Margaret Spellings to fill the top post in the Department of Education, according to White House sources. Spellings was Bush's education advisor for six years in Texas, putting together programs focusing on student accountability and early reading initiatives which became the foundation for the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which Spellings also helped construct. An official announcement is expected Wednesday. AP has more. See Spellings' White House bio. A recent online White House Q&A hosted by Spellings on education policy, No Child Left Behind, and her White House service is available here.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Environmental brief ~ UN allows Greenpeace to speak for first time
Tom Henry on November 16, 2004 6:28 PM ET

[JURIST] In Tuesday's environmental law news, Greenpeace, the international environmental activist group, was allowed to speak for the first time Tuesday before the UN General Assembly. Today is the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the group used the occasion to challenge a proposed resolution that would call for a review of oceanic bottom trawling, arguing instead for an immediate condemnation of the practice. The speech is not yet available online. It is unknown whether Greenpeace will be welcome to make comments in the future. The Greenpeace press release has more.

In other news, Bhutan will enact a full ban on the sale of tobacco and tobacco products beginning tomorrow. While some countries have begun to impose limits on smoking, the small Himalayan country is the first to impose an outright ban. Bhutanese who bring tobacco into the country for personal use face a 100% tax. Foreigners will be treated as smugglers. The UK Independent has more.... The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced an interim rule, effective immediately, that quarantines a section of Los Angeles CA as infected with the Oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel). Outbreaks of the pest have been known to cause complete loss of crops and severe economic losses. The quarantine, made in accordance with the Plant Protection Act [PDF], limits the sale and transportation of harvested fruits, nuts, vegetables and berries from leaving the area. The quarantined area is mostly residential which should result in minimal impact. Background on fruit fly infestation and containment programs can be found here. APHIS welcomes comments on the quarantine until January 18, 2005 here.... The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) seeks comments on a proposed rule that would prohibit fishing on the Grammanik Bank between February 1 and April 30, 2005. The Bank is located south of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, and is the expected site of yellowfin grouper spawning. The closing is done under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and hopes to protect the overfished, slow-growing grouper. Comments can be made under December 1 here.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Cameras film first UK appeal case in TV experiment
Amit Patel on November 16, 2004 4:15 PM ET

[JURIST] A British high court hearing became the first ordinary legal case to be filmed by TV cameras in the UK Tuesday. The court heard the appeal of former council leader Jim Speechley from a misconduct conviction. Footage from the appeal is being used by the Royal Courts of Justice for evaluation purposes, but will not be generally broadcast. The cameras focused on the lawyers in the case and then on the appeal judges. At present no British court proceedings are televised, with the exception of House of Lords rulings read out in Parliament's upper chamber. Britain's Department for Constitutional Affairs has a consultation paper [PDF] on court broadcasting. BBC News has more.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Spitzer warns Senate committee of further insurance company investigations
Amit Patel on November 16, 2004 3:36 PM ET

[JURIST] New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who launched an investigation into insurance companies including Marsh & McLennan, told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Tuesday that more criminal pleas related to bad practices are coming. Spitzer is urging Congress to take a stronger look at the insurance industry. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told the committee that state insurance laws should be redone to combat fraud, illegal steering and bid-rigging and that whatever legislation Congress proposes should not weaken state regulation. Insurance companies are in support of legislation which would create a uniform standard for the entire industry. View the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing information here. Read a transcript of Spitzer's testimony to the committee here [PDF]. AP has more.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Partial New Hampshire recount begins Thursday
Amit Patel on November 16, 2004 3:03 PM ET

[JURIST] A partial recount of the New Hampshire presidential vote sought by independent candidate Ralph Nader is set to start Thursday. The Nader campaign filed for the recount November 5, citing the inaccuracy of optical scan vote-counting machines. The request covers 11 of the state's precincts that use Diebold Inc. Accuvote optical scanning machines to count paper ballots and came after some of the Accuvote machines gave President Bush up to 15 percent more votes than had been expected from exit polling. Nader will wait to see the results of the recount before asking for recounts in other states. Read the Nader press release here. A release on the original recount request is here. AP has more.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

BREAKING NEWS ~ Bush officially names Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state
Chris Buell on November 16, 2004 1:40 PM ET

[JURIST] BBC News is reporting that President Bush has officially selected current National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to fill the secretary of state post, as reported on JURIST's Paper Chase Monday. Current Secretary of State Colin Powell announced his resignation Monday. A live webcast of the White House press briefing will begin at 12:45 PM ET.

1:05 PM ET - An AP story is now available online; European officials' reactions to Rice's nomination have been mixed.

4:20 PM ET - A transcript of the announcement ceremony is now available online from the White House.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Group to challenge planned protection of 48 endangered species in CA
Chris Buell on November 16, 2004 1:38 PM ET

[JURIST] The Pacific Legal Foundation has initiated a challenge to plans by the government to designate four dozen endangered species for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The foundation notified the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service Monday of its plans to challenge the agencies' action. The foundation claims that the government underestimated the economic impact of preserving habitat for the species based on a district court decision [PDF] in California. The Endangered Species Act requires advance notice before a lawsuit is filed. Read Pacific Legal's 60-day notice [PDF] of its intent to sue and a press release. AP has more.

Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

Corporations & securities brief ~ Oracle, PeopleSoft fight for outstanding shares
Amit Patel on November 16, 2004 1:31 PM ET

[JURIST] In Tuesday's corporations and securities law news, Oracle's hostile bid for PeopleSoft Inc. has not been defeated as top shareholders in PeopleSoft are split on whether to accept the bid. Capital Guardian Trust Co. will tender its 10% stake to Oracle while Private Capital Management LP will not vote its 9.3% stake because PeopleSoft may be worth more. Oracle which will pull its offer on November 19 says 70% of PeopleSoft shares are up for grabs. Oracle has more on its offer for PeopleSoft here. Bloomberg has more.

In other news, Fannie Mae missed a regulatory filing deadline as the mortgage giant's outside auditor KPMG refused to sign off on its third-quarter earnings report. Read the Fannie Mae press release here. AP has more.... Hollinger International Inc. will sell The Jerusalem Post to Israeli media company Mirkaei Tikshoret Group Ltd. for $13.2 million. Canada's largest newspaper publisher, CanWest Global Communications Corp., will take a 50 percent interest in the newspaper as part of the deal. Read the CanWest press release here. AP has more. In other Hollinger news, Conrad Black's company Ravelston is attempting to buy out Hollinger and take the company private. Reuters has more.... Enron's bankruptcy proceedings are likely to cost up to $1 billion in legal fees. The Billings Gazette has more.... Two Merrill Lynch analysts, who had been put on paid administrative leave for writing that J Sainsbury had told them that their forecasts in the food retailing sector were too high, returned to work after being cleared by an internal review. The Financial Times has more.... A flight attendant union is calling for a nationwide strike by its members over what they feel is a concerted effort by airline management to wipe out union contracts and deprive employees of their livelihood. The strike could affect up to 26 airlines including US Airways. The Washington Business Journal has more.... The boards of French defense company Thales SA and European aerospace consortium EADS have not submitted merger proposals despite reports the French government wants EADS to take over Thales which in effect would create a rival to Boeing Co. AP has more.... Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Michael Eisner testified in a shareholder suit over the severance package paid to former president Michael Ovitz. Eisner testifed that he reviewed Ovitz's employment agreement with the full board of directors. Courtroom Connect has coverage of the shareholder trial here. AP has more.... As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, A federal judge has refused to overturn the fraud and conspiracy convictions of Adelphia Communications founder and former chairman John Rigas and former CFO Timothy Rigas. Bloomberg has more.

  • click for previous corporations and securities law news

  • Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    Video shows hostage aid worker in Iraq killed
    Chris Buell on November 16, 2004 1:06 PM ET

    [JURIST] A video obtained in Iraq appears to show that Margaret Hassan, an aid worker of dual British and Iraqi nationality taken hostage last month, has been murdered, her family and the British government said Tuesday. Hassan, who was director of CARE International's Iraq operations, was kidnapped Oct. 19 while on her way to work. Several videotapes were released in which her captors threatened to kill her if the UK did not withdrawal its troops from the counrty. Hassan was later shown on video making an appeal for the release of all female prisoners in Iraq. It is still unknown what group was responsible for her kidnapping and murder. Read CARE International's statement on Hassan's apparent death. Hassan's family released a statement after viewing the video:

    Margaret was a friend of the Arab world, to people of all religions. Her love of the Arab people started in the 1960s when she worked in Palestinian camps, living with the poorest of the poor and supporting the refugees. For the past thirty years, Margaret worked tirelessly for the Iraqi people. Margaret had only goodwill towards everyone. She had no prejudice against any creed. She dedicated her whole life to working for the poor and vulnerable, helping those who had no-one else. Those who are guilty of this atrocious act, and those who support them, have no excuses. Nobody can justify this. Margaret was against sanctions and the war. To commit such a crime against anyone is unforgivable. But we cannot believe how anybody could do this to our kind, compassionate sister. The gap she leaves will never be filled.
    Read the full statement. BBC News has a timeline of events surrounding Hassan's murder. Reuters has more.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    BREAKING NEWS ~ Spanish court hands down first Madrid bombings sentence
    Bernard Hibbitts on November 16, 2004 12:25 PM ET

    [JURIST] BBC News is reporting that a Spanish court has sentenced a 16 year-old boy to six years in jail after he admitted handling explosives used in the Madrid train bombings. The sentencing is the first in connection with the March 11, 2004 terror attacks that took almost 200 lives.

    12:50 PM ET - BBC News now has a story available on the sentencing, as well as more on other suspects in the Madrid bombings. From Spain, El Mundo has local coverage.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    Thatcher charged in connection with Equatorial Guinea coup plot
    Chris Buell on November 16, 2004 12:20 PM ET

    [JURIST] Mark Thatcher, son of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was charged Tuesday along with seven others for alleged involvement in a failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea. Reports differed on whether 51-year-old Thatcher, who is currently being held on charges in South Africa, would be tried in absentia or extradited to face the charges. A defense lawyer for Thatcher reported that he would be tried in absentia, while anonymous government sources in Equatorial Guinea said the country would seek his extradition. Equatorial Guinea has accused Thatcher and others of financing an attempted coup to overthrow the current president of the oil-rich African country. BBC News has background on the alleged coup plot. AP has more.

    Previously on JURIST's Paper Chase....

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    Federal judge lets verdicts stand in Adelphia fraud case
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 11:49 AM ET

    [JURIST] A federal judge has refused to overturn the fraud and conspiracy convictions of Adelphia Communications founder and former chairman John Rigas and former CFO Timothy Rigas. The pair were convicted of one count of conspiracy, 15 counts of securities fraud, and two counts of bank fraud for looting the company and lying about its finances. US District Judge Leonard Sand rejected defense arguments that the convictions should be overturned and a new trial granted because the prosecution didn't present enough evidence and the judge made errors during trial. Bloomberg News has more. AP has background on the convictions.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    Reporters group faults Gonzales for limiting access to government information
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 11:32 AM ET

    [JURIST] The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has released a report on US Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales concluding that while he recognizes First Amendment interests in newsgathering and reporting, his record as a Texas Supreme Court judge and as White House counsel advising the President on such matters as Presidential papers, the Cheney energy task force and proceedings against Guantanamo detainees suggests he will favor strict regulation of access to government and executive-branch information. The RCFP ominously notes that "If confirmed, [Gonzales] will have an even greater role in setting the standard for public access to government information." Read the RCFP report and this press release. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the Gonzales nomination.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    UN rights commissioner calls for probe into Fallujah violations
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 10:48 AM ET

    [JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former UN war crimes chief prosecutor Louise Arbour issued a statement Tuesday expressing "deep concern" over the situation of civilians in Fallujah and calling for an investigation into possible violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law:

    There have been a number of reports during the current confrontation alleging violations of the rules of war designed to protect civilians and combatants. The High Commissioner is particularly worried over poor access by civilians still in the city to the delivery of humanitarian aid and about the lack of information regarding the number of civilians casualties.

    The High Commissioner considers that all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law must be investigated and those responsible for breaches -- including deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the killing of injured persons and the use of human shields -- must be brought to justice, be they members of the Multinational Force or insurgents.
    Read the full press release. Reported incidents alleging violations of the rules of war include the Saturday shooting by a US marine of a wounded, unarmed Iraqi prisoner in a Fallujah mosque who was said to be pretending to be dead, now under investigation by the US military (see this previous report on JURIST's Paper Chase for more). Additionally, an AP photographer who witnessed the siege of Fallujah reports seeing US forces shoot dead a family of five attempting to cross the Euphrates River in an attempt to flee the city. AP has more.

    Arbour's statement Tuesday marks the first time the former ICTY Chief Prosecutor and Canadian Supreme Court justice has called for an investigation into war crimes abuses in Fallujah, although rights groups have accused both sides of breaking rules designed to protect civilians and wounded combatants during conflict. Last week, Amnesty International released this statement expressing concern about violations of the rules of war in Fallujah. Reuters has more.

    11:44 AM ET - Amnesty International Tuesday renewed its call for urgent action to prevent war crimes in Fallujah, saying:
    Unequivocal orders for the proper treatment of unarmed and wounded insurgents must be issued or reinforced to all US and Iraqi military and civilian personnel. US and Iraqi forces should be clear that under international law they have an obligation to protect and provide necessary medical attention to wounded insurgents who are no longer posing a threat, as well as to civilians.

    The deliberate shooting of unarmed and wounded fighters who pose no immediate threat is a war crime under international law and there is therefore an obligation on the US authorities to investigate all such reports and to hold perpetrators of such crimes accountable before the law. Such investigations should be open and transparent and the findings should be made public. Any potential witnesses should be protected.
    Read the full Amnesty press release.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    International brief ~ UN Security Council travels to Africa for Sudan discussions
    D. Wes Rist on November 16, 2004 10:40 AM ET

    [JURIST] The UN Security Council arrives in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday in preparation for its official meetings on the peace process in Sudan on Thursday. The meeting marks only the fourth time that the UN Security Council has ever held official proceedings outside of the normal New York City headquarters. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will also be attending the meeting in effort to produce real possibilities of a final resolution to the conflict, along with the presidents of several African nations, including Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. The current peace talks, suspended for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, are scheduled to resume November 26. Human Rights Watch, a human rights NGO, published a report Monday that called on the UN to impose sanctions against the leadership of the Sudan and enforce an arms embargo against the pro-government Arab militias that have been responsible for a large portion of the conflict and displacement of local citizens; Amnesty International filed a similar report Tuesday. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the conflict in the Sudan. The Sudan Tribune has more on the UN meeting and more on the HRW report.

    Bosnian-Serb police officials announced Tuesday that they have detained 8 suspects currently named on the wanted list of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The arrests mark the first time Bosnian-Serb national authorities have detained those suspected of committing war crimes. All other individuals currently held by the ICTY either surrendered to or were apprehended by NATO peacekeeping forces. The arrests follow one day after government officials of the Serb entity Republika Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina published a new report Monday on the actions of Bosnian Serbs against Bosnian Muslims in the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised the report, saying that it would go a long way toward's healing the region's wounds. Annan also said that he expected concrete results to occur based on the report, either in national courts, or in the ICTY, which is tasked with prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humanity arising out of the civil and political upheaval in the region during the 1990s. Reuters has more on the arrests. Read the official statement from the Secretary-General's office on the Srpska report here. The UN News Centre has more.

    Juan E. Mendez, UN Special Representative on the Prevention of Genocide, warned Monday that the actions of the government in Cote d'Ivoire were deepening xenophobia in the area and were creating an environment conducive towards the violation of human rights and humanitarian norms. Mendez said that the already appalling situation that included torture, arbitrary detention, disappearances and sexual violence was being exacerbated by the government's actions. Mendez announced that he had submitted a written report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan calling for reform by the goverment. Specifically, Mendez called on Cote d'Ivoire to limit the propaganda and hate speech through official goverment media outlets, warning that failure to comply could result in the situation being referred to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The report follows the imposition of sanctions by the UN Security Council against Cote d'Ivoire Monday. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the situation in Cote d'Ivoire. The UN News Centre has more.

    Trial proceedings began Tuesday in the court martial of Major General Carlos Garcia of the Philippines. Garcia is charged with violations of the Philippine Articles of War, Provisions 96 and 97, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman and conduct prejudicial to good conduct and military discipline, to which he pleaded not guilty early Tuesday morning. The charges follow allegations of corruption uncovered during the push for tighter enforcement of anit-graft laws by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The next hearing is scheduled for November 23. Garcia also faces civilian criminal charges of corruption and bribery rising to the level of plunder under the country's new stringent anti-graft laws following the completion of the court martial. A guilty verdice of plunder in the Philippines is punishable by death. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the allegations agains Garcia. The Philippine Daily Inquirer has more.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    PeopleSoft shareholders, Oracle ask judge to order lifting of "poison pill" provisions
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 10:29 AM ET

    [JURIST] A group of dissident PeopleSoft shareholders have asked a Delaware judge to order PeopleSoft's board to negotiate with Oracle, the rival software maker trying to acquire PeopleSoft, according to a Tuesday Wall Street Journal report. The shareholders have asked Vice Chancellor Leo Strine Jr. to reopen a lawsuit against PeopleSoft and to order the PeopleSoft board to drop a "poison pill" anti-takeover measure blocking Oracle's efforts to acquire PeopleSoft. Chancellor Strine is also considering a request from Oracle to order PeopleSoft to lift the anti-takeover provisions. Reuters has more.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    Scottish prisoners sue over prison conditions
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 9:59 AM ET

    [JURIST] A group of five prisoners who were held in special segregation units in Scottish jails is suing the Scottish Prison Service. The segregation units are used to hold prisoners that cause problems within the mainstream jail. The group's lawyer will argue in a hearing Tuesday that being kept in the segregation units, where the prisoners are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, violates the prisoners' human rights. The group will also argue that the prison service was aware of the problems caused by segregation units but failed to act. In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, lawyer Tony Kelly said that removing a prisoner from the mainstream prison to segregation units "represents a gross detriment." Kelly said that "the prisoner is locked in a cell by himself, in some cases slopping out, for 23 hours a day. When he does get out for one hour, he's in a concrete pen within the segregation unit that is very small and hung over by a wire mesh." Justice spokesman for the Scottish National Party Kenny MacAskill has said that although prisoners forfeit their liberty, "they are still entitled to be treated with some dignity and some respect," and questioned the treatment of prisoners. BBC News has more.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    Federal judge stays ruling in employment discrimination suit against UPS
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 9:44 AM ET

    [JURIST] US District Judge Thelton Henderson has stayed his own ruling that UPS violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by barring deaf and hearing-impaired workers from driving delivery trucks. After handing down his opinion in October, Henderson had given the company 30 days to change its policies, but Henderson has now issued a stay so that UPS can appeal to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Read Henderson's opinion [PDF] that UPS violated the ADA. AP has more.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    New EU Justice Commissioner nominee faces parliamentary review hearings
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 9:12 AM ET

    [JURIST] Franco Frattini (profile from BBC News), the new Italian nominee for the EU Justice, Freedom and Security portfolio, faced his second day of hearings before European Parliament committees Tuesday. As reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, Frattini was named to the slate of incoming European Commissioners when controversial nominee Rocco Buttiglione withdrew his name after receiving harsh criticism for expressing conservative views on homosexuality and marriage during his review hearings. On Monday, Frattini faced questioning from the Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties. Although most of the questions dealt with immigration policy, several MEPs did ask questions about Frattini's views on gender and sexual orientation discrimination. Frattini only said that is he is now "a representative of Europe," he would be bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Read a summary [PDF] of Frattini's testimony. EUobserver.com has more. Tuesday morning, Frattini was questioned by the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee. Frattini's written answers to questions posed to him before the hearings are available here [PDF].

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    Military investigating possible Fallujah war crime by US Marine
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 8:46 AM ET

    [JURIST] The US military said Tuesday that it "is investigating an allegation of the unlawful use of force in the death of an enemy combatant." A US marine was videotaped by a news camera crew this weekend shooting a wounded, unarmed Iraqi prisoner in a Fallujah mosque who was said to be pretending to be dead. NBC News reporter Kevin Sites witnessed the incident:

    Sites saw the five wounded men left behind on Friday still in the mosque. Four of them had been shot again, apparently by members of the squad that entered the mosque moments earlier. One appeared to be dead, and the three others were severely wounded. The fifth man was lying under a blanket, apparently not having been shot a second time.

    One of the Marines noticed that one of the severely wounded men was still breathing. He did not appear to be armed, Sites said.

    The Marine could be heard insisting: “He’s f---ing faking he’s dead — he’s faking he’s f---ing dead.” Sites then watched as the Marine raised his rifle and fired into the man’s head from point-blank range.

    “Well, he’s dead now,” another Marine said.

    When told that the man he shot was a wounded prisoner, the Marine, who himself had been shot in the face the day before but had already returned to duty, told Sites: “I didn’t know, sir. I didn’t know.”

    According to the Central Command statement:
    The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether the Marine acted in self-defense, violated military law or failed to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict. The Marine has been withdrawn from the battlefield pending the results of the investigation.

    Based upon the investigation, the convening authority will determine the appropriate course of action.

    "We follow the Law of Armed Conflict and hold ourselves to a high standard of accountability," said Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, I Marine Expeditionary Force Commanding General. "The facts of this case will be thoroughly pursued to make an informed decision and to protect the rights of all persons involved."
    Read the full press release. MSNBC has more. The International Committee of the Red Cross has background on international laws governing armed conflict.

    9:32 AM ET - NBC now has edited video of the incident available online from Tuesday's Today program.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    UK government proposes smoking ban for England
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 8:13 AM ET

    [JURIST] The British government unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would ban smoking in most enclosed public areas, including offices, factories, cafes, restaurants and most pubs in England. Only private clubs and pubs that do not serve prepared food would be exempt from the ban. In addition to the ban on smoking in public places, the government has also proposed to place tighter restrictions on advertising of tobacco. The proposal for England comes a week after the Scottish Executive unanimously approved a ban on smoking in enclosed public places (see this previous report on JURIST's Paper Chase). Read the UK Department of Health white paper on Choosing Health: making healthier choices easier, which contains the proposed smoking ban. BBC News provides a summary of the report's key recommendations and has background on global efforts to curb smoking. Finally, BBC News has more on the proposed ban in England.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    Legal agenda and live webcasts ~ Tuesday, November 16
    Jeannie Shawl on November 16, 2004 6:30 AM ET

    [JURIST] Here's a run-down of law-related events, expected developments and live webcasts on JURIST's docket for Tuesday, November 16.

    On Capitol Hill, the US House and Senate both reconvene for legislative business today after being in recess since October. AP has more.... The Senate will meet at 12 PM ET and after a period of morning business will consider the nomination of Francis J. Harvey to be Secretary of the Army. Watch a live webcast (via C-SPAN).... The US House meets at 2 PM ET. Watch a live webcast (via C-SPAN).... The US Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a 9 AM ET hearing on judicial nominations. Watch a live webcast.... The US Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Financial Management, the Budget, and International Security will hold a 10:30 AM ET oversight hearing on insurance brokerage practices, including potential conflicts of interest and the adequacy of the current regulatory framework. Witnesses include NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Richard Blumenthal, CT Attorney General. Watch a live webcast.

    The US Sentencing Commission will hold a 1 PM ET public hearing on possible changes to sentencing guidelines. Read the hearing agenda.

    The trial of Fatmir Limaj and his co-defendants continues Tuesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Watch a webcast of the trial beginning at 9:30 AM local time (3:30 AM ET); the webcast is on a 30-minute tape delay. The ICTY has background on the case.... The defense phase of Slobodan Milosevic's trial will resume Tuesday. Watch a webcast beginning at 2:45 PM local time (8:45 AM ET); the webcast is on a 30-minute tape delay. The ICTY has case information.

    At the United Nations, the Security Council will meet at 9:30 AM ET and will discuss the situation in Timor-Leste.... The General Assembly will meet at 10 AM ET for a debate on oceans and the law of the sea. Watch a live webcast.

    The European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Franco Frattini as EU Justice Commissioner. A recorded webcast of Tuesday morning's hearing will be available at 1 PM local time (7 AM ET). JURIST's Paper Chase has background on Frattini's nomination.

    Link | | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | archive | Facebook page

    For more legal news check the Paper Chase Archive...


    Unprecedented Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping in a Closed Case
    Ramzi Kassem
    CUNY School of Law

    Get JURIST legal news delivered daily to your e-mail!


    Add Paper Chase legal news to your RSS reader or personalized portal:
    • Add to Google
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Add to My AOL


    Subscribe to Paper Chase by e-mail. JURIST offers a free once-a-day digest [sample]. Enter your e-mail address below. After subscribing and being returned to this page, please check your e-mail for a confirmation message.

    R|mail e-mails individual Paper Chase posts through the day. Enter your e-mail address below. After subscribing and being returned to this page, please check your e-mail for a confirmation message.


    Join top US law schools, federal appeals courts, law firms and legal organizations by publishing Paper Chase legal news on your public website or intranet.

    JURIST offers a news ticker and preformatted headline boxes updated in real time. Get the code.

    Feedroll provides free Paper Chase news boxes with headlines or digests precisely tailored to your website's look and feel, with content updated every 15 minutes. Customize and get the code.


    Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.


    Paper Chase welcomes comments, tips and URLs from readers. E-mail us at JURIST@jurist.org