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Iran goes to UN's highest court over re-imposed US sanctions
Lawyer Blogs | 2018/08/25 00:37
Iran went to the United Nations' highest court Monday in a bid to have U.S. sanctions lifted following President Donald Trump's decision earlier this year to re-impose them, calling the move "naked economic aggression."

Iran filed the case with the International Court of Justice in July, claiming that sanctions the Trump administration imposed on May 8 breach a 1955 bilateral agreement known as the Treaty of Amity that regulates economic and consular ties between the two countries.

At hearings that started Monday at the court's headquarters in The Hague, Tehran asked judges at the world court to urgently suspend the sanctions to protect Iranian interests while the case challenging their legality is being heard — a process that can take years.

In a written statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the legal move an attempt by Tehran "to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States to take lawful actions, including re-imposition of sanctions, which are necessary to protect our national security."

Trump said in May that he would pull the United States out of a 2015 agreement over Iran's nuclear program and would re-impose sanctions on Tehran. Washington also threatened other countries with sanctions if they don't cut off Iranian oil imports by early November.

Trump said in May that he would pull the United States out of a 2015 agreement over Iran's nuclear program and would re-impose sanctions on Tehran. Washington also threatened other countries with sanctions if they don't cut off Iranian oil imports by early November.

Iranian representative Mohsen Mohebi told the court the U.S. decision was a clear breach of the 1955 treaty as it was "intended to damage, as severely as possible, Iran's economy."

Iran's 2015 nuclear deal imposed restrictions on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program in return for the lifting of most U.S. and international sanctions against Tehran.


Man admits slaying wife, blames her for daughters' deaths
Press Releases | 2018/08/22 07:56
The father of two young girls found submerged in oil tanks after being missing for days told authorities his pregnant wife killed the children after learning he wanted a separation, and that he erupted in rage after witnessing the killings and strangled their mother inside the family's suburban Denver home, according to court documents.

Days after letting police inside his home so they could help find his missing family, Christopher Watts told investigators "he would tell the truth."

Watts first asked to speak with his father then admitted to killing his wife, Shanann. Watts told police in court papers released Monday that he killed her after witnessing her strangling one of the girls on a baby monitor. The other child had already been killed by the woman, he said.

Watts, 33, faces three first-degree murder charges, two counts of murdering a child under 12, one count of unlawful termination of a pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body. He is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday and is being held without bail.

District Attorney Michael Rourke declined to answer questions about the case Monday but said his office has three prosecutors working on it. Rourke also said it was too early to discuss whether he will seek the death penalty.

Police first visited the family's house on Aug. 13, after a friend asked officers to check on Shanann Watts. She had missed a doctor's appointment and wasn't answering calls or text messages hours after returning home after a business trip, the friend reported.


German court rules in broadcaster Nazi camp spat with Poland
Legal News | 2018/08/21 14:55
A German court has ruled that public broadcaster ZDF can’t be forced to post a specifically worded apology demanded by a Polish court for erroneously calling two World War II Nazi camps “Polish death camps.”

ZDF used that wording in reference to the Majdanek and Auschwitz death camps in advertising a 2013 documentary. After the Polish Embassy in Berlin objected, it changed the text to “German death camps on Polish territory.”

A Polish citizen who was a former inmate of Auschwitz and the Flossenbuerg concentration camp then launched a legal battle with ZDF, which twice apologized to him for the initial error and later published an apology.

In 2016, the plaintiff secured a ruling from a court in Krakow, Poland, ordering ZDF to post on its website for one month an apology stating that the original wording was “an incorrect formulation that distorts the history of the Polish people.” The broadcaster did publish the text from Dec. 2016 to Jan. 2017, but the plaintiff considered its compliance unsatisfactory and sought to have the Polish ruling legally enforced.

Lower German courts ruled that the verdict can be enforced in Germany. But the Federal Court of Justice said that it disagreed because the required formulation would violate the broadcaster’s right to freedom of opinion.


Sen. Collins, potential swing vote, meets with Kavanaugh
Legal Watch | 2018/08/20 11:55
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh met Tuesday with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a centrist who's seen as a potential swing vote on his confirmation, while Democrats push him to release more documents from his years in the George W. Bush White House.

Collins supports abortion rights and has vowed to oppose any nominee who has "demonstrated hostility" to Roe v. Wade. But she has spoken highly of President Donald Trump's nominee, saying he's qualified for the job.

The meeting Tuesday comes as Kavanaugh, an appellate court judge, is making the rounds on Capitol Hill ahead of confirmation hearings in September. One key meeting will be with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who says he'll ask Kavanaugh to fully support releasing documents from the Bush White House that Republicans have declined to review.

Schumer said he will ask Kavanaugh, as he has Republicans, "What are they hiding?" He expects the judge to be able to fully explain his record. "I hope he comes prepared to answer direct questions," he said.

Democrats complain that Republicans, who have a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, are withholding documents in their rush to confirm Trump's pick for the court ahead of the midterm elections.

Kavanagh, 53, is a conservative who, in replacing retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, could tip the court rightward for a generation.

Several Democratic women senators joined with advocates for women's health care Tuesday to talk about the stakes of adding Kavanaugh to the court, particularly when it comes to access to abortion services.



Alabama Supreme Court won't move lawsuit against Moore
Headline News | 2018/08/19 01:15
The Alabama Supreme Court on Friday refused to transfer a defamation lawsuit against former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore by a woman who says Moore molested her decades ago.

The court denied Moore's request to have the case heard in Etowah County instead of Montgomery. Moore issued a statement calling the decision "ridiculous."

Leigh Corfman accused Moore of sexually molesting her decades ago when she was 14 and he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Moore has denied the allegations, but they became an issue in the 2017 race in Alabama to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones.

Corfman in January filed a lawsuit against Moore and his campaign, saying they defamed her and made false statements, calling her a liar and immoral as they denied the claims in the midst of the election.

Moore sought to have the case heard in Etowah County where he and Corfman both live.

"The Court itself admits venue is proper in either county. Should not the case be tried in the county where we both live and where her reputation and character are well known?" Moore said.

Etowah County has also been friendlier territory for Moore. During the U.S. Senate race, Moore won about 60 percent of the vote in Etowah County, while he garnered just 27 percent of in Montgomery.

Several Supreme Court justices recused from the case involving Moore, who is a former chief justice of the court. Five retired judges were randomly selected to hear the case along with Associate Justice Brady Mendheim, Jr., and Associate Justice Will Sellers.



Lawyers will seek to shift blame for warehouse fire at trial
Legal Watch | 2018/08/17 08:15
Lawyers for the two men charged in the Northern California warehouse fire that killed 36 people said Friday they are now preparing for a trial where they will try to shift blame for the blaze from their clients to others, including the building's owner and government officials.

Derick Almena, 48, and Max Harris, 28, on Friday appeared briefly in an Oakland courtroom for the first time since a judge scuttled a plea deal agreed to by prosecutors. They were ordered back to court in three weeks to schedule a trial.

Outside court, the men's lawyers say there's plenty of blame to share for the Dec. 2, 2016, fire in an Oakland warehouse illegally converted into an underground entertainment venue and live-work space for artists. The cause of the fire has never been determined, which the lawyers said is key part of the men's defense.

Serra also said numerous government officials visited the illegally converted warehouse before the fire, and they had a duty to report the building's condition to authorities. Almena lived in the warehouse with his wife and three children and were visited by Alameda County's Child Protective Services officials several times. Oakland police officers were also called to the warehouse on several occasions to investigate noise complaints and tenant disputes, among other issues.


Court: Dismissal of cop's Black Lives Matter lawsuit is just
Law Firm Business | 2018/08/16 08:15
A federal appeals court says a Louisiana court rightly dismissed a deputy's lawsuit accusing Black Lives Matter and several leaders of inciting violence that led to a deadly 2016 attack on law enforcement officers.

The Advocate reports a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans unanimously supported the lower court's ruling Wednesday. A judge found last year that the lawsuit failed to state a plausible claim for relief.

The suit doesn't name the officer but its description of the plaintiff matches East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Deputy Nicholas Tullier, who was critically wounded by 29-year-old Gavin Long. Long killed three law enforcement officers and was later gunned down by authorities.

The attack occurred less than two weeks after a white Baton Rouge officer killed 37-year-old black man Alton Sterling during a struggle.



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