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Court Stays Guantanamo Prisoner Release
Legal Topics | 2008/10/09 16:27
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Wednesday stayed a federaljudge's order that the Bush administration free 17 prisoners fromGuantanamo. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered the governmentto bring the prisoners to his court Friday, saying the administrationhad not proved they had broken any laws or were "unlawful enemycombatants." The three-judge appeals panel gave the Justice Departmentand the Uighurs' attorneys until Oct. 16 to submit briefs.
    TheUighurs, Muslims who lived in China, face torture if deported there,Urbina said, so they must be released in the United States. Theirsupporters say a Pakistani tribe sold the men to the U.S. military forthe U.S.-offered bounty of $5,000 apiece.
    Urbina's order on Tuesday set the Bush administration into a tizzy.


Carol Doyle Represents Immigration Detainees
Court Watch | 2008/10/08 16:06
Federal officials refused to treat a diabetic immigration detainee'sgangrenous wound for more than two months, despite a stench so bad thatother prisoners staged a hunger strike to demand care for him, MartinHernandez Banderas claims in Federal Court. He says that when theagonizing infection became so serious that a doctor recommendedamputation, the USA discharged him from prison so it wouldn't have topay for it.
    Hernandez Banderas was imprisoned at theImmigration and Customs Enforcement prison in San Diego. Among theclaims in his federal complaint are that 83 detainees have died incustody of the immigration service in the past 5 years, many of themfrom inadequate medical care.
    Hernandez says his treatment wasso bad it constituted torture. He demands punitive damages. He isrepresented by Carol Doyle with Willoughby Doyle of Oakland.


Tokyo Broadcasting Sues ABC for Ripping off Shows
Legal Topics | 2008/10/07 16:29
ABC's "reality" show "Wipeout" is a ripoff of Tokyo BroadcastingSystem's shows, the Japanese network claims in Federal Court. TBS saysABC's show might "more aptly be titled 'Swipe-Out, given that it isnothing more than a blatant copycat combination of protected elementsstolen from plaintiff's ... shows 'Takeshi's Castle,' 'Most ExtremeElimination Challenge,' 'Sasuke,' 'Kunoichi,' 'Ninja Warrior' and'Women of Ninja Warrior.'
    TBS' complaint continues: "From themoment ABC revealed 'Wipeout' to the public, that program has routinelybeen described in the press as a 'rip-off' and 'knockoff' ofplaintiff's shows. Apparently, ABC boldly decided that it need notobtain plaintiff's permission to use the content of the shows despitethe obvious need for ABC to do so. ABC's willful and wrongful use ofPlaintiff's shows to create 'Wipeout' is egregious, inexcusable and notto be tolerated."
    TBS demands punitive damages for copyright violations and unfair competition. It is represented by Stanton Stein.


State Farm Won't Back Mean Mom
Legal Topics | 2008/10/06 16:45
State Farm says a policyholder, a mother, suggested her daughter taunta girl the daughter doesn't like by writing insults, including "bitch,""whore," "slut" and "you have no friends," on disposable diapers andstrewing them about the girl's yard. The girl attempted suicide and washospitalized after the mom bought the diapers, helped write theinsults, drove her daughter to the victim's house and helped her strewthem in the yard, State Farm says. It claims it has no obligation todefend the woman.
    State Farm claims that the defendant, JulieHefner-Phipps, admitted to police that she directed and participated inthe diaper insults.
    The girl's family sued Hefner-Philips.
    StateFarm says the victim tried suicide the day she saw the insultingdiapers, one of which stated, "move-bitch." She was placed in intensivecare and then sent to a psychiatric hospital.
    State Farm saysit's not obligated to defend Hefner-Phillips because the policyexcludes "bodily injury or property damage ... which is the result ofwillful and malicious acts of the insured."


Judge Rejects Challenge to College Religious Displays
Legal Topics | 2008/09/30 15:57
Religious displays in the bursar's office at Hunter College do not constitute a government endorsement of religion, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell dismissed a challenge brought by Herman Menes, a college accountant who said the collection of angel figurines, religious posters and holiday decorations on display at the city college violated his First Amendment rights.

Menes claimed the college transferred him from the bursar's department to the accounting department in retaliation for his complaints about the religious displays.

Holwell granted the college's motion for summary judgment, concluding that Menes "failed to offer evidence that any action or policy of any defendant, whether considered individually or in the aggregate, was undertaken with a non-secular purpose."

Menes also failed to establish a causal connection between his opposition to the office displays and his transfer, the judge ruled.


Bag Man Says FBI Told Him to Ask for $2M Hush Money
Areas of Focus | 2008/09/29 16:12
A bag man testified on Friday that he was following FBI instructions when he asked the government of Venezuela for $2 million in hush money, after he was caught carrying $800,000 in a briefcase intended, according to prosecutors, for Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in her campaign to become president of Argentina.

Guido Antonini, who was caught with the money, is now cooperating with federal prosecutors. He testified in Federal Court in Miami against Franklin Duran, who is accused of being an unregistered foreign agent in America.

Antonini was detained in August 2007 at a Buenos Aires airport. Antonini confirmed in his testimony on Thursday and Friady that he asked the government of Venezuela for $2 million in hush money, claiming he wanted it for legal expenses and other debt he would incur as a result of being caught with the $800,000.

In the trial before U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lenard, Antonini also testified that he told Duran he would not accept the money directly from Duran, that the money had to come from the Venezuelan government.

Antonini wore a wire during his conversations with Duran, according to the testimony. In one of the taped conversations used in court, Antonini is refusing $2 million in hush money directly from Duran. He says he wants to receive the money directly from the Venezuelan government.

But Duran answers that the Venezuelans won't go for that because they don't trust him, thehy think he is working with the FBI. The two men never spoke again after that conversation.

Duran's defense lawyer, Edward Shohat from Bierman Shohat Loewy & Klein, suggested that when Antonini pressured Venezuela to accept the hush money offer on his terms, he committed extortion.

Antonini replied by saying that he was acting as instructed by the FBI.


Guilty Plea In Courthouse Bombing
Areas of Focus | 2008/09/26 16:03
Eric R. Robinson pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to bomb the San Diego Federal Courthouse. Robinson admitted he drove a co-conspirator to the courthouse on May 4 and waited in the car while the other person set off three pipe bombs, then he drove the other person back to Menifee, about 80 miles north.

Edward Reginald Robinson, 43, of San Diego, admitted he conspired with others to build and detonate a series of pipe bombs, including the ones used at the courthouse and others set off at a Federal Express distribution center in San Diego on April 25. He faces up to 30 years in prison at his Jan. 9, 2009 sentencing in San Diego Federal Court.


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