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Senate confirms first openly gay district judge

WASHINGTON — The US Senate late Monday overwhelmingly confirmed the first openly gay male federal judge in US history. Senators voted 80-13 to confirm Paul Oetken to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy praised Oetken as “a superbly qualified…

Judge declares mistrial in Clemens perjury case

The American judge in former baseball star Roger Clemens’ perjury trial has declared a mistrial after ruling that prosecutors violated his orders regarding the handling of evidence. US District Judge Reggie Walton said he made the decision because Clemens could not be assured a fair trial when prosecutors went against his orders and…

Deal may speed protections for imperiled species

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – The government would have until 2018 to decide whether to extend Endangered Species Act protections to hundreds of imperiled animals and plants under a deal with environmentalists submitted on Tuesday for approval by a federal judge. The agreement between the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity and…

WikiLeaks’ Assange appeals UK extradition ruling

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will on Tuesday start his appeal against a British court ruling that he can be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape. The 40-year-old Australian will take his legal battle to the High Court in London for a two-day hearing, in the hope of reversing…

Advocacy groups: N.C. courts inaccessible to non-English speaking residents

Three nonprofit groups have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, claiming that non-English speaking residents are not getting equal access to North Carolina courts. The Latin American Coalition, the Muslim American Society of Charlotte and the Vietnamese Association of Charlotte said in their May 16 complaint that…

Federal judge blocks South Dakota abortion law

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday blocked a new South Dakota abortion law requiring the longest waiting period in the nation at 72-hours and a meeting at an anti-abortion counseling center before a woman can have the procedure. The ruling on the South Dakota law, which was to…

US fraudster Madoff says sentence too harsh

NEW YORK — Bernard Madoff, sentenced to 150 years in jail for the biggest financial scam in US history, on Tuesday said the judge in his case had made him a “human pinata” and passed an overly harsh sentence. “Maybe the judge felt, ‘Well, he’s 70 years old, so even…

Judge strikes down ban on corporate campaign donations

A federal judge has struck down a 1905 law which prevented corporations from making direct donations to political campaigns. Although the case is likely to wind up in the Supreme Court, there is already speculation that it could completely upend a campaign funding system already in disarray as a result…

Judge voids controversial Wisconsin anti-union law

MADISON, Wisconsin (Reuters) – A Wisconsin judge on Thursday voided a controversial Republican-backed law restricting the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions. Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi said Republican lawmakers violated the state’s open meetings law in rushing the legislation through during massive protests at the state Capitol earlier…

Jared Lee Loughner ruled unfit to stand trial for shooting of Rep. Giffords

LOS ANGELES – A US judge ruled Wednesday that Jared Loughner was unfit to stand trial over charges he tried to assassinate a US congresswoman and killed six other people in Arizona, US media reported. Loughner had to be removed from court in Tucson after making an outburst at a…

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