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Muslim cleric is in US court fighting against deportation
Court Watch | 2016/12/06 10:56
The leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques has taken the stand to defend himself against charges that he lied on his green card application.

Imam Mohammad Qatanani is the leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County.

A judge ruled against immigration authorities' attempt to have him deported eight years ago. Federal officials say he didn't disclose that he'd been convicted in Israel for being a member of Hamas.

Qatanani began testifying Tuesday before an immigration court judge in Newark as part of the appeals process.

Qatanani denies he was ever part of the group classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. He says he was only detained and never convicted.

Qatanani came to the U.S. from Jordan. He was born in the West Bank.



Court: Star Chinese investor pleads guilty in stock case
Court Watch | 2016/12/06 10:56
to insider trading and manipulating share prices.

The court in the eastern city of Qingdao said in a statement Tuesday that Xu Xiang and two co-defendants pleaded guilty at the start of a trial but no verdict had been issued.

Xu was arrested in November after a rapid rise in Chinese share prices collapsed. Top executives of China's biggest state-owned securities firm also were arrested in a separate case.

The court statement said Xu and his co-defendants were accused of conspiring with executives of 13 companies from 2010 to 2015 to inflate their share price and then sell.



Supreme Court takes up cases about race in redistricting
Corporate Governance | 2016/12/05 10:56
The Supreme Court is taking up a pair of cases in which African-American voters maintain that Southern states discriminated against them in drawing electoral districts.

The justices are hearing arguments Monday in redistricting disputes from North Carolina and Virginia.

The claim made by black voters in both states is that Republicans created districts with more reliably Democratic black voters than necessary to elect their preferred candidates, making neighboring districts whiter and more Republican.

A federal court struck down two North Carolina districts as unconstitutional because they relied too heavily on race. In Virginia, a court rejected a constitutional challenge to 12 state legislative districts. The justices have frequently considered the intersection of race and politics.


Lawyers for Egypt's Islamists see high court as last refuge
Class Action | 2016/12/04 10:57
Twice this month, Egypt's highest appeals court has struck down harsh sentences against Mohammed Morsi, the elected Islamist president overthrown by the military in 2013, giving some hope to thousands of his supporters, who were jailed or sentenced to death by hasty verdicts following mass trials.

Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed as a terrorist group, and the court has upheld heavy sentences against its members. But its quashing of some of the faultiest rulings has led lawyers to see the appeals court as a last refuge for justice.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and other top officials have long insisted that Egypt's judiciary is independent of the government and does not engage in show trials.

But a series of swift, mass verdicts issued in the tumultuous months after Morsi's ouster, as security forces were cracking down on his supporters and violently dispersing protests, raised the possibility that Egypt might execute the Brotherhood's leadership.

Many judges on the lower courts openly expressed their disdain for the Islamists and their desire to impose order after the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising. Defense lawyers say they often relied on faulty police reports citing anonymous security sources.

Among the most notorious rulings were those by a court in the southern city of Minya, which sentenced more than 1,000 alleged Morsi supporters to death in two mass trials that each lasted only a few days. Some of those death sentences were later rescinded by a religious authority, and many of the defendants appealed the rulings and were granted retrials. None were executed.

Scores of other cases were reversed by the Court of Cassation, whose members are appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council, a panel of the country's most experienced and well-respected judges.

Rights lawyers see it as a refuge for those who have been tried, convicted and condemned by the lower courts, as well as public opinion.


Court blocks federal plan to extend overtime pay to many
Law Center | 2016/12/03 10:57
In a blow to the Obama administration's labor-law plans, a federal court has blocked the start of a rule that would have made an estimated 4 million more American workers eligible for overtime pay heading into the holiday season.

As a result of Tuesday's ruling, overtime changes set to take effect Dec. 1 are now unlikely be in play before vast power shifts to a Donald Trump administration, which has spoken out against Obama-backed government regulation and generally aligns with the business groups that stridently opposed the overtime rule.

The U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas granted the nationwide preliminary injunction, saying the Department of Labor's rule exceeds the authority the agency was delegated by Congress.

"Businesses and state and local governments across the country can breathe a sigh of relief now that this rule has been halted," said Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who led the coalition of 21 states and governors fighting the rule and has been a frequent critic of what he characterized as Obama administration overreach. "Today's preliminary injunction reinforces the importance of the rule of law and constitutional government."

The regulation sought to shrink the so-called "white collar exemption" that allows employers to skip overtime pay for salaried administrative or professional workers who make more than about $23,660 per year. Critics say it's wrong that some retail and restaurant chains pay low-level managers as little as $25,000 a year and no overtime — even if they work 60 hours a week.


Ohio sheriff accused of drug theft changing not guilty plea
Business | 2016/12/02 10:58
A suspended sheriff in Ohio who has denied stealing prescription drugs and misusing office funds is due in court to change his not guilty plea.

Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer is scheduled to attend a change of plea hearing Monday in Fremont.

Overmyer had pleaded not guilty in August to six felony charges in a 43-count indictment.

The two-term sheriff was charged with stealing medications drug disposal drop boxes, deceiving doctors into giving him painkillers and misusing department funds.

A judge recently sent him back to jail after deciding he violated terms of his bond by contacting potential witnesses.

Overmyer has said the investigation was politically motivated. He was suspended but kept his sheriff's title. He lost his re-election bid about two weeks ago.






UK Supreme Court hears landmark challenge to Brexit plans
Court Watch | 2016/12/02 10:57
Britain's Supreme Court began hearing a landmark case Monday that will decide who has the power to trigger the U.K.'s exit from the European Union — the government or Parliament.

The legal battle has major constitutional implications for the balance of power between the legislature and the executive, and has inflamed Britain's already raw wound over how and whether to leave the EU.

The court's most senior justice, David Neuberger, opened the four-day hearing by condemning the "threats of serious violence and unpleasant abuse" directed at Gina Miller, one of the claimants trying to ensure Parliament gets a say.

"Threatening and abusing people because they are exercising their fundamental right to go to court undermines the rule of law," Neuberger said, banning publication of the addresses of Miller and other parties in the case.

Neuberger and 10 other justices at the country's top court must decide whether Prime Minister Theresa May's government can invoke Article 50 of the EU's key treaty, the trigger for two years of divorce talks, without the approval of lawmakers.

May plans to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, using centuries-old government powers known as royal prerogative. The powers — traditionally held by the monarch but now used by politicians — enable decisions about joining or leaving international treaties to be made without a parliamentary vote.

Financial entrepreneur Miller and another claimant, hairdresser Deir Dos Santos, went to court to argue that leaving the EU would remove some of their rights, including free movement within the bloc, and that shouldn't be done without Parliament's approval.




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