Federal Court

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Bin Laden's Son-In-Law's Trial Is America at Its Best

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith had to listen as decent people pledged to be fair

(Newser) - Jury selection began yesterday in the trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, and if you looked out the courthouse window, you could see Freedom Tower, which has risen in place of the World Trade Center. That's because Abu Ghaith is being tried in a civilian... More »

Madoff's Office Was Sexual Hotbed: Court Papers

Prosecutors make accusation in Manhattan federal court

(Newser) - Bernie Madoff's office was a hotbed of relationships that included a love triangle involving the Ponzi scheme king himself, according to court documents released today. Four associates of Madoff Securities and Madoff's former secretary were in Manhattan federal court facing charges over the $65 billion scheme when prosecutors... More »

Judge Denies Ron Paul's YouTube Lawsuit

Republican candidate wanted to sue over phony video

(Newser) - An imposter who claims to represent Ron Paul's campaign is beyond the reach of the law—at least for now. Last week a federal judge denied Paul's campaign the right to unmask “NHLiberty4Paul," a YouTube user who posted a video accusing former Republican candidate Jon Huntsman... More »

Barefoot Bandit Caught Bragging, Insulting Cops

20-year-old outlaw's emails and phone calls monitored in jail

(Newser) - The notorious Barefoot Bandit was caught boasting about his wild crime spree and hurling insults at police and prosecutors, which could hurt the young thief during his sentencing in federal court Friday. In jailhouse phone calls and emails that were monitored by authorities, 20-year-old Colton Harris-Moore called the police "... More »

Kansas Judge Blocks Law to Defund Planned Parenthood

Says he believes it is unconstitutional

(Newser) - A federal judge ruled today that Planned Parenthood would likely succeed in overturning a new Kansas law that would deny the group access to federal family planning funding, saying he believes the law is unconstitutional and was intended to punish Planned Parenthood for advocating for abortion rights. US District Judge... More »

Vacancies Leave Federal Courts in Crisis

Republican holds on judicial nominees taking a toll

(Newser) - Republicans’ refusal to allow votes on President Obama’s judicial nominees has pushed courts to the breaking point, particularly in southwestern courts struggling with drug and illegal immigration trials, the Washington Post reports. In Arizona, for example, some judges are handling about 1200 criminal cases simultaneously. The state recently declared... More »

Judge Throws Out Joe Miller's Legal Challenge

Murkowski can be certified as winner

(Newser) - A federal judge has tossed out Joe Miller’s legal challenge against Alaska’s vote count, and with it the stay preventing the state from certifying Lisa Murkowski as the state’s senator. She’ll be officially certified tomorrow, Politico reports. US District Judge Ralph Beistline cited the Alaska Supreme... More »

Judge: Westboro Protesters Free to Desecrate Flag

Federal court strikes down Nebraska law

(Newser) - A federal judge struck down Nebraska’s law against desecrating the flag yesterday, ruling that Westboro Baptist Church members were free to trample the flag as they protest at military funerals. Members of the infamous church often stomp on the flag, wear it, or wave it upside down at their... More »

Prop 8 Ruling Tough for Supreme Court to Overturn

Judge Vaughn Walker's findings are extensive, well-reasoned

(Newser) - Judge Vaughn Walker’s masterfully written ruling striking down Proposition 8 “was written for a court of one,” namely Anthony Kennedy, writes Dahlia Lithwick of Slate . Walker quotes extensively from Kennedy’s own findings (see Quotes, left), and his “findings of fact” section “knits together the... More »

Blago Lawyer Walks Off the Job

After dispute over closing argument, Sam Adam Jr. departs

(Newser) - Rod Blagojevich's lawyer left a federal courthouse in Chicago today without delivering his closing argument after the judge threatened to cite him for contempt of court, the Tribune reports . Sam Adam Jr. wanted to tell jurors about witnesses the government didn't call and planned to contend that their testimony would... More »

Court Voids FCC's Policy on Swearing

Indecency policy 'unconstitutionally vague,' judges rule

(Newser) - A federal appeals court ruled today that an f-bomb or two uttered on live TV isn't such a heinous crime after all. The court struck down the FCC's indecency policy on obscenities as "unconstitutionally vague," the Wall Street Journal reports. The zero-tolerance policy was so strict it violated... More »

Obama's Aunt Makes Second Plea for Asylum

Kenyan immigrant was ordered deported in 2004, but stayed

(Newser) - President Obama's Kenyan aunt is going before a Massachusetts immigration judge today for a second time to argue she should be allowed to stay in the US. Kenya native Zeituni Onyango is making her case this morning in US Immigration Court in Boston on medical grounds. She moved to the... More »

Landmark Prop 8 Trial to Begin Today

Witnesses will be called for first time in federal case

(Newser) - Gay marriage will have its day in federal court today, in an unprecedented trial that’s expected to reach all the way to the Supreme Court. The case, Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, challenges Proposition 8 on the basis that it violates the US Constitution’s guarantees to equal protection. It’ll... More »

Erin Andrews' Alleged Stalker Makes Bail

Michael David Barret must submit to home confinement

(Newser) - The traveling salesman who allegedly taped Erin Andrews in her hotel room and attempted to sell nude images of the ESPN reporter will be released on bail but confined to his home and forbidden to use the Internet. Michael David Barrett appeared in federal court in Chicago today and will... More »

Judge Revokes Stanford Bond

(Newser) - A US district judge today revoked bond for Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who's charged with swindling investors out of $7 billion. David Hittner approved a request by prosecutors to overturn a magistrate judge's decision to allow Stanford freed on $500,000 bond pending his trial. Prosecutors argued that Stanford's... More »

US Judge Boots Warrantless Wiretap Cases Vs. Telecoms

(Newser) - A federal judge has tossed out more than three dozen lawsuits filed against the nation's telecommunications companies for allegedly taking part in the government's email and telephone eavesdropping program that was done without court approval. The dismissals were widely expected after Congress in July agreed on new surveillance rules that... More »

Feds Seek 3 Years for 'Cyberbully' in Teen's Suicide

Probation is no deterrent: prosecutors

(Newser) - Federal prosecutors are pushing for the maximum 3-year prison sentence for Lori Drew, whose MySpace trickery drove a 13-year-old to kill herself. “Defendant has become the public face of cyberbullying,” prosecutors wrote. “A probationary sentence might embolden others.” But in a presentencing report, probation officers said... More »

Katrina Negligence Case Against Feds Goes to Court

(Newser) - Hurricane Katrina victims get their day in court beginning today, as a federal judge hears a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers. Tens of thousands of New Orleans residents could win damages, in what lawyers are calling “the last case standing” against the government. “This is sort... More »

Supreme Court: Suspects Must Go Before Judge Within 6 Hours

Or confessions will be thrown out of fed court

(Newser) - The Supreme Court today threw out the confession of Johnnie Corley, a Pennsylvania robbery suspect, saying that the 29½ hours federal authorities waited before bringing him to court was too long, the AP reports. In a 5-4 decision, the court said any confessions federal authorities elicited before a prisoner’s... More »

Madoff to Plead Guilty on 11 Counts, Faces 150 Years

(Newser) - Bernard Madoff's lawyer told a judge today his client will plead guilty later this week to 11 counts including money laundering, perjury and securities, mail and wire fraud. Prosecutors say the disgraced money manager will face up to 150 years in prison on the charges. More »

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