Archive for the ‘Constitutional Law’ Category

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox

In what hopefully will become the conclusion of a oppressive years long ordeal, Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, overturned the murder convictions against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

The news came as somewhat a surprise considering the zeal at which the prosecution fought to ensure the defendants be imprisoned for over two decades. The subsequent court drama and media circuses made it seem an almost foregone conclusion her fate would ultimately rest upon an extradition hearing within the purview of American courts.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag of TurkeyIn an injustice to both the liberty of a Kurdish man and free speech in general a court in Turkey handed down thirteen year sentence to a defendant accused of removing a Turkish flag at a military base near Diyarbakir, Turkey. The disproportionate sentence followed an outraged Recep Erdogan who declared after the act, “[w]e don’t care if he is a child. Even if a child dares to take down our sacred flag both him and those who send him there will pay a price.”

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200px-Coat_of_arms_of_Saudi_Arabia.svgSheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, who serves as the grand mufti of Sifaudi Arabia, is calling for Kuwait to follow the lead of Saudi Arabia and ban the construction of any Christian religious site. While Islamic leaders like the Grand Mufti are outraged with any slight or restriction of their religion, they deny the most fundamental rights of free exercise to other religions in the name of Islam. This is nothing new for the Saudi cleric and his colleagues. He previously called for all churches to be destroyed in 2012. It is not clear if this is a repeat of his announcement a few years ago or a recycling of the earlier story. However, it is a shocking position from one of the highest Islamic clerics in the world and adds an insight into the recent religious violence in places like Syria and Iraq.

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California flagAttorney Matt McLaughlin, an attorney in Huntington Beach, California, is facing a call for disbarment after he filed for a statewide resolution that would legalize the execution of gay people and make it a crime to support gay rights in the state. Anyone can file such papers and, for just $200, force the attorney general to prepare a title and a summary for the proposed new law. The question is whether this despicable act can or should be used for a bar action as conduct that shows that he is not of “good moral character.”

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unnamed-1This morning I will be testifying in the House of Representatives before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary. The hearing is entitled “Child Exploitation Restitution Following the Paroline Decision and addresses a long-standing controversy over the limits on restitution in such cases. My testimony is below.

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150px-OPRFHighSchoolLogoNRouseThere is an interesting controversy at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park (outside of Chicago) where the school allowed students to hold a black-student only meeting. OPRF held a “Black Lives Matter” assembly on Feb. 27 but barred parents of white students who tried to participate. Principal Nathaniel Rouse (right), the assembly’s organizer, insisted he thought black students would speak more freely among members of their own race as what is known as affinity grouping. It might also be called racial segregation at a public school. What if white students wanted to engage in “affinity grouping” by excluding minority students?

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17282445-mmmain20150318_inq_rrxpsu18-aPennsylvania State University Associate Professor Karen Bettez Halnon, 52, took her students on a memorable field trip this month to Nicaragua that ended in witnessing her reported meltdown and arrest on an American Airlines flight that landed in Miami. In addition to reportedly raving about how the United States was setting up Venezuela for “military aggression,” she also lit up a cigarette to reportedly show symbolize the United States as a “smoking gun.” She was charged with disorderly-conduct and breach-of-peace. She has accused the FBI and airport security of abusing her after her arrest. Her two research assistants reportedly made it home safely.

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