Lawyer News
Today's Date: U.S. Attorney News Feed
US Lawyers Urge Bush to Keep Saddam in Custody
U.S. Legal News | 2006/12/21 17:26

Former US Attorney General and Saddam Hussein defense lawyer Ramsey Clark on Wednesday urged President Bush to keep Hussein and his Dujail trial co-defendants in US custody, expressing concern that Iraqi officials will torture the convicted defendants. Hussein and two of his co-defendants, Awad Hamed al-Bandar and Barzan al-Tikriti, were all convicted and sentenced to death last month for crimes against humanity committed in the Iraqi town of Dujail in 1982. The deadline to file appellate papers for the Dujail trial is on Saturday, and many expect the appellate court to make a decision on the appeal in a matter of days. If Hussein and his co-defendants lose the appeal, their execution will likely occur within 15 days, unless the US refuses to hand them over to Iraqi custody. Clark claims that the US has the "highest moral and legal obligation" to keep them in US custody, arguing that Iraqi officials will torture the co-defendants before their execution. Last week, an Iraqi official said that Hussein and his co-defendants will face a quick execution  and possibly a secret burial if the appellate court upholds their conviction.

Hussein is currently on trial on separate genocide charges for allegedly killing 100,000 Kurds during the so-called "Anfal" campaigns in the late 1980s. The Anfal trial could continue posthumously should Hussein be executed before proceedings in the second trial conclude.



Georgia Schools Remove Anti-Evolution Stickers
Court Feed News | 2006/12/20 18:09

ATLANTA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Cobb County School Board to keep controversial “Evolution Disclaimer” stickers out of biology textbooks in public schools, ending a legal challenge that began in 2002.

The anti-evolution stickers singled out the theory of evolution from all other scientific theories included in the textbooks. In 2005, the district court sided with the ACLU, stating that “the sticker sends a message to those who oppose evolution for religious reasons that they are favored members of the political community, while the sticker sends a message to those who believe in evolution that they are political outsiders.” 

ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Debbie Seagraves welcomed the settlement.

“I commend the brave parents in Cobb County who have fought for more than four years to ensure that their children receive proper science education in their public schools,” said Seagraves. “We are proud that we were able to represent them in their courageous struggle.”

In the agreement, Cobb County school officials state that they will not order the placement of “any stickers, labels, stamps, inscriptions, or other warnings or disclaimers bearing language substantially similar to that used on the sticker that is the subject of this action.” School officials also agreed not to take other actions that would undermine the teaching of evolution in biology classes.

After the Cobb County School Board passed the sticker policy in 2002, school district parents, represented by the ACLU of Georgia and attorney Michael Manely, sued the school board, arguing that the policy promoted a particular religious belief in science classrooms and therefore violated the religious freedom of students. In early 2005, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper agreed and ordered the school district to remove the stickers from its 35,000 biology textbooks.

The controversial stickers read, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

After Judge Cooper’s decision, school officials removed the stickers, but asked the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to reverse the ruling. In late spring, the appeals court sent the case back to Judge Cooper requesting more information about the situation before ruling on the constitutionality of the sticker policy.

Jeffrey Selman, the Cobb County parent who led the charge against the anti-evolution disclaimer, said today’s settlement puts to rest a contentious struggle in the community.

“The settlement brings to an end a long battle to keep our science classes free of political or religious agendas,” Selman said. “I am very pleased that the Cobb school board has dropped its defense of the anti-evolution policy. The board should be commended for taking this action.”

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Atlanta law firm Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, and Pepper Hamilton, a Philadelphia law firm, joined the ACLU of Georgia in handling the case on remand to the district court.

In a landmark case last year, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, along with Americans United and Pepper Hamilton, successfully argued against promoting the non-scientific ideology of “intelligent design” in public school science courses. On December 20, 2005, a federal judge ruled that intelligent design is not science and that the Dover Area School Board’s policy violated the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom.

Today’s case is Selman v. Cobb County School District.



Bush Has Not Decided on Troop Surge for Iraq
Law & Politics | 2006/12/20 17:55
President Bush says he has not yet made up his mind about whether to send more troops to Iraq.

At a year-end news conference from the White House complex Wednesday, the president said he is looking at all options, including ordering a short-term surge in U.S. forces. But he said he will only deploy more troops if there is a specific mission that can be accomplished with the addition.

The president acknowledged that 2006 was a difficult year for U.S. troops and for Iraqis. But he stressed that the enemy in Iraq needs to understand that it cannot intimidate American forces, and that his administration will not pull out of the country prematurely.

Mr. Bush also said he believes an increase in the size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps is needed, and he has asked his new defense secretary, Robert Gates, to report to him on plans to enlarge the forces as quickly as possible.

On the economy, Mr. Bush said he supports a Democratic proposal to increase the U.S. minimum wage, but he said it should be coupled with tax and regulatory relief for small businesses. He said he will work with Democrats to keep the economy strong.

He said he would also seek common ground with Democrats to reform the country's immigration laws and its national pension system, Social Security.

The Democrats won control of both houses of Congress in the November general elections.



No Breakthroughs at North Korea Nuclear Talks
U.S. Legal News | 2006/12/19 22:49

The chief U.S. negotiator at the six-party talks in Beijing that are aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program says there were no breakthroughs after his first bilateral meeting with his North Korean counterpart. From the Chinese capital, Roger Wilkison reports on the second day of the latest round of negotiations.

U.S. envoy Christopher Hill looked weary as he returned to his hotel after a long day of negotiations, including his first face-to-face meeting with North Korea's Kim Kye Gwan.

Hill and negotiators from China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea are trying to get North Korea to implement a pledge it made under a joint statement by the six in September 2005 to scrap its nuclear weapons in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

"We do not have any breakthroughs to report," he said. "I would say though that it was a substantial discussion where we went through some really specific ideas as to how to get going on implementing the joint statement."

North Korea says it will not consider getting rid of its nuclear-weapons program until the United Nations lifts sanctions on the reclusive communist state that were imposed after North Korea conducted a nuclear test in October. It also wants the United States to end financial restrictions Washington imposed in late 2005 on a Macau bank that U.S. officials say helped Pyongyang with counterfeiting and money-laundering activities.

North Korean and U.S. officials met on the sidelines of the negotiations to discuss that issue, but the U.S. team leader said resolving the financial restrictions issue is a long-term process.

Hill, meanwhile, called on host China, ostensibly an ally of North Korea, to play a bigger role in pushing the North Koreans to fulfill their pledge to disarm. He refers to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK.

"To solve the problem of the DPRK's nuclear ambitions is going to require a great effort by China," he said. "The United States cannot do it. We cannot do it by ourselves. We need to work in this multilateral framework ... Frankly, we need all the six parties. But I would say the Chinese have a very special role to play."

Whatever influence the Chinese may have over North Korea, and they say it is limited, Pyongyang insists that it is already a nuclear power. And it appears that nothing that has been said in the framework of the six-party talks has made it want to abandon its nuclear-weapons program.



Tax Law Changes to Affect People Giving to Charity
Lawyer News | 2006/12/19 22:21

WASHINGTON — Individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind several important tax law changes made last summer by the Pension Protection Act.

The new law offers older owners of individual retirement accounts a new way to give to charity. It also includes rules designed to provide both taxpayers and the government greater certainty in determining what may be deducted as a charitable contribution. Some of these changes include the following.

New Tax Break for IRA Owners

An IRA owner, age 70 ½ or over, can directly transfer tax-free, up to $100,000 per year to an eligible charitable organization. This option is available in tax years 2006 and 2007. Eligible IRA owners can take advantage of this provision, regardless of whether they itemize their deductions. Distributions from employer-sponsored retirement plans, including SIMPLE IRAs and simplified employee pension (SEP) plans are not eligible.

To qualify, the funds must be contributed directly by the IRA trustee to the eligible charity. Amounts so transferred are not taxable and no deduction is available for the amount given to the charity.

Not all charities are eligible under this provision. For example, donor-advised funds and supporting organizations are not eligible recipients.

Transferred amounts are counted in determining whether the owner has met the IRA’s required minimum distribution rules. Where individuals have made nondeductible contributions to their traditional IRAs, a special rule treats transferred amounts as coming first from taxable funds, instead of proportionately from taxable and nontaxable funds, as would be the case with regular distributions.

Rules for Clothing and Household Items

To be deductible, clothing and household items donated to charity after Aug. 17, 2006, must be in good used condition or better. However, a taxpayer may claim a deduction of more than $500 for any single item, regardless of its condition, if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return. Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances, and linens.

Guidelines for Monetary Donations

To deduct any charitable donation of money, a taxpayer must have a bank record or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. A bank record includes canceled checks, bank or credit union statements and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity and the date and amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity and the transaction posting date.

Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card, and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, Form W-2 wage statement or other document furnished by the employer showing the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.

Prior law allowed taxpayers to back up their donations of money with personal bank registers, diaries or notes made around the time of the donation. Those types of records are no longer sufficient.

This provision applies to contributions made in taxable years beginning after Aug. 17, 2006. For taxpayers that file returns on a calendar-year basis, including most individuals, the new provision applies to contributions made beginning in 2007.

The new law does not change the prior-law requirement that a taxpayer get an acknowledgement from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. However, one statement containing all of the required information may meet the requirements of both provisions.

To help taxpayers plan their holiday-season and year-end donations, the IRS offers the following additional reminders:

  • Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of the year count for 2006. This is true even if the credit-card bill isn’t paid until next year. Also, checks count for 2006 as long as they are mailed this year.
  • Check that the organization is qualified. Only donations to qualified organizations are tax-deductible. IRS Publication 78, available online and at many public libraries, lists most organizations that are qualified to receive deductible contributions. The searchable online version can be found on IRS.gov under, “Search for Charities.” In addition, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible to receive deductible donations, even though they often are not listed in Publication 78.
  • For individuals, only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Schedule A can claim a deduction for charitable contributions. This deduction is not available to people who choose the standard deduction, including anyone who files a short form (1040A or 1040EZ). A taxpayer will have a tax savings only if the total itemized deductions (mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, etc.) exceeds the standard deduction. Use the 2006 Schedule A, available now on IRS.gov, to determine whether itemizing is better than claiming the standard deduction.
  • For all donations of property, including clothing and household items, get from the charity, if possible, a receipt that includes a description of the donated property. If a donation is left at a charity’s unattended drop site, keep a written record of the donation that includes a description of the property and its condition.
  • The deduction for a motor vehicle, boat or airplane donated to charity is usually limited to the gross proceeds from its sale. This rule applies if the claimed value of the vehicle is more than $500. Form 1098-C, or a similar statement, must be provided to the donor by the organization and attached to the donor’s tax return. See IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, for more information.


State to pay legal fees in video-game lawsuit
Legal Career News | 2006/12/19 16:45

Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration told a federal judge Monday night that it will pay legal fees in a lost lawsuit over video-game restrictions by late January.

Lawyers for Blagojevich and Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan said they had decided to pay the $520,000 fee from unspent money in the budgets of several agencies under the governor.

The document filed in federal court in Chicago indicated necessary paperwork would be to the state comptroller by Friday.

Video-game industry representatives sued Blagojevich and Madigan last year over a law the governor promoted that made it a crime for retailers to sell violent or sexually explicit video games to minors.



[PREV] [1] ..[1110][1111][1112][1113][1114][1115][1116][1117][1118].. [1127] [NEXT]
   Lawyer News Menu
All
Lawyer Blog News
Court Feed News
Business Law Info
Class Action News
Criminal Law Updates
Employment Law
U.S. Legal News
Legal Career News
Headline News
Law & Politics
Attorney Blogs
Lawyer News
Law Firm Press
Law Firm News
Attorneys News
Legal World News
2008 Metrolink Crash
   Lawyer News Video
   Recent Lawyer News Updates
Court won't reconsider makin..
Trump travel ban is focus of..
Italy's high court refuses t..
Court weighs punishment for ..
Lake County courts to switch..
Supreme Court seems divided ..
Judge fights for job after a..
Cosby defense team lobs atta..
Taxpayer tab for law firm ov..
Supreme Court rejects anti-a..
Clicking 'checkout' could co..
Supreme Court again refuses ..
Zuckerberg Flubs Details of ..
Facebook to stop spending ag..
Russian court blocks popular..
Facebook to stop spending ag..
Ohio court to decide if ex-p..
Singer Cliff Richard's case ..
Retailers hope for certainty..
Court: Teen accused in schoo..
   Lawyer & Law Firm Links
St. Louis Missouri Criminal Defense Lawyer
St. Charles DUI Attorney
www.lynchlawonline.com
San Francisco Trademark Lawyer
San Francisco Copyright Lawyer
www.onulawfirm.com
Santa Ana Workers' Compensation Lawyers
www.gentryashtonlaw.com
Oregon DUI Law Attorney
Eugene DUI Lawyer. Criminal Defense Law
www.mjmlawoffice.com
New Rochelle Personal Injury
www.kboattorneys.com
New York Adoption Lawyers
New York Foster Care Lawyers
Adoption Pre-Certification
www.lawrsm.com
Connecticut Special Education Lawyer
www.fortelawgroup.com
© Lawyer News - Law Firm News & Press Releases. All rights reserved.

Attorney News- Find the latest lawyer and law firm news and information. We provide information that surround the activities and careers in the legal industry. We promote legal services, law firms, attorneys as well as news in the legal industry. Review tips and up to date legal news. With up to date legal articles leading the way as a top resource for attorneys and legal practitioners. | Law Firm Web Design by Law Promo