Dui Lawyers

Legal News for August

JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary
China sentences Canadian citizen to death after drug conviction
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 00:12:20 +0000

The Chinese government Thursday sentenced a Canadian citizen to death on drug crimes related to the production of ketamine.

The Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate Court found that Xu Weihong gathered materials for the production of ketamine and stored the substance in his home. His accomplice in the trial, Wen Guanxiong, allegedly helped produce the drug and was handed a life sentence by the court.

Ketamine is a substance that distorts one’s senses and perceptions. It is used for anesthesia purposes but is also used by some recreationally.

The Chinese government did not provide any further details from the conviction or trial.

Tensions between China and Canada escalated in 2018 after Meng Wanzhou, an executive of the Chinese tech company Huawei, was arrested at the Vancouver airport on a US warrant for allegedly engaging in fraud. China seemingly retaliated for Wanzhou’s arrest by sentencing Canadian citizens Robert Schellenberg and Fan Wei to death on alleged drug-related offenses.

The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs responded to Thursday’s sentencing by declaring that “[Canada opposes] the death penalty at every step of the way” and that they “have said it time and time and time again to the Chinese government and will continue to do that.”

Imposing the death penalty for drug-related offenses is universally recognized as a violation of human rights law.

 

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Category: International
Colombia Supreme Court orders ex-president Uribe placed under house arrest
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 15:19:13 +0000

Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe has been placed under house arrest by order of the Supreme Court of Colombia while he is being tried for procedural fraud and witness tampering.

Uribe served as President of Colombia from 2002-2010 before being elected senator. During that time, Uribe allegedly supported the formation of paramilitary death squads. In 2012, Uribe had filed a complaint against Senator Iván Cepeda for falsely linking him to paramilitary groups. The court closed the inquiry against Cepeda in 2018, and the criminal chamber instead opened formal proceedings against Uribe.

The court said Tuesday that “[t]he order was adopted based on a rigorous legal study on the procedural reality, which indicates possible risks of obstruction of justice, regarding the future collection of evidence of allegedly criminal acts involving both Senator Álvaro Uribe and representative Álvaro Hernán Prada.” The Supreme Court is now investigating whether Uribe should be sent to jail for witness tampering and procedural fraud. The Senator may have to spend seven to eight years in jail if found guilty.

Uribe responded to the court order by tweeting, “The loss of my liberty causes me profound sadness for my wife, for my family, and for Colombians who still believe that I have done something good for the country.” Senator Iván Cepeda held an online press conference after the court’s ruling. He said, “There are no people above justice. Today something has changed in Colombia.”

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Category: Supreme Court
Federal judge grants DOJ bid to scrap antitrust rules limiting how movies are distributed to theaters
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 20:52:00 +0000

A US District Court judge on Friday granted the federal government’s request to terminate a set of antitrust rules, the so-called Paramount Decrees, that “for over seventy years have regulated how certain movie studios distribute films to movie theaters.”

The decrees, a result of the landmark 1948 Supreme Court case United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., banned Hollywood’s largest studios (including MGM, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Warner, Universal, and Columbia) from “[controlling] the motion picture industry through their ownership of film distribution and exhibition.” The Court sustained findings that “[the studios] had engaged in a wide-spread conspiracy to illegally fix motion picture prices and monopolize both the film distribution and movie theater markets.”

The conditions of the decrees forced the companies to sell the theaters they owned, outlawed “block booking” (the practice of selling films as a package to coerce theaters into playing less-profitable films), and limited actions that prioritized certain theaters over others.

In late 2019, the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice moved to eliminate the decrees. In a press release issued Friday the DOJ said that “the motion picture industry has undergone considerable change” since the inception of the decrees. It credited multiplex theaters and technology advances as rendering the need for the decrees obsolete. “New technology has created many different distribution and viewing platforms that did not exist when the decrees where entered into… today’s consumers can view motion pictures on cable and broadcast TV, DVDs, and over the internet through streaming services.”

In a 17-page Order, Judge Analisa Torres acknowledged these changes as one of the reasons to grant the government’s request. The court found that termination was in the public interest, stating that “it is unlikely that [the studios] would collude to once again limit their film distribution to a select group of theaters in the absence of the decrees” and concluded that the government has “offered a reasonable and persuasive explanation” for terminating the decrees.

Moving forward, the Order includes a two-year “sunset” provision for ending the block booking ban, in an attempt to minimize market disruption and to “provide movie theaters a transitional time period to adjust their business models and strategies to any proposals to change the film-by-film, theater-by-theater licensing regime.”

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Category: us district court for the southern district of new york
EU launches investigation into proposed Fitbit acquisition by Google
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 18:28:23 +0000

The European Commission has launched an investigation into the proposed acquisition of wearable fitness accessory company Fitbit by search engine giant Google.

Google announced in November 2019 that it would seek to acquire Fitbit. The company noted at the time that for the deal to be successful, the privacy and security of Fitbit users would have to be considered. It therefore declared that Fitbit health and wellness data would not be used for Google ads. On Tuesday, however, the Commission said it was still concerned that the deal would not only provide Google a vast amount of data, but would also give Google access to Fitbit’s technology, enabling Google to launch a similar product in the future and that could further entrench the company’s dominant market position. EU merger regulations allow the Commission to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies valued above certain financial thresholds.

EC Executive Vice-President, Margrethe Vestager said:

The use of wearable devices by European consumers is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. This will go hand in hand with the exponential growth of data generated through these devices. This data provides key insights about the life and the health situation of the users of these devices. Our investigation aims to ensure that control by Google over data collected through wearable devices as a result of the transaction does not distort competition.

In response to the investigation, Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Google, reiterated that Fitbit health and wellness data would not be used for Google ads. He insisted that “This deal is about devices, not data. We recently offered to make a legally binding commitment to the European Commission regarding our use of Fitbit data.” 

The Commission has until December 9th to decide if it will block the deal.

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Category: privacy
Bar exam proctoring company pulls out of remote bar exam administrations scheduled for October
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 19:57:07 +0000

Bar exam technology company Extegrity has announced that it will not offer remote proctoring services for October 2020 bar exams.

In a statement posted by Bar Exam Tracker on Twitter Thursday, Extegrity said that the decision to hold extensive remote bar exams across the country in October would make it difficult to properly proctor the exams. Extegrity said that both its human and artificial intelligence-powered remote proctoring services were “not envisioned for use on large-scale, simultaneous-start event exams” that many states are considering for the October exam. The company called for the remote bar exams to be redesigned from the ground up, and said they should include “randomized multiple-choice questions, more-but-shorter essays, open-book components, or other innovations” to fit better within the technological limitations of remote proctoring. Extegrity has offered bar exam proctoring services and technology since the mid-1990s.

The move comes at a contentious time for graduating law school students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states have delayed in-person bar exams or moved precipitously to a remote testing system, while others have adopted diploma privilege for students who have just graduated. Read more of JURIST’s coverage of Bar Exams in the Pandemic.

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Category: remote testing