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France's top court on Friday upheld the government's decision to strip the citizenship of a Franco-Moroccan man convicted of terrorism-related crimes, amid calls to expand such measures after deadly attacks in Paris.
 
The Constitutional Court said the fight against terrorism justifies different treatment of those who were born French and those who acquired citizenship.

Existing law allows stripping citizenship only if the person has citizenship elsewhere, and targets especially those convicted of terrorism, if the crimes took place before the person became French or within 15 years of acquiring citizenship.

Franco-Moroccan Ahmed Sahnouni el-Yaacoubi, 45, had his French citizenship revoked last year, following a sentence to seven years of prison in 2013 for criminal association with a terrorist enterprise.

El-Yaacoubi was implicated in a network for recruiting jihadis for various countries. Born in Casablanca, Morocco, he became a French citizen in 2003.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls welcomed the court's "exceptional decision" confirming the state's power to strip French citizenship "every time it's necessary."

Stripping citizenship is a rare procedure in France, occurring only eight times since 1973. Some on the French right and far right recently asked the Socialist government for a change in the law to expand the state's ability to take away French citizenship.

A series of international conventions, including the European Convention of Human Rights, forbid measures that would make people stateless.


Rihanna wins court battle over Topshop T-shirt

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2015/01/23 08:36

Pop singer Rihanna has won a court battle against fashion retailer Topshop over a T-shirt featuring a photo of her.
 
Britain's Court of Appeal on Thursday upheld an earlier ruling that Topshop can't sell the shirt bearing the singer's image without her approval.

The star's lawyers said the image was from an unauthorized photo taken while Rihanna was filming a video in Northern Ireland in 2011.

But Topshop's lawyers argued that retailers have used images of stars including Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix over the decades, and that Rihanna was wrongly using the law to claim that "only a celebrity may ever market his or her own character".

A High Court judge ruled earlier that the star's fans may be deceived into thinking she had endorsed the T-shirt.



France's top court on Friday upheld the government's decision to strip the citizenship of a Franco-Moroccan man convicted of terrorism-related crimes, amid calls to expand such measures after deadly attacks in Paris.

The Constitutional Court said the fight against terrorism justifies different treatment of those who were born French and those who acquired citizenship.

Existing law allows stripping citizenship only if the person has citizenship elsewhere, and targets especially those convicted of terrorism, if the crimes took place before the person became French or within 15 years of acquiring citizenship.

Franco-Moroccan Ahmed Sahnouni el-Yaacoubi, 45, had his French citizenship revoked last year, following a sentence to seven years of prison in 2013 for criminal association with a terrorist enterprise.

El-Yaacoubi was implicated in a network for recruiting jihadis for various countries. Born in Casablanca, Morocco, he became a French citizen in 2003.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls welcomed the court's "exceptional decision" confirming the state's power to strip French citizenship "every time it's necessary."

Stripping citizenship is a rare procedure in France, occurring only eight times since 1973. Some on the French right and far right recently asked the Socialist government for a change in the law to expand the state's ability to take away French citizenship.



Gun maker Remington has moved a lawsuit by families of those shot in the Sandy Hook school massacre from state to federal court, where at least one expert says it has less chance of succeeding.

Nine families sued Remington and others in Bridgeport Superior Court in December arguing the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting should not have been sold for civilian use because of its overwhelming firepower. A 10th family joined the lawsuit adding a wrongful death claim.

The case was placed before U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny last week after Remington argued that since it is located in North Carolina and not Connecticut, federal court was a more proper jurisdiction.

Timothy Lytton, a professor at the Albany Law School who has written extensively about suing the gun industry, said getting the case into the 2nd U.S. Circuit, of which Connecticut is a part, is a victory for the defendants.

"The 2nd Circuit has previously refused to hold gun manufacturers liable or permit lawsuits against gun manufacturers for injuries caused by third parties," he said. "It has a history of knocking these types of cases down."

A 2005 federal law shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products, but it does include an exception for cases where companies should know a weapon is likely to be used in a way that risks injury to others.


Members of the U.N. commission that accused both sides in the conflict in Central African Republic of crimes against humanity urged the United Nations on Wednesday to establish an international court to prosecute perpetrators.

Law professor Philip Alston, a commission member, warned against a proposal being discussed by the U.N. to establish a special criminal court in the country. He said Central African Republic doesn't have judges with the independence and the ability to hold accountable the major political players who need to be prosecuted.

If the U.N. and Central African Republic go ahead with a national court, Alston said, the president and a majority of the judges must be from the international community and it must be well-funded.

Central African Republic, known as CAR, has been rocked by sectarian violence over the past year that has killed at least 5,000 people. U.N. peacekeepers are trying to stabilize the country, and both the Christian militia and Muslim rebels have agreed to put down their arms, but splinter groups of fighters have continued to clash.



The Alaska Court of Appeals has overturned the murder conviction of man charged with killing his romantic rival at the urging of the woman they both hoped to marry.

The court on Wednesday reversed the murder conviction for John Carlin III, who was convicted in 2006 of killing Kent Leppink on an isolated trail about in a small community south of Anchorage 10 years earlier. The case went unsolved until Alaska State Troopers reopened it in 2004.

Prosecutors had claimed he was coaxed into killing Leppink by the woman at the center of the romantic triangle, Mechele Linehan, an exotic dancer who lived with the two men in Anchorage.

Prosecutors maintained she was inspired by the 1994 movie, "The Last Seduction," in which a femme fatale coaxes her lover into killing her husband for money.

But just as the court did when overturning Linehan's conviction in 2010, the court ruled the state improperly introduced a letter from the grave during the Carlin's trial.

Before his death, Leppink wrote his parents saying that if he died under unusual circumstances, Carlin and Linehan would likely be responsible.



John Q. Kelly, a lawyer with the venerable firm Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara in Greenwich, specializes in wrongful deaths. Very wrongful deaths. Kelly represented the survivors of Nicole Brown Simpson, allegedly knifed to death by her ex-husband, O. J.; of Natalee Holloway, vanished and believed murdered during a high school class trip to Aruba; and of Kathleen Savio, drowned in her bathtub by ex-husband Drew Peterson.

These notorious cases put Kelly on national TV and made him the most sought-after wrongful death lawyer in the land. Curiously, though, he tends to fly under fame’s hypersensitive radar. People don’t recognize his name or stop him on the street, and there are virtually no news articles that shed light on his illustrious career. Don’t imagine that Kelly is displeased by any of this. He gently resisted our interview request and then expressed a desire to get out of his photo shoot. The only way to explain the paradox—a TV personality who doesn’t invite public notice—is to point out that in twenty-first century America, television is sometimes necessary to further his clients’ cases.

“High-profile, high-stakes litigation is basically a blood sport,” he says. “You either win or you lose, and losing’s not an option.”

“John is an old-fashioned trial lawyer, a very serious lawyer,” remarks Greta Van Susteren, the Fox News Channel host. “Some lawyers are easy to book. John is not, unless it’s for the benefit of his clients. I think he’d much rather be working for them than talking to me on TV.”

“I’ll tell you straight out,” says Bo Dietl, the private investigator and TV personality. “I’ve been in this business a long time, and I’ve seen every kind of lawyer. A lot of them have big names, and they get on TV and blah, blah, blah, they talk a lot of crap. Not John. John is unique. It’s something about the way he presents his cases. He looks honest; he sounds honest; and he is honest. I’ve never seen an attorney who is better prepared and who can break things down for a jury in a way that they understand.”

Kelly has vivid blue eyes set in a tan face, neatly combed chestnut-brown hair and a broad, white, slightly devilish smile. He lacks signs of the enormous ego so common to high-profile lawyers and will venture a heretical opinion when it’s warranted. For example: On Larry King Live he submitted that the case against Amanda Knox, the American convicted of brutally murdering a housemate in Italy in 2007, smacked of an “egregious international railroading,” angering and confusing victims’ advocates everywhere. (“What on earth possessed John Q. Kelly?” read one Internet headline.) But he turned out to be exactly right; Knox’s conviction was overturned in 2011.

Among his own cases, Kelly’s best-known victory came with the civil trial that found O. J. Simpson liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1997. In the criminal trial, prosecutors had presented a pile of evidence showing that Simpson had committed the June 12, 1994 murders—not least Simpson’s blood mingled with that of the victims’ on his gloves, socks, car and at the crime scene. While seemingly every TV and radio in America was tuned to the months-long criminal trial, Kelly quietly filed a civil suit on behalf of Nicole’s estate. He never expected to have to act on it. “Assuming Simpson would be convicted, it would have been just a little footnote, nothing else,” Kelly says. “We never would have pursued it.”

On October 3, 1995, Simpson was acquitted, shocking the nation and polarizing it, disturbingly, along racial lines. For the majority who believed him culpable, the only chance now to hold him accountable would come at the civil trial in Santa Monica. A win for Kelly would not put Simpson behind bars, of course, but it would cripple him financially and might force him to give up custody of his two young children to Nicole’s parents, Lou and Juditha Brown.

“We had plenty of evidence before we started,” Kelly says, “but probably the most compelling new evidence we turned up were the pictures of Simpson wearing the Bruno Magli shoes.” This was a huge stroke of good luck. The bloody shoe prints leading away from the crime scene were made by size 12 Bruno Magli Lorenzos, a rare high-fashion shoe with a soft sole; but prosecutors had been unable to prove that Simpson owned such a shoe. In a civil-case deposition, Simpson himself testified that he would never own such “ugly-ass” footwear. Mistake. Kelly learned in December 1996—deep into the civil trial—that a freelance photographer in Buffalo had gone through his archive and turned up pictures of Simpson at a football game in 1993, wearing exactly the shoes in question. “The photographer developed those pictures the day I went up there—I think it was New Year’s Eve,” Kelly says, grinning at the memory of that eureka moment. (Simpson’s attorneys were obliged to claim the photos were fakes.)

Unlike the criminal trial, the civil one was not televised. A gag order and a no-nonsense judge also ensured an atmosphere of sobriety and restraint, in marked contrast to that of the circus-like criminal trial. The jury awarded total damages of $33.5 million for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The families did not expect to realize the whole award, but they were able to collect a portion of it from the auctioning of O. J. Simpson’s personal property—including the Heisman Trophy he won in 1968.


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