Posts tagged ‘case’

New Government Report: Commonwealth Brands, Inc. vs. U.S.: Legal Judgment on Marketing Restrictions in the New Federal Tobacco Law

Commonwealth Brands, Inc. vs. U.S.: Legal Judgment on Marketing Restrictions in the New Federal Tobacco Law
by Joseph H. McKinley Jr.
Paperback, 47 pages, 2010, $30.00, ISBN: 9781437936704

The opinion and order of U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky, Bowling Green Division, which overturns two of the marketing restrictions in the new federal tobacco law.

Several tobacco makers sued in August 2009 to block the restrictions. Judge McKinley agreed that the ban on color and graphics in labels and advertising that children might see intruded too broadly on commercial free speech.

He noted that, instead, Congress could have exempted certain types of color and graphic images. Judge McKinley did uphold the authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict tobacco marketing, as well as a specific provision which requires new, graphic warning labels to cover the top half of cigarette packages.

In fact, he upheld most of the new marketing restrictions, including a ban on tobacco companies sponsoring athletic, social and cultural events or offering free samples or branded merchandise.

Lawyers on both sides affirmed that this case will probably be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and eventually to the Supreme Court.

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August 3, 2010 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

New Government Report: United States of America v. Paul A. Slough et al, Defendants: Ruling on the Case against Former Blackwater Security Guards

United States of America v. Paul A. Slough et al, Defendants: Ruling on the Case against Former Blackwater Security Guards
by Ricardo M. Urbina
Paperback, 90 pages, 2009, ISBN: 1437927750, $30.00

The sudden blow to the case against the former Blackwater security guards over a shooting that killed 17 Iraqis and wounded at least 20 may have come as a surprise to the public in Iraq and the United States, but the legal problem that the judge cited Thursday when he threw out the indictments was obvious to American government lawyers within days of the shooting, reports the New York Times.

This government report contains the ruling by Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District court in Washington, DC, on the case against former Blackwater security guards in Iraq over a shooting that killed 17 Iraqis and wounded at least 20.

Judge Ricardo threw out the indictments against the guards. In his opinion: “The defendants have been charged with voluntary manslaughter and firearms violations arising out of a shooting that occurred in Baghdad, Iraq on Sept. 16, 2007.

“They contend that in the course of this prosecution, the government violated their constitutional rights by utilizing statements they made to Deptartment of State investigators, which were compelled under a threat of job loss.

“The government has acknowledged that many of these statements qualify as compelled statements under Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967), which held that the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination bars the government from using statements compelled under a threat of job loss in a subsequent criminal prosecution.

“The Fifth Amendment automatically confers use and derivative use immunity on statements compelled under Garrity; this means that in seeking an indictment from a grand jury or a conviction at trial, the government is prohibited from using such compelled statements or any evidence obtained as a result of those statements.

“The government has also acknowledged that its investigators, prosecutors and key witnesses were exposed to (and, indeed, aggressively sought out) many of the statements given by the defendants to State Deptartment investigators.

“Under the binding precedent of the Supreme Court, the burden fell to the government to prove that it made no use whatsoever of these immunized statements or that any such use was harmless beyond any reasonable doubt.

“In short, the government has utterly failed to prove that it made no impermissible use of the defendants’ statements or that such use was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the court must dismiss the indictment against all of the defendants.”

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August 3, 2010 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment


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