Paralegal Student Article about 1st Amendment

Impressed with this letter to the editor by a paralegal student about a new Indiana license plate (published in The Journal Gazette): "The pending lawsuit regarding the 'In God We Trust' license plates has a few attention-catching flaws. As a paralegal student with a special interest in constitutional law, I found the suit to be a serious mistake. "The first reason comes from the popular misunderstanding of the First Amendment. Instead of reading, 'there shall be a wall of separation between church and state,' or 'no law that even so much as allows religious liberties can be made,' the amendment... Read more →

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Amnesty criticizes Guantanamo abuse investigation

I just hope the paralegal who blew the whistle doesn't have her career damaged: "A human rights group on Thursday accused the U.S. military of failing to adequately investigate the latest allegations of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay and urged officials to open the detention center to more independent monitors. "An investigation was launched in October by U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the U.S. naval base in southeastern Cuba, after a Marine paralegal reported guards she met at Guantanamo bragged about beating detainees. "Amnesty International said the probe was 'flawed' because the chief investigator, Army Col. Richard Bassett, did not... Read more →

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"Local peace vigils gaining popularity"

Well, this is one way to voice opinons about the Iraq war: "With death tolls growing and President Bush vowing to send more troops to Iraq, more North Jersey protesters are appealing to their neighbors at anti-war vigils alongside highways, municipal buildings and churches, activists say. [snip] "Few local protests attract more than 50 people at a time, but some have grown slowly and steadily. A vigil alongside Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne started this summer with four people. On a recent Wednesday, a dozen people huddled in coats, hats and mittens alongside the windy highway. One of them was Laura... Read more →

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"Investigator: Paralegal filed false complaint"

Oh, this news can't be good for anyone: "A Marine paralegal who reported that she overheard guards at Guantanamo Bay brag about beating detainees was accused by a military investigator of filing a false report, the paralegal’s boss, a Marine officer, said Friday. "Army Col. Richard Basset, who was ordered by the U.S. Southern Command to investigate the allegations into guards’ actions, met the paralegal, Marine Sgt. Heather Cerveny, late last year at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where she is based, according to Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey. "Basset told Cerveny the guards denied her account of their conversation in a... Read more →

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"Man files lawsuit to take wife's name"

Well, all I have to say about this news is "You go, Mike!" "Mike Buday isn't married to his last name. In fact, he and his fiancee decided before they wed that he would take hers. But Buday was stunned to learn that he couldn't simply become Mike Bijon when they married in 2005. "As in most other states, that would require some bureaucratic paperwork well beyond what a woman must go through to change her name when marrying. "Instead of completing the expensive, time-consuming process, Buday and his wife, Diana Bijon, enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union and filed... Read more →

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Paralegal Opening: Immigrants' Rights Project

Found what sounds like a challenging open position using Google's blog search: "The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU), a national non-profit public interest organization, seeks applicants for a full-time Paralegal position with the Immigrants' Rights Project (IRP) in the ACLU’s National Headquarters in New York City. The IRP works to defend the civil and constitutional rights of immigrants through a comprehensive program of impact litigation and public education. "The IRP conducts the largest litigation program in the country dedicated to enforcing and defending the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants and to combating public and private discrimination against non-citizens.... Read more →

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Paralegals staff voting question 'hotlines'

Helping people vote legally & successfully is a good thing: "South Carolina voters will have a lot of company at the polls on Election Day as several groups say they will watch for problems across the state. [snip] "The U.S. Justice Department will dispatch more than 800 observers nationwide, a record for a non-presidential election year, but will not make an announcement about where poll watchers will be located until Monday, agency spokeswoman Cynthia Magnuson said Friday. "Meanwhile, several voter groups will document voting problems and a task force made up of U.S. attorneys and FBI agents will investigate any... Read more →

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Paralegal & military lawyer ordered not to discuss Gitmo claims

We earlier noted this paralegal's actions in reporting abuse; now she's been told not to talk to the press: "A paralegal and a military lawyer who brought forward allegations about prisoner abuse at the Guantanamo Bay detention center have been ordered not to speak with the press, lawyers and a military spokeswoman said Saturday. "Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, who represents a detainee at the U.S. naval base in eastern Cuba, filed a complaint with the Pentagon last week alleging that abuse was ongoing at the prison. He attached a sworn statement from his paralegal, Sgt. Heather Cerveny [PDF link],... Read more →

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"ABA to Continue Fight Over Detainee Rights"

Excellent news for supporters of habeas corpus: "The American Bar Association [PDF link] said last week it will continue to challenge key provisions of a federal bill authorizing military tribunals to try terrorism suspects, even though the legislation ultimately passed by a lopsided margin in the Senate. "ABA members say they are most concerned about sections of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that deny judicial review of habeas corpus claims filed on behalf of 'enemy combatants' being held at facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other locations. "'It's a sweeping denial of habeas, so that any alien who is... Read more →

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