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French court extends adoption rights to lesbians

•  Court News     updated  2014/09/29 16:48

France's highest court has ruled that married lesbians are allowed to adopt their partner's child born through in vitro fertilization or other medically assisted reproduction.

The Cour de Cassation's ruling is a consequence of the legalization of gay marriage in France last year.

France allows assisted reproduction only for heterosexual couples who have been together at least two years. The restriction has sent many gay couples abroad — many of them going to neighboring Belgium or Spain to have access to fertility treatment.

Upon return to France, French law recognized only the birth mother as the legal parent.

The court ruled Tuesday that married lesbians may adopt children born by their partners through assisted reproduction performed outside of France.

Court-martial for Missouri drill sergeant resumes

•  Law Firm News     updated  2014/09/29 16:48

The military court-martial of a Missouri sergeant accused of sexually assaulting eight female soldiers has resumed.

A verdict is expected Wednesday after a three-day trial for 30-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Angel M. Sanchez, who is accused of using his supervisory position with the 14th Military Police Brigade to threaten some of the women he was tasked with training.

Sanchez pleaded guilty to three charges at the outset of the military judicial hearing. His accusers said the incidents took place in the bathroom of the female barracks as well as in an office shared by drill sergeants.

Most of the allegations involved women at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, but some involved women in Afghanistan and Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Case of American jailed in Cuba back in US court

•  Headline News     updated  2014/09/22 16:51

A government subcontractor who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over lost wages and legal fees, his attorney told an appeals court Friday.

Alan Gross was working in Cuba as a government subcontractor when he was arrested in 2009. He has since lost income and racked up legal fees, his attorney Barry Buchman told the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A lawyer for the government argued the claims are based on his detention in Cuba, making him ineligible to sue.

The panel is expected to issue a written ruling on the case at a later date.

A lower-court judge previously threw out Gross' lawsuit against the government in 2013, saying federal law bars lawsuits against the government based on injuries suffered in foreign countries. Gross' lawyers appealed.

Gross was detained in December 2009 while working to set up Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. government's U.S. Agency for International Development, which does work promoting democracy in the communist country. It was his fifth trip to Cuba to work with Jewish communities on setting up Internet access that bypassed local censorship. Cuba considers USAID's programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government, and Gross was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Accused White House intruder to appear in court

•  Court News     updated  2014/09/22 16:50

Following an embarrassing security breach at the White House, one of the most closely protected buildings in the world, the Secret Service is said to be considering establishing new checkpoints to screen tourists in public areas near the presidential mansion.

Meanwhile, the man accused of scaling a security fence and getting into the president's home carrying a knife is scheduled to have his initial appearance Monday in federal court.Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas, is facing charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.

The Army says Gonzalez served from 1997 until his discharge in 2003, and again from 2005 to December 2012, when he retired due to disability.The Secret Service tightened its guard outside the White House after Friday's security breach. Gonzalez is accused of scaling the White House perimeter fence, sprinting across the lawn and entering the building before agents could stop him.

President Barack Obama and his family were away at the time. Obama says he still has confidence in the troubled agency's ability to protect him and his family.Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has ordered increased surveillance and more officer patrols, and has begun an investigation into what went wrong.

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