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Action Against Oil Companies for Assisting Torture by Nigerian Government, and Civil Rights, Criminal and Immigration Matters

By FindLaw Staff on September 23, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Brooks v. Holder, No. 09-3805, a petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissing petitioner's appeal from the immigration judge's order of removal, the court denied the petition where a New York State conviction of one count of criminal possession of a weapon in violation of N.Y. Penal Law section 265.03(1)(b) satisfied the definition of a "crime of violence" under 18 U.S.C. section 16 such that petitioner in deportation proceedings was removable and also ineligible for cancellation of removal.

In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petro. Co., No. 06-4800, an action by residents of Nigeria claiming that Dutch, British, and Nigerian corporations engaged in oil exploration and production aided and abetted the Nigerian government in committing violations of the law of nations, the court affirmed the district court's partial dismissal of the complaint, and reversed its partial denial of the motion to dismiss, where 1) in Alien Tort Statute (ATS) suits alleging violations of customary international law, the scope of liability is determined by customary international law itself; and 2) because customary international law consisted of only those norms that were specific, universal, and obligatory in the relations of States inter se, and because no corporation had ever been subjected to any form of liability (whether civil or criminal) under the customary international law of human rights, corporate liability was not a discernible -- much less universally recognized -- norm of customary international law that the court could apply pursuant to the ATS.

In Faghri v. Univ. of Conn., No. 09-1862, an action claiming that defendants unconstitutionally retaliated against plaintiff for his exercise of his right to free speech in violation of the First Amendment and violated his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment when they removed him from his position as dean, the court reversed the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity where plaintiff had no clearly established right to remain as dean while voicing opposition to the policies of the team he was hired to be part of.

In US v. Martinez, No. 08-5071, the court affirmed defendant's convictions for sex trafficking of minors and sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, holding that 1) a defendant in a criminal case may not, consistent with the Constitution, exercise peremptory challenges based on gender; and 2) defendant did not, merely by relying on the fact that the government's first four strikes were against men, make a prima facie showing that the government was improperly exercising peremptory challenges based on gender.

In Van Allen v. Cuomo, No. 07-3118, an action challenging New York Election Law sections 5-210 and 5-304, which prevented plaintiff's enrollment in a party from becoming effective until after the November 2007 general election, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint where plaintiff did not indicate that he currently intended or had already attempted to change his party enrollment again, and thus his claims were moot.

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