Legal Briefs: What’s Happening in the Law

January 12, 2015

Each week, we bring you updates on the legal world.

Looking ahead

Possible pillow talk trouble for Petraeus. Prosecutors have recommended charges against former CIA director General David Petraeus for potentially divulging classified information to his biographer and lover Paula Broadwell during their extramarital affair. While the US Justice Department deliberates, Petraeus maintains he did not provide such information to Broadwell and has indicated he has no interest in a plea deal. (The Guardian)

Dubious fate for prison-rape law. Prison advocates are raising concerns about a proposal that would reduce financial penalties included in a 2003 law aimed at eliminating sexual assault in US detention facilities. The 2003 law stands as one of the few measures protecting prison inmates from sexual assault. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, has pledged to revive the reductive proposal, which failed to pass in fall 2014, in the new Republican controlled Congress. (The Washington Post)

Free community college? President Obama announced a proposal to make the first two years of community college free for students in the US. The proposal has raised as many questions as it has cheers. The White House estimates 9 million students could benefit from the program. (The Hill)

And in case you missed it

George Zimmerman was arrested again. This time — the fourth since his acquittal for the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2013 — police apprehended Zimmerman for throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend. Released on a $5,000 bond and charged with aggravated assault, Zimmerman should reappear in court on February 17th. (Associated Press)

Puente Arizona, an immigrant rights group, has prevailed. The group filed a lawsuit arguing that the state’s identity theft laws are unconstitutional, and that law enforcement officials misappropriate the law to target undocumented immigrants in workplace raids. US District Judge David Campbell agreed. (CNN)

Saks Fifth Avenue has claimed a legal right to discriminate against transgendered people. The retail company rebuked a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee, citing the lack of an explicit Supreme Court ruling protecting gender identity under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “It is well settled that transsexuals are not protected under Title VII” of the law, says Saks. (Slate)

Federal fines for Honda. The Japanese auto-maker has received two fines totaling $70 million from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to accurately report injuries, deaths and warranty claims to the US government. Between 2003 and 2014, the company neglected to report 1,729 death and injury claims. (NPR)

Image: ttarasiuk via photopin