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Legal news from Wednesday, November 7, 2012
by Jerry Votava

Voters passed ballot measures on Tuesday seeking to limit the amount of money that can be directed to political campaigns in Colorado and Montana. The measure in Colorado will amend that state's constitution to declare that the people of the state find that "large campaign contributions to political candidates create …

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by Sung Un Kim

Montana voters on Tuesday approved a referendum that would require parental notification prior to an abortion for a minor. The measure, which was passed by 66 percent of Montana voters, would require abortion facilities and doctors to inform parents and legal guardians of minors under 16 48 hours before a planned abortion procedure. This requirement …

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by Keith Herting

Voters in Montana and Maryland went to the polls to decide upon two state immigration initiatives on Tuesday. In Maryland, Question 4, often called "Maryland's Dream Act," passed with approximately 59 percent of the votes affirming the law's passage. The measure allows for most undocumented immigrants who went to Maryland high schools for at least …

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by Jerry Votava

Ballot proposals to exempt residents from portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) were approved Tuesday in Montana [Referendum No. 122, PDF], Alabama and Wyoming. A similar amendment in Florida was narrowly defeated by voters. The PPACA was a comprehensive …

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by Julia Zebley

Virginia voters passed Question 1 on Tuesday by 76 percent, amending the state Constitution to include prohibitions on the State utilizing eminent domain to seize private property. Question 1 amends Article 1, Section 11 of the state Constitution to "require that eminent …

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by Julia Zebley

California voters passed Proposition 36 on Tuesday, modifying the state's "three strikes" law [California Penal Code § 667] to apply a mandatory life sentence only if the third strike is a serious or violent crime. Before the referendum, the three strikes law would mandate a life sentence for a third conviction after two convictions …

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by Julie Deisher-Edwards

An independent UN rights expert on Monday urged justice for victims of domestic violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), saying high rates of violence can largely be attributed to war-related Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, addiction and poverty. The report was offered by UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo, who stressed the …

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by Dan Taglioli

Marijuana will become legal in Colorado and Washington after voters passed ballot initiatives Tuesday to legalize marijuana for the first time on a statewide basis. In Washington voters approved an Initiative to the Legislature to allow the possession and distribution of marijuana through a state-licensing system of marijuana growers, processors and stores, where …

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by Sarah Steers

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called on US President Barack Obama early Wednesday morning to shut down the Guantanamo Bay military prison, even as it congratulated him on his re-election victory. Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, urged Obama to "make good the promise he made four years ago …

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by Zachariah Rivenbark

A Judge Advocate General for the Military Court Centre in Bulford ruled Wednesday that five UK Royal Marines charged with murder are to remain anonymous throughout their court martial. The five are charged with killing a wounded Taliban fighter, who appeared in a video that features marines debating whether to give the fighter …

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by John Paul Regan

The French Council of Ministers approved a draft bill Wednesday providing same-sex couples with the right to marry. The bill extends the rights of marriage, including adoption rights, to same-sex couples living in France without altering current legal marriage and adoptive relationships. The bill was pushed forward by President Francois Hollande [official website, …

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by Theresa Donovan

Oklahoma voters on Tuesday approved a ballot measure [State Question No. 759, PDF] to eliminate affirmative action programs within the state. Seventy-six of Oklahoma's 77 counties approved the constitutional amendment that will affect hiring and education practices within the state. The measure would abolish any preferred treatment of employees in these sectors based on race, color or …

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by Julia Zebley

Alabama voters rejected Amendment 4 on Tuesday, which would have removed references to segregation and poll taxes from the state's Constitution, over concerns about language addressing the right to education. The amendment, rejected by a vote of 61 percent, proposed to "delete those remaining 'Jim Crow' provisions of the Constitution of …

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by Julia Zebley

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases Tuesday. In Smith v. United States the court heard arguments on the burden of proof in conspiracy cases. At issue is a jury instruction that allowed jurors to assume that the defendants did not abandon the conspiracy unless the defendants …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

Puerto Rican voters elected to become the fifty-first US state in a non-binding referendum on Tuesday. The referendum was presented in a two-question format. Nearly 54 percent of Puerto Rican voters wanted to change the island territory's relationship with the US, and a resounding 61 percent of voters selected the statehood option. Voters were given the opportunity …

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by Maureen Cosgrove

Maine voters on Tuesday voted in favor of Question 1, which permits the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 53 percent of voters answered the question in the affirmative. The referendum was championed by EqualityMaine, who gathered enough signatures earlier this year to include the question on the November ballot. The …

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by Jerry Votava

Spain's Constitutional Court on Tuesday, denied an appeal by the Popular Party challenging the constitutionality of Spain's law that permits same-sex marriage. The decision was reached by an 8-3 vote, and the detailed legal reasoning is expected to be released later this week. The Popular Party …

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