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Marsy’s Law Get Passed in 6 U.S. States As A result Of The Midterm Elections

he six campaigns backing Marsy's Law this November all received the vast majority of their money either directly from Nicholas or from Marsy's Law for All

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Marsy's Law
Reporters gather at a news conference on the Crime Victims' Bill of Rights, also known as Marsy's Law for Illinois, in Springfield, Ill. VOA

The official website of the campaign supporting Amendment 6 in Florida featured a white-and-purple layout, filled with endorsements from local politicians and filmed testimonials from crime victims, who say their personal tragedies could have been prevented by the proposed legislation. The website was identical to others supporting Amendment 4 in Georgia, Question 1 in Nevada, and State Question 794 in Oklahoma.

The campaigns all linked back to the website for Marsy’s Law for All, a nonprofit organization driving what it calls the victims’ rights movement. It recruits and funds local efforts to incorporate Marsy’s Law, a controversial set of protections for crime victims, into state constitutions.

Six states had Marsy’s Law amendments on their ballots Tuesday, all of which passed. Five of these states now will alter their constitutions to include proposed changes that critics say are overly broad and harmful.

Marsy's Law
Rep. Lou Lang, Advocates Push Illinois Crime Victim Rights Constitutional Amendment. Flickr

Marsy’s Law encompasses a number of provisions based on the idea that victims should have equal rights to those of the accused in criminal proceedings. This includes requiring victims to be notified of proceedings involving their case and the release or escape of the accused; to be heard at plea or sentencing hearings; to obtain reasonable protection from the accused, and to be guaranteed a meaningful role in the criminal justice system.

Critics say the protections hamper the justice system through their vague wording, while undermining due process by pitting defendants’ rights, which are meant to protect defendants from the state, against those of victims. Notably, the American Civil Liberties Union opposes Marsy’s Law, calling it “poorly drafted” and “a threat to existing constitutional rights.”

Marsy’s Law for All national communications adviser Henry Goodwin told VOA News he had never heard a good example of a victim’s rights undermining a defendant’s rights.

Marsy's Law
Dr. Henry Nicholas, left, leads a march with a photo of his sister Marsy Nicholas during the Orange County Victims’ Rights March and Rally in Santa Ana, Calif., April 26, 2013. Nicholas is chief architect of Marsy’s Law. VOA

“The justice system is very adept at balancing rights within the system,” Goodwin said. “You know, the victim’s rights which Marsy’s Law advocates are complementary to defendant’s rights. We’re not seeking to undermine or take anything away from defendants. It’s not a zero-sum game.”

Marsy’s Law for All was formed in 2009 by Dr. Henry Nicholas, a former Broadcom CEO recently estimated by Forbes to be worth more than $3 billion. Marsy’s Law is named for his sister Marsalee, who was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.

Also Read: The Year of Women In U.S. Politics

After successfully spearheading a 2008 campaign to bring Marsy’s Law to California, Nicholas decided to form a national organization with the goal of bringing the amendments to all 50 states, and eventually the U.S. Constitution. Since then, Marsy’s Law amendments have passed in Illinois, the Dakotas and Ohio.

The movement, on a state and national level, is funded by Nicholas’ personal wealth. The six campaigns backing the Law this November all received the vast majority of their money either directly from Nicholas or from Marsy’s Law for All, which Goodwin confirmed to VOA News is entirely funded by Nicholas. In total, the six campaigns amassed a war chest of $60 million. Roughly $30 million was spent in Florida alone. (VOA)

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Americans Tend to Rely on Social Media for News which is often Unreliable: Report

Those who rely on social media and peers for news, on the other hand, don't see those platforms as reliable yet still choose to get their news from these sources

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Social Media
The findings of a research suggest that perceived reliability is not the only factor that drives what Americans choose as their go-to News sources on Social Media. Pixabay

Owing to lack of time and competing demands, one-third of Americans rely on news platforms they acknowledge are less reliable, mainly social media and peers, says a new report.

The other two-thirds of the public consider their primary news sources trustworthy, mainly print news and broadcast television, according to the report from California-based non-profit RAND Corporation.

“A lack of time and competing demands may explain why a third of Americans turn to news sources they deem less reliable, which suggests improving the quality of news content or teaching people how to ‘better consume’ news isn’t enough to address ‘Truth Decay,'” said Jennifer Kavanagh, senior political scientist and co-author of the report.

“Media companies and other news providers may need to provide more easily accessible and digestible ways for individuals to consume high quality investigative journalism”.

“Truth Decay” is a phenomenon defined as diminishing reliance on facts, data and analysis in public life.

The report draws from a national survey of 2,543 Americans to examine how reliability, demographics and political partisanship factor into news choices and how often people seek out differing viewpoints in the news.

About 44 per cent of respondents reported that news is as reliable now as in the past, while 41 per cent said it has become less reliable and 15 per cent – mostly women, racial and ethnic minorities and those without college degrees – said it is more reliable.

Social Media
Owing to lack of time and competing demands, one-third of Americans rely on News platforms they acknowledge are less reliable, mainly Social Media and peers, says a new report. Pixabay

Respondents who lean on print and broadcast platforms were more likely to deem them reliable.

Those who rely on social media and peers for news, on the other hand, don’t see those platforms as reliable yet still choose to get their news from these sources.

“The findings suggest that perceived reliability is not the only factor that drives what Americans choose as their go-to news sources,” said Michael Pollard, a sociologist and lead author of the report.
“Despite acknowledging that there are more reliable sources for news, people with demands on their time may be limited to using less reliable platforms.”

Asked whether they ever seek out alternate viewpoints when catching up on the news, 54 per cent said they “sometimes” do, 20 percent said, “always or almost always,” 17 per cent said “infrequently,” and 9 percent said, “never or almost never.”

The report also identified the four most common combinations of news media types consumed by Americans: print publications and broadcast television, online, radio, and social media and peers.

Those who are college-educated were less likely to get their news from social media and peers, instead opting for radio and online sources.

Social Media
Media companies and other News providers may need to provide more easily accessible and digestible ways for individuals to consume high quality investigative journalism, especially on Social Media. Pixabay

Those with less than a college education were more likely to report “never or almost never” seeking out news with alternate viewpoints.

“Those who are married were three times more likely than singles to rate their peers as the most reliable source for news,” said the report.

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Unmarried people were more likely than married people to report they “always or almost always” seek out sources with differing views. (IANS)