Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 11, 1974, Page 6

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette April 11, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 11, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa CV Ct4tint Jttputa Editorial Page More now for impeachment than against Thursday, April ll, 1974 Hung-jury hangup OWING TO a legal practice rooted in custom rather than the Constitution, lengthy trials sometimes go to waste and defendants dodge the consequences for their acts because a jury winds up “hung”: Someone on the jury disagrees with all the rest, and only through unanimous accord can a verdict of guilty take effect. Eleven to one or IO to 2 adds up to a zero. This system covers the most serious of crimes as well as lesser ones. The hung-jury outcome often strikes observers as a defeat for justice. It leads to suggestions that the system be revised to make less-than-unanimous jury decisions binding and acceptable. The concept has much merit. Elsewhere in the realm of justice, as a flow of serious events has pointed up. the person in this country’s highest political office faces a much looser mode of judgment. Under ail impeach ment method spelled out in the Constitution, the President of the United States can be found guilty and removed bv only a two-thirds vote of his “jury,” the senate. For “high crimes misdemeanors,” two out of three of the senators present are sufficient to “convict the holder of the nation's highest office in the most important “trial” it is possible to hold iii U S. public life. Hardly anyone regards this process of reaching a “verdict” as anything but reasonable. Unanimity appears unrealistic and unthinkable Two-thirds agreement does justice; it's fair. Timely questions: If a less-than-unanimous verdict is right for the highest conceivable crimes >n the highest office in the land, shouldn't split-decision verdicts be right too concerning other major crimes by lesser individuals in private life? Why not9 The peop/e ’s forum Speed-watch idea To the Editor ... One of my colleagues at the University of Iowa. Norton Thevenin. and I are working on a long-range solution to the problem of highway speed limit violations. The following is a description of our system, which could lie initiated within ten years Radio beacons will be placed at intervals along the roadside where speed limits change (e g. 45 m p h. to 55). The beacons transmit different radio frequency variations to represent the speed limits assigned to the area Each car and truck will be equipped with a “black box” device, much like an aircraft flight recorder. It will compare the vehicle’s actual speed with the radio-designated limit. Whenever the comparator detects a speed-limit violation lasting longer than a specified tune, say 15 seconds, it will automatically record the time. the specified speed limit, and the actual vehicle speed Our device could be the size of a small transistor radio No part of the system in any way interferes with the vehicle s operation or performance once the en gine is started, but merely records violations in its menjory cells. However, the driver must touch a finger to the plate of a device which will encode post tive identification for records before the vehicle’s engine can be started The system’s second stage requires data-collection stations where small telephone receiver-type pickups would be held close to a transducer on the vehicle. The records will be automatically transferred to the TRACTS crime computer in Des Moines within seconds. These collection points might be installed in every service station as easily as hooking up an extension telephone Actual time spent transferring information would tx1 less than two minutes a year, causing virtually no inconvenience to the driver To insure that drivers use collection stations, a timer is built into the vehicle device: If the data hasn t been transferred within a specified period it begins sending out a radio homing signal which would be traced by special police This beacon could also tx* started manually to summon help in emergencies Records of each driver s violations will be kept permanently in computer memory banks These records will show any violations which precede accidents, providing a better understanding of their causes. This information in turn might be used to improve safety laws When drivers know they are under constant, unrelenting surveillance, speed laws will be obeyed Maxwell S. Laus I ruversity of Iowa College of Engineering Iowa CityProtecting minors To the Editor; In a recent sermon, one of our priests in this area said, “For evil to triumph all we need to do is nothing ’’ There was an excellent letter to the editor a few days ago about the “silent majority “ Let’s wake up and act lad each one of us do his part. A very important bill that deals with protecting minors from pornography and child molesting will tx* discussed during the next two weeks Let s let Sen Tom Riley know that we want our children protected from pornography He is a great man and is interested in each one of us. He said by all means write to him at the statehouse iii Des Moines or call him at the senate chamber — (515) 281-3371. It s our job to clean up this city Let us help this great man Evil has its time. but goodness triumphs if we won t be lukewarm or afraid to speak We would like to add two points lo this bill (I) Fencing-in of drive-ins so pictures will not be seen outside the specified area and (2) indecent exposure like this trend in streaking should be illegal Thank you for printing citizens’ letters You have tx»en very fair Kathanna Sharpe 1812 Blake boulevard SE Reworded To the Editor Recently, a Des Moines newspaper carried a full-page ad sponsored by Americans for the Presidency It provided some brief statements for you to sign and mail to your congressman and to the house judiciary committee. The wording was something like this “Let us give our full support to the presidency Let us give the President opportunity to get im with the business of taking care of the affairs of this nation “ I was glad to send two messages, as follows “lad us give our full support to the President and the congress Let us encourage congress to get on with performing its constitutional duties, and not allowing the executive branch to usurp these duties “ This revised statement I could, in good conscience, sign and believe Hilda Walterick 12*24 Thirteenth street NUFine service To the Editor On Sunday . March 31. my neighbor apartment was completely destroyed by fire Her little 2-year-old boy was trap[x*d on the second floor, but thanks to the very fine job of the fire department he was rescued alive What seemed to me an eternity was only a matter of a few minutes before they found him and were able to get him to a hospital Our police department also did a fine job aiding the firemen by getting names and keeping other people away from the burning apartment I am very proud of our two fine departments Mary Maish ti NMI .I str»*et SW Insights By Louis Harris The Harris Survey BV 43 to 41 percent, a narrow plurality of the American people is now prepared to agree that “President Nixon should be impeached by congress and removed from office.” while 18 percent are unsure. This is the first time that the Harris Survey has recorded a popular margin in favor of congress removing Mr Nixon from the presidency. A clear majority agrees, by 55-33 percent. with the statement that “if President Nixon fails to turn over the information the house judiciary committee wants.' then that committee “should vote to bring impeachment charges against the President.” A substantial number, 87-19 percent. do not expect the President to turn over all the evidence the judiciary committee wants from him. And the public gives him overwhelmingly negative marks. 71-21 percent, on “the way he is cooperating with the impeachment proceedings ” From these results, drawn from an indepth survey of a national cross-section How to punish? By Don Oakley LAST FALL, a judge in Miami. Fla., made the news wires when he proposed an unusual punishment for a 19-year-old self-confessed murderer Rather than sentence the youth to life in prison where he would simply tx* a burden to stxiety, the judge suggested that he be put on probation and tx* required to support his victim’s wife and five children until the latter could earn their own livings. The public prosecutor labeled the idea as “disgusting, abhorrent and abominable." lf. some 7.000 years after the invention of writing, we cannot agree on what is the best wav to teach children how to read. Question: The ArgumentsYES It is as absurd to argue men, os to torture them, into believing John Henry Newman S Distributing funds only to those schools which have high concentrations of i>oor children does not help those pupils who come from wealthier families but still have learning problems Citing Office of Education surveys. Pennsylvania Democrat .Joseph M (Jaydos pointed out that two-thirds of the children having persistent reading problems came from families earning more than $3.(NHI a year Jesting children to see which ones have educational problems therefore would put the federal money where the most need is For instance, Rep yule has argued, through testing “we could determine how well the average third grader should be able to read, test third graders to determine how many fell far below that expected level of competency, and then allocate funds to be used to bring these students up to the expected level.” Testing. Quie said, “would be far preferable to the current (system ) which makes the assumption, often unwarranted, that low income is prima facie evidence of educational need, and assumes further that only low-income children have real education problems.” yule also pointed to a successful program in Michigan which uses educational assessment to determine how and where its state education money will tx* spent Figures from the state show that districts with high concentrations of poor children have not lost funds and that public support for compensatory education programs has increased because wealthier schools are now eligible for a share of the money. During committee consideration, Wisconsin Republican William A Steiger contended that testing, “is a far more effective method than income in terms of reaching those children in all schools, all districts, who . . are not enjoying, regardless of income, the advantage of compensatory education ” Congressional Quarterly A of 1,495 households interviewed between March 24 and 29. it is fair to conclude that the American people now want the full procedures of the Constitution regarding impeachment to be invoked against President Nixon It must be pointed out, of course, that only a simple majority is needed to adopt a bill of impeachment against Mr. Nixon in the house of representatives, whereas two-thirds is required in the U.S. senate to convict him and remove him from office At the moment, public sentiment seems tit approach the proportion needed for an impeachment vote from the house, but falls short of the two-thirds mark which would be needed from the senate to convict. By any measure, however. Mr Nixon s troubles over Watergate-related events appear to be growing rather than diminishing, despite his efforts to take his case to the people As reported on Monday. Mr Nixon’s over all job rating has recently risen 5 points from its all-time low. but public opinion remains deeply skeptical about the President's claims of innocence on Mho Watergate cover-up. The cross section was asked All in all, do you think President Nixon should or should not be impeached by congress and removed from office'5 Should Should Not be not sure % % % Nationwide 43 41 16 East 51 35 14 Midwest 42 45 13 South 32 48 20 West 47 36 17 8th grade or less 4 I 38 21 High School 41 44 15 College 46 40 14 Professional 44 39 17 Executive 33 53 14 Skilled labor 48 37 15 White collar 42 43 15 Republicans 15 72 13 Democrats 56 28 16 Independents 45 41 14 Catholic 46 37 17 White Protestant 33 53 14 Jewish 57 26 17 On the tough question of removing the President from office, the country is split sharply and decisively Both the East and West coasts clearly lean toward removal, while the South leans against it. The college-educated tend to be for it. while those whose education never went beyond high school tend to oppose it Professional people and skilled labor people favor it. while business executives and white collar people oppose it. Republicans are overwhelmingly against removal from office, while Democrats are for it, although a substantial proportion of Democrats, 18 percent. express uncertainty over the question Independents, however, now tend toward impeachment Viewed in political terms, it is apparent now that Mr Nixon’s 1988 base of support is still his strongest, while there has been considerable erosion among the new groups he penetrated in 1972 Catholics, trade union members, and skilled labor By the same token, he appears to be losing ground among the better educated. more affluent, professional types. who make up the new and independent swing balance of power in the country Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate let alone learn math and other aspects of society's accumulated store of knowledge, it is not surprising that after millennia of human history we cannot agree on how best to punish and-or rehabilitate those who break society s laws There have been as many fads and fashions in penology in recent years as there have been in the classroom The prosecutor quoted above, horrified at anything less than the maximum punishment provided by law. evidently belongs to the old school of an eye for an eye. a life for a life This school reigntxi almost universally until modern times (though, strangely , each generation continued to produce a more or less constant percentage of criminals no matter how many were put away or done away with ) Then in the 1950s, the notion that most lawbreakers were in one way or another “sick” tx»came popular in prison circles, recalls Science News This approach was advanced by such modern penal reformers as psychiatrist Karl Men Hinger and former attorney general Ka in se v ('lark By the 1980s, however, it began to become apparent that psychotherapy, vocational counseling, education programs and the like were not working Crime was on the increase and the rate of recidivism was little changed Then came something called behavior modification Instead of “coddling criminals with psychotherapy and trying to understand them, the idea now was to focus on the deviant behavior and. by means of sophisticated behav ior-control technology and systematically applied rewards and punishments, force them to shape up But now the future of this youngest school of penology is in doubt Last month two federal agencies, the Bureau of Prisons and the I .aw Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEXA), an flounced that they were ceasing to fund projects involving behavior modification Professional criticism of this controversial approach to crime and punishment is also mounting “Being looked up should tx- sufficient punishment ' says Albert Bandura president of the American Psychological Assn “Society has no moral or legal right to force an individual to change If I am black and am put in prison because I'm opposed to the political and social system in this country. I sure as hell wouldn’t want behavior modification forced upon me. " At the other extreme is James V. McConnell, professor of psyc hology at the University of Mic higan “I don’t believe the Constitution of the United States gives you the right to commit a crime if you want to. therefore, the Con stitution dcx*s not guarantee you the right to maintain inviolable the |x*r*<»nality it forced on you in the first place — if and when the personality manifests strongly antisocial tx*havior t nfortunatcly. for the one point of view, imprisonment is very often not enough For the other, behavior modification smacks too much of something like Big Brother would like to iisc> “for our ctwn good In the* mean time. while the e xperts argue crime marches on Nt>*vnr»0»" tn'k'DUsk Should testing determine where federal school aid goes for special programs? By Congressional Quarterly WASHINGTON - A little-noticed provision of the education hill passed by the house last month would allow schecol districts to use achievement testing to deride which children should benefit from special programs financed by federal funds I rider existing law, federal funds for compensatory education arc channeled to states, sc hool districts, and ultimately to individual schools cm the sole* basis of poverty statistics The more poor children a school serves, the more federal funding it receives But some house members arc* con vinced that distributing federal funds on the* basis of poverty alone will not reach all the children with problems in reading and math Thus a Minnesota Republican, AI tx* ti ll yule successfully talked the house education and labor committee into allowing loc al school dis triets the option of testing to sex* where the greatest concentrations of educationally disadvantaged children were Although there was considerable debate over the provision in the* committee, tut one* attempted tee de*le*te* it from the bill during filar debate The senate* cd neat Hen bill, which is expected to be acted on this month, contains no similar provision So it is likely that the* issue will arise* again when house anc! senate confere'cs meet to iron out differences tx*twe*e*n the* Iwo lulls Following are arguments for anil against the* proposal to allow the use- of te*sting to determine which children should lx-nefit from federal programs The ArgumentsNO The ( iazetto's opinion Purpose, need should mesh THERE ARE misleading overtones in part of the debate on whether “testing” should determine “which children receive federal aid for schooling mainly aimed at helping disadvantaged youngsters. If tests were meant to pin down whether a specific child qualifies, and if the granting of funds or their withholding depended on each child’s performance, that would bo an impossible system on grounds of stigma, privacy invasion, discrimination, power-abuse and general unworkability. But that is not what is proposed. The funds involved go to school districts as a whole, not to “wealthy schools’’ or well-off individuals. Children do not enter the equation as individuals; all that any testing would do is come up with raw numbers — totals of children en masse — to serve as a basis for aid allocations in hulk. In that light the testing-for-need idea makes a good deal of sense. The purpose of the program is to fund compensatory education for disadvantaged children The method used so far to find how many disadvantaged children need compensatory help has been to count how many children come from poverty-level families in a given school district. That assumes, in short, that poor kids are the ones in need of remedial help. Instead of keying on family-ineomc statistics alone, another way would he to test children for performance (in numbers, language and the like) and see how many show an actual need for compensatory work in school. This would lock the purpose to some proof, instead of to assumptions. The approach is worth a try. Opponents ut th** concept argue that testing can discriminate against some students An article in a recent issue of Today ** Education argued that a “major concern is whether tests developed primarily for use with Caucasian subjects can tx- properly administered to minority group members In a minority report on the education bill, six members of the education and latx,r committee wrote “It is acknowledged that the technology of as-segment is primitive at best, that tests label and mislabel and classify children, and that there is a definite cultural bias in the tests most commonly used to measure education disadvantage ’ New York Democrat Shirty ( hisholm agreed There is no particular test that can tx* utilized that would be empirically fair and empirically sound,’’ she declared resting would also “focus attention more directly on individual children and stigmatize them," said Ar fold Aronson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Furthermore, said Los Angeles Democrat Augustus h Hawkins, “there ■ire hundreds of tests, and what one school district would use is not necessarily what’would be used in another si, there is no possible way in which the money could ratinnallv be allocated. ” Hawkins was concerned that a switch to testing would divert funds from schools serving poor children and become more of a general aid program Testing would favor those districts that could show that testing measured lack of achievement,’’ he said and therefore “it would be an incentive for (school districts) not to improve programs or to use a particular test that resulted in more money going to certain districts than other districts.” Chisholm maintained that funds distributed on the basis of testing would tx* “constantly subjected to political and budgetary considerations ” Congressional Quarterly ;

  • Albert Bandura
  • Augustus H Hawkins
  • Hilda Walterick
  • James V. Mcconnell
  • John Henry Newman
  • Karl Men Hinger
  • Louis Harris
  • Mary Maish
  • Maxwell S. Laus
  • Norton Thevenin
  • Tom Riley
  • William A Steiger

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: April 11, 1974