Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 19, 1974, Page 9

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette June 19, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - June 19, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa New openness impends Plea-bargaining shroud drops KillionS The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Wed., June 19, 1974 9A BUDGET BARGAINS By Sandra Stencel WASHINGTON — The Constitution guarantees every American accused of a serious crime the right to trial by jury, the right to confront witnesses against him, and the right to tx* proven guilty by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Hut the vast majority of criminal defendants never have their day in court. It is estimated that 91) percent of all criminal convictions are based on the defendant’s own plea of guilty. Many, though not all, of these pleas are the direct result of negotiations known as plea bargaining. The term refers to a pre-arraignment “deal” between the prosecution and the defense in which the defendant is offered a lenient sentence ir he agrees to plead guilty, perhaps to a lesser charge In most jurisdictions, plea negotiations are informal and off-the-record, sometimes conducted in hurried whispers in the courtroom and through the burs of a jail Starting Aug I, however, plea bargaining in the federal courts will be subject to formal rules — barring an unexpected rejection by congress. On that day the supreme court’s proposed revisions of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure are due to take effect. Under the new rules, any plea agreement worked out by federal prosecutors and defense attorneys must be presented in Opinion Page 2 Ideas Judgments Views Insights Comments Insights The tendency is to be broadminded about other people's se canty. Aristide Briond open court for the judge to accept or reject. If it is accepted, the defendant is assured of receiving a lighter sentence than he could expect if tried and convicted. If the agreement is rejected, the defendant is given an opportunity to change his plea. The change of rules comes at a time when publicity about plea bargaining by Watergate defendants has aroused public awareness of the procedure and a new round of criticism in the legal profession. The most publicized case of plea bargaining in recent years involved Vicepresident Spiro T. Agnew He resigned from office, pled no contest to a single charge of income tax evasion — and stayed out of prison. Though his case did not relate directly to the Watergate scandals, it coincided with plea bargaining by Watergate defendants. At least eight of these defendants have pled guilty after engaging in plea bargaining and the sentences imposed so far have been considered mild — to the point of public controversy. This was true especially for Richard G. Kleindienst, the former attorney general. He drew one month of unsupervised probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge — that of testifying inaccurately to a congressional committee — rather than face the possibility of a felony charge of perjury. Among the other seven — Frederick LaRue, Egil Krogh, jr.; Job Stuart Magruder, John W Dean, Donald lf Segretti, Herbert W Kalmbach, arid Herbert L Porter — none so far has received a sentence as severe as that given another Watergate defendant, Dwight I, Chapin who stood trial and was convicted Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski — like many others in the legal profession, including Chief Justice Warren K. Burger — defends plea bargaining “I personally believe strongly that plea bargaining is a very fair and appropriate method of disposing of a case,” Jaworski recently said in a IJ S. News & World Report interview However right or wrong it may be, America is likely to hear more about plea bargaining in the months ahead. It has even been suggested as a method of relieving President Nixon of his Watergate troubles —• iii return for Ins resignation Rep. Wilbur I) Mills (I) Ark ). chairman of the house ways and means committee, has offered to sponsor a bill in congress to grant Nixon immunity from criminal prosecution and any civil suits against him arising from Watergate issues if he would resign. “The biggest obstacle to Mr. Nixon’s resignation may be his fear of going to jail,” journalist I F. Stone wrote last fall. “As President,” Stone said, “he has the power to hamper investigation, drag out litigation, and block his own prosecution.” Speculating on the possibility of presidential plea bargaining, Time magazine commented “It is scarcely likely that the public would put up with legislators voting to pass a special bill that would then have to be signed by its intended beneficiary.” Anyway, according to the President’s former speechwriter William Safire, “Mr. Nixon is not the type to plea bargain.” Whether plea bargaining ever reaches the presidential level, it has been dragged out from the shadows of American criminal justice into the light of public scrutiny, and an outpouring of critical commentary has followed. Edltoriol Research Reports Primer for the wirebound Tyrannized by call contraption By Russell Baker THIS is a telephone. It is not making a sound. See how quiet the telephone is. See how happy it looks. Why does the telephone look so happy? It looks happy because it is making money without doing any work It is congratulating itself upon being such a clever machine. It is thinking that this man in whose house it is living will soon be giving it even more money to let it take up room in his house. Look at the man. Can you see the strange hand removing money from his pocket? It is very hard to see. You must look very closely. The hand does not belong to the man. It belongs to the telephone. The hand is collecting the money the telephone charges the man for living in his house. Every year the telephone charges the man $91) for just sitting there doing nothing Is this man not dumber than any you have ever seen? He has shelves of books which also sit in his house doing nothing, but he would be very angry if one of the books put its hand in his pocket and removed $90 for the privilege of taking up house space. He would choke the book and call it a scoundrel and throw it out of the house, would he not? Iud od he would Why does he not choke the telephone and throw it out of the house? If he did that, you see. he would be cut off from the world. He could no longer have his dinner interrupted by real estate swindlers who want to sell him a quarter acre of swamp. He could no longer hear from bill collectors threatening to cut off his lights. He could no longer hear bad news us soon as it happened. He could no longer Im* communicated with by people with nothing to communicate If a burglar broke into his house, he could not call policemen who would come to his rescue five hours later, lf he became ill he could not call a doctor who does not make house calls The man believes it is worth $9(1 a year to enjoy these blessings The man is also happy because the telephone cares for so many widows and orphans. He has read the telephone’s advertisements and press releases He has seen the telephone s television commercials. The telephone is a fierce believer in advertising its own goodness. Each year It raises the amount it charges the man in order to pay for this advertising The man does not complain, because the advertising tells him how wonderful his telephone is and how generously it contributes lo widows and orphans who own It. But what is this? Stand back, everyone! Hold onto your money! I he man is going to use the telephone. Look at the telephone glow with excitement. Do you know why the telephone is excited0 The telephone is hoping the man will call somebody across the Cityline so it can charge him more money. It is hoping he will call somebody who lives in another city so it can charge him lots more money. It is hoping he will ask an operator to place a call for him so it can charge him lots and lots more money. It is hoping he will call Information so it can charge him lots and lots and lots more money. It is hoping he will call someone far away and talk longer than three minutes so it can charge him lots and lots and lots and lots more money. See how dreamy the telephone looks as the man approaches it. It is dreaming of the day when it can charge him tons and tons of more money for talking more than two minutes. It is dreaming of the day when it can charge him truckloads of more money for calling someone who lives outside his block Oh. sir how cross the telephone is The Russell Baker Way with words Misplaced By Theodore M. Bernstein THE TITLE of a scheduled address before a trade organization was, “Canada and Japan: Good Relations Just Don’t Happen.” As it stands, with the word just meaning simply, the title could bi* read as ruling out good relations; they simply don’t happen. The intended meaning, of course, was that something must be done to bring about good relations; they don’t simply happen Therefore the word just should ap|H*ar ahead of happen. As it stands, the title is ambiguous. There are no two ways about it. Or rather there are two ways about it but there shouldn’t be Whomever again. Some time back we discussed a sentence that, boiled down, read like this "Whomever she married would expect to be king of Scotland ” The decision here was in favor of whoever on the ground that the1 word, equivalent to “any person that,” was the subject of “would expect" and therefore should bi* in the nominative case Now along comes a similar but not identical construction; “The metropolitan editor and whomever hi* has to help turn must rely largely on the telephone man is dialing his own long distance call. The telephone is cross because it will get less more money this way. It wants the man to place the call with the operator so tit can get lots more money. The telephone is so cross that it will not complete the call It buzzes angrily at the man. See him dial again and again. It is no use. He has made the telephone too angry. The telephone is embarrassed about living in the same house with a miser. Ah, the man has given up. He is turning on his television set He is watching a splendid commercial. It is telling him about the wonderful service his telephone provides. See the man crying. Do you know why he is crying? Do you think it is because he is reminded of all the w idows and orphans his telephone is supporting? Do not be foolish, dear children He is crying because the telephone hand in his pocket is becoming bigger and bigger and he is thinking that his telephone is conspiring to turn his wife and children into widows and orphans before their time. Will the telephone then take the poor dears under its generous care? Surely it will. But if it will, why is the telephone winking at the television commercial? Why is the telephone licking its chops? New York Time* Service and the radio." Once again the vote goes to whoever. The word plays a dual role in the sentence: It is, together with editor, the subject of the verb must rely and at the same time the object of has in the subordinate clause. Think of the pronoun as meaning “any person who.” Thought of that way, whoever has a built-in antecedent — person — which must In* iii the nominative (‘ase. If you were to substitute three words for the pronoun they would be “any person whom,” but that does not make whomever correct. Gome to think of it, whomever is a troublesome word and a good one to avoid • Word oddities A four flusher, as everyone knows, is a bluffer, a deceiver. But whence cornea the word’* It derives from the pocer term four flush, which refers to a pretense by a player that he holds five cards of a single suit, which would Im* a real flush, when he actually holds only four New Yolk Time* Syndical* Theodore M. Bernstein ;

  • Donald Lf Segretti
  • Egil Krogh
  • Frederick Larue
  • Herbert L Porter
  • Herbert W Kalmbach
  • John W Dean
  • Leon Jaworski
  • Richard G. Kleindienst
  • Russell Baker
  • Sandra Stencel
  • Spiro T. Agnew
  • Theodore M. Bernstein
  • Warren K. Burger
  • William Safire

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: June 19, 1974

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