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Cedar Rapids Gazette Newspaper Archive: August 20, 1974 - Page 6

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - August 20, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                What fate for prisoner of San Clemente? Editorial Page Avgutt 20, 1 Prejudice on purpose SKASONKl) court watchers know il even if must of the public does iiiil: The detVsise itt a criminal trial tries tu put people on juries who will sympathize with the defendant. The prosecu- tion tries for jurors who are likely to he mean and will convict. What's new in that department is the length that jtirv pickers have started to .mi to in lining up panels with better than chances of favoring one side or the other. What's wrong about it is the open discredit this aims at the concent of a fair trial. As outlined in a piece in the Wall Street Journal recently, the method now developing finds social scientists (psychologists and sociologists, for the most part) engaged to lay out profiles of the kind of people apt to acquit someone of a given crime in a given community. The defense lawyers then attempt to load the jury with that type. This approach reportedly worked well, for example, in the case of a New York jury that acquitted John Mitchell and Maurice Stans recently of con- spiracy, perjury and obstruction of justice. From a similar effort concerning the conspiracy trials of two militant Indians in the Wounded Knee case, reportedly the finding was that St. Paul area Germanic and Norwegian ethnics would go hard on the accused; the would be friendlier. Even neighbors of prospective jurors were in- terrogated by the team. On a more ambitious basis, New- York's Legal Aid Society has un- dertaken a detailed study of 15 drug-trial juries, shooting for a demographic guide to jurors likely to acquit in future trials generally. The target: a turcoiiis law regarded by opponents as represMU'. Purpose. miliiiv the law ihrougl: acquittals in spite of strong eudence. "It's utter nonsense for anybody !u hclieu1 we're there to pick an impartial the Journal quotes a Legal Aid lawyer. In other words, the principle becomes: Fair trial be damned. Hig one fairer to the accused than to the accusers Attorneys and judges like to raise the roof these days about pre-trial news concerning crime publicity about defendants all in the name of the fair-trial concept and seeing that a jury won't be prejudiced against someone because of information on what happened. The jury-rig- ging game suggests that other kinds of prejudice weigh heavy too intangibles like people's atti- tudes, affiliations, backgrounds, personalities and ways of life. Beating hard on one kind of prejudice and smiling at another possibly more potent kind of prejudice will not long fool the public into thinking justice is in strong and spotless hands. Demographic guides from social science in the jury-picking art may have one laudable poten- tial, though. If profiles can be drawn of jurors likely to lean one way or other, then profiles can be drawn of jurors likely to display (he quality most suitable in any trial: open-minded intelligence. If both opposing sides can be prevailed upon to settle for so dangerous, unorthodox a juror- quality as that, the fair-minded public will come closer to receiv- ing what it wants and has a right to hope it gets. Dispossessed S A MATTER of record, this corner remained patiently mute last month when New York Times wordsmith Theodore Bern- stein launched his amusing lexicography of verbs denoting invalidation, reversal, rejection or undoing. If a lawyer fallen from grace must be disbarred, should an unworthy physician not be asked the puckish penman. On and on the word play went, with writers to the columnist joining the non- sense. Comes now the latest pun an ousted chiropodist "defected" and silence here is no longer tolerable. Hence a few sugges- tions: A long-haired woman suddenly shorn, distressed. A transplanted far-easterner, disoriented. Fibber McGee divorced, demolished. Pro People's forum Bicycle hazards Tu the Editor: On Saturday, Aug. 10, my husband and I traveled to Dubuque, meeting numerous bicyclists along the way. I was greatly concerned by the hazards they created to motorists, especially in extremely heavy rains. I was tempted to write about the situation, and when see ing the editorial of Aug. 12 on bicycle safety. I felt it was my obligation. I have done very much bicycling and LETTERS The editorial page welcomes readers' opinions, subject la these guidelines: Length limit: 400 words. One letter par writer every 30 days. All may IK condensed and edited without changing meaning. None published anonymously. Writer's telephone number (not printed) should follow name, address and readable handwritten signature to help authenticate. Contents deal more with issues and events than per- sonalities. No poetry. wrestler rendered mute: disgruntled. Windy politician stricken speechless: disgusted. Ancient Trojans overrun by Greeks, dis-Troyed. Fairy prin- cess divested of magical powers: disenchanted. Shopper denied borrowing power: discredited. Bereft baseball mogul: disfranchised. Dapper dude caught in rain: decreased. Pot puffer deprived of his weed: dis- jointed. Female robbery victim: dis- persed. Bent-legged cripple straightened up: unlisted. Unemployed model: disposed. Unproductive songwriter: decom- posed. And, finally, a New York Times department of etymology guilty of perpetrating atrocious puns: described. think it is an excellent leisure time ac- tivity. I do realise as a motorist, however, that highway 151 is not a feasi- ble bicycle route for 2.000 bicyclists. Be- ing a newcomer to Iowa. I am not familiar with all of the roads throughout the slate, but I do know that should this hike excursion continue to be an annual event, less traveled roads should be used for the route. There is one other alternative the building of bicycle lanes along the high- way, which could further serve as snow- mobile paths Of course, this would be highly expensive. It is lime In consider. however, that the price lag on a life can- nut be met. Mrs Karl .1. Horn :ilill Third street Marion Hotel strike To the Fditor. I would like to bring the current strike at the Hole! Roosevelt lo the interest of the community. We, as citizens of Cedar Hapnls, should take the time and effort to go see these people who are demonstrating their needs to meet the present economy It would be of value to read their handbills lo find out what they really are up against. Noruia Kamsden l.inwood street SW Sign of contrition is requisite for immunity By William F. Buckley, jr. rpilr. As-m-unm IMS voted tlu; n-> h'li ;tf immunity should be fur the exclusive protect ion of Richard Nixon due could hardly have expected anything else, save possibly, under the profes- sionally pressing circumstances of the past few years, a motion to recommend a law limiting the number of lawyers iluit can be sent to jai! in any single vcai William F. Buckley, jr Obviously the Nixon problem is not, at this stage, a lawyer's problem And anything that approaches an attempt to codify a solution to the N'ixon problem, has the effect of retarding a solution tu Ihe Nixon problem. The whole idea of executive clemency is that the law should be transcended You cannot, by logical definition, pass a law to transcend a law. The whole point of Ihe exercise is lost. What is required is that an individual should go out on a limb and say: To suggest (hat "Nixon has suffered enough" is hugely lo underrate what has happened tu him. His mor- tification is a continuing punishment. The probabilities are that on his deathbed, he will be an unhappy man. To put him behind bars, under the circum- stances, is not to "punish" him more, it is to achieve formalistic juridical satis- faction at the expense of acquiring for the country the reputation for a finicky vin- dictiveness that does us discredit. Concerning the usual objections, a few- observations: 1. It is true that Nixon's subordinates have already suffered jail, some of them; and that others are about to go to jail. These should be separated into two categories. One category is the totally straightforward offense of accepting bribes, cheating on one's taxes, that kind of thing. Those who did that kind of thing and are at the dock should proceed anonymously to meet their fate. Those others whose crime has been complicity in the coverup and in- volvement in the Watergate breakin, should be tried, convicted (if the evidence so and given sus- pended 311-day sentences. Here the lawyers might have paused to consider the awful meaning of disbar- ment. Surely it is proper for the legal community to punish its members under certain circumstances, and it is true that that community's failure to punish its members when they are acting as ob- structionists of the law (one thinks of the behavior of William Kunstler during the wild years) is more typical of bar as- sociations than disbarment proceedings. Partial truth But to say to such as John Ehrlichman that they are disbarred and cannot prac- tice their profession for the rest of their lives is. well, cruel and inhuman. Il is like saying to a writer who writes one libelous article that lie may never again put pen lo paper. Return of ffie wise men 1' Whv is it right to decline to prosecute Nixuii. having proceeded to prosecute his subordinates'1 To answer Ihat question >oll jllM have Ui lea! snulM-lf away (rum Ihe uf republican principles It is ok.tx to go a-'iMl! An urn- aiiiiVe tile I.ivv Kill [ha! is cnlv mostly Our 1'rcsidcnt.s are expecled l.i take certain risks, and generations of them tune done so Quod licet non licet hovi. (What is permitted divine is not permitted swine The risks Richard Nixon took were for tawdry motives, and he has been punished as surely as Napoleon was punished when his empire was taken away from him But they didn't take Napoleon nut and stioot him. even though he had led, in his disastrous campaigns, hundreds of thousands of men lo their deaths We were shocked, not satisfied, a! the execution of Nicholas II. We are in si-arch uf the mechanics of granting effective immunity. Here Mr. Nixon could help us. Kirs! by under- taking to write a full and frank account uf his role in the coverup, and giving it to congress. Among other things, this would deprive him of huge commercial returns he might have from a commercial publisher. Isolation? And a gesture by Mr. Nixon he might announce that it is his intention not to stray physically from the premises of San Clemente for one year. Those Secret Service men would then, in effect, not only be there to prevent outsiders from going in, but insiders from going out. 1 cannot believe that, if at this point Mr. -lawurski announced that he did not intend to prosecute Mr. Nixon, there would be a murmur of protest, except from the fever swamps of vindictiveness. But as 1 say. at this point, we need a gesture from Mr. Nixon Lack of credentials bars way to big house By Russell Baker MUST OF iilK d.-liale ai.uiil wbcltiei it is fitting to jai! an ex-t'ri-.sident is so high-flown Ihat one feels a bit timid about injecting some realism into it It is with considerate diffidence, then-fore, thai 1 suggest that Ihe whole debate is silly. Those arguing fur jail no man can lie beyund the law. while those against it say it would be a terrible thing for the country to lock up a man who lias been President and. anyhow, his unscheduled departure from the White House is punishment enough Nobody has yet asked the central question: K locking Ihe fellow up going to do any In the case of Nixon, or any other ex- 1'residenl, Ihe answer seems clear It will not. Therefore, prison ought to lie ruled out. If we look at the American prison sys- tem, the overwhelming logic of this conclusion becomes manifest. The American prison is primarily an educa- tional institution. We send young men to prison and they come out finished criminals, just as we send other young men lo Vale and turn them into bankers. Too old A constant supply of criminals turned out by our prisons contributes to economic health by maintaining full employment in the police and the judicial industries, enriching lawyers and in- surance companies, keeping social workers occupied and supporting large government bureaucracies. Offering the benefits of prison educa- tion to former Presidenls. however, makes little sense. To begin with, they wijl invariably be too old to profit from it and repay the country wilh the long career at crime necessary to amortize Ihe high cost of prison education. 'Maybe the fall hurt him enough When 1 last saw Ihe figures. the federal government was paying mure I" main- lain a man in prison per year than il would cost Hi turn Man.-ird Kin- ail education as expensive as that, society is entitled to sume assurance Ilia! he is 1.. U- 1.. M-: prison-related industries The average cx-1'rcsidetit Mill be in Ins lali' 'id's or. more probablv. in Ins W''-. before lie 1-4en enters prison H> Hie lime he mines out. his useful minimi! Ill'1 negligible No insurance cuiupanv in the land Mould bet against actuarial odds like those. Russell Baker A secondary purpose nf prison is to provide storage space fur poor people. In the criminal, legal and judicial classes, il is an established principle that the less wealth a felon has. the more time lie must serve. This has the incidental political value (if holding down the unemployment sta- tistics, but the main reason for it is that poor people, as all the data prove, are far- more likely tu go into crime than the well-to-do and, therefore, far more likely In profit from the benefits uf prison's criminal education. Former Presidents will almost in- variably be far too well-heeled to qualify. If admission to prison were conducted like admission to Ivy League colleges, with a lot of hocus-pocus testing to de- termine the candidate's chances of suc- ceeding, former Presidents would be so obviously doomed to failure that prisons would reject them without the courtesy of an interview at the admitting office. Dissidents first Does it make the slightest sense for the country to spend mure than the cost of a Harvard education on men like ex- Presidents whose very wealth must prevent them from ever making first- rate criminals of themselves? Another secondary purpose of prison is to silence people whose political opinions are obnoxious to society but who insist, nevertheless, on airing them. Prison protects us from having to be harangued by people we disagree with. Timothy Leary, war resistors, black militants, nudists, practicing Christians and others of that stripe. No man who has been President of the United States could conceivably qualify for prison on these terms, since no mat- ter how grave his offense we are not likely to concede that we could have ever elected a man of unorthodox mind. When we consider, then, what prison in America is truly about, the question whether former Presidents should go is easily answered. The answer is no. They are totally unqualified. Flashdown As a safety precaution during night- lime jumps, skydiving club members wore flashing red and blue lights. One jumper parachuted lo a lighted area he assumed to be his target, but which turned out to be a parking Int. Healixing his mistake, lie walked up in a woman who had witnessed the jump. His lights still ..flashing, he asked where he was. The woman backed away as she replied shakily. By Rowland Evans and Robert Novak WASHINGTON Dr. Arthur Burns, relied nn fur economic advice by President Ford during his first week in office, in three confidential Oval Office chats, has painted a bleakly realistic picture nut faintly resembling the soothing fantasies uf administration piillyannas. Hums, independent of the administra- tion as chairman uf the Fcd.-ral Reserve Hoard, has minced no words with the new President. He warned thai this cuuntry is moving toward financial collapse Mr. Kurd can prevent calamiU, lie said, but may have nn mure than li'l days in winch In acl. Such blunt talk breaks what one ad- ministration policymaker derisively calh, "Hie good news syndrome" high government officials disguising a wor- sening economic malaise with decep- tively rosy statements to both the public and the President. Kvcn with Hichard M. Nixon gone, the syndrome persists with budget director Roy Ash and, to a lesser extent. Treasury Secretary William Simon talking about siiiilight.aruund the curlier, some five ur six months ahead. With his Cassandra prophecies unwel- come to a Watergate-obsessed President, Hums got nowhere near the Oval Office during Nixon's last year. II is, Ihen, highly significant anil reassuring that Mr. Ford has given su much lime in these crowded transition days tu Hums' bail news. "The mu.sl positive thing to come out of Washington during the first week was the relationship between Ford and one astute Wall Street ob- server told us. Burns has long preached reduced federal spending and fervently supports Mr Kurd's promise of a balanced budget as the essential anti-mflalionary weapon Bin he privately conceded last week the difficulty in achieving the immediate billion cut he has proposed. Thus. Hums reahxes that budget-culling is nut enough and U pushing new economic proposals many uf Ihem contradicting dogmatic administration officials Proposals Burns would like Mr. Ford tu embrace include business tax incen- 'ives lu increase industrial capacity, fighting inflation by increasing supply and satisfying demand. Thuse ecunumi'1 analysts whu view Burns as an economic EVANS NOVAK stand-palter with a bias against capital imestment are simply unfamiliar with his current thinking. Beyond budget-cutting and tax incen- tives. Burns inclines toward schemes sure lo be opposed by free enterprise stalwarts inside the administration. One is government rationing of credit. Another is a revived Cost of Living Council with the power to subpoena evidence and actually defer price and wage increases. The Burns package, in sum, is a sharp departure from what had been the Nixon administration's intention lo practice the "old-lime religion" keeping hands off the economy and cutting the budget while playing pollyanna. Moreover, besides drawing fire frum the free en- terprise dogmatists, it will be attacked by liberals and labor because of tax advantages for corporate business. Indeed, Mr Kurd would have no chance to sell such tax incentives to the heavily Democratic congress were it not for expected help from a figure who was the hairshirt for the previous Iwo Presidents: Hep. Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, chairman of the house ways and means committee. Though his power and prestige have declined a hit, Mills remains the single mosl formidable ally or antagonist a President could in congress. Hums and Mills have slowly and quietly built a personal alliance, wilh late afternoon meetings in Mills' private retreat on the second floor of the Capitol. They are in essential agreement on what must be done. Thus, if the President ac- cepts Burns' proposals, he has a running start at getting Mills' help. What's more, Mr. Ford can become the first President since John F. Kennedy lo establish a close working relationship with Mills. When Mills last winter want- ed to discreetly advise Nixon to file amended personal lax returns, he sought out the administration official he trusted must: his old House colleague. Vice- president Ford. The new President and Mills have not yet conferred personally, and their only telephone conversation was concerned solely with health insurance legislation But they will meet soon and under unusual circumstances which will demonstrate that Mr. Kurd puts Mills in a very special category and will gu out of his way tu enlist him as an ally. The renewed eminence uf wise men Burns and Mills is a sign of the sudden change in Washington. Barred from the Ova! Office by the llaldeman-Klirlich- nian coup in the spring of HUM. Burns was still being ignored as of Aug. Mills was not only ignored but until the end was the largel of clandestine smears from Hie Nixon While House. Thai their wisdom and talent are being sought by President Kurd is reason for hope despite the grim economic prognosis. I'UfollSlllM 1 Mllll SviMIICCItO   

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