Friday, March 23, 1973

Madison Wisconsin State Journal

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Page: 20

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Text Content of Page 20 of Madison Wisconsin State Journal on Friday, March 23, 1973

Madison Wisconsin State Journal (Newspaper) - March 23, 1973, Madison, Wisconsin PAGE 20 SECTION 1 WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL FRIDAY MARCH 23 1973 Nixon Asks New Crime Code WASHINGTON AP President Nixon asked Congress Thursday to abolish insanity as a defense to federal crimes and 1o revamp the criminal code completely The death penalty would be brought back and obscenity laws redefined THE 680PAGK Criminal Code Reform Ad of 1973 as submitted the President would toutrhen I drug laws provide mandatory imprisonment in some eases and grade offenses into nine categories with maximum sen tenees and fines The existing code dates back to 1790 and the President in a message last week promising the new legislation called modifica tion not merely desirable but absolutely imperative It is the second such bill before this session of Congress Sen McClcllan DArk also submitted a complete revision A Justice Dept spokesman said there are differences in every line Prolonged debate is certain particularly over the insanity provisions and the death penalty The issue of the defendants mental state would arise during a trial only if the prosecution were unable to establish he had criminal intent Mental disease or defect does not otherwise con stitute a defense the proposed code says THE PRESIDENT called codification of the insanity defense the most significant feature of the part establishing general provisions and principles of the code because the stan dard has become so vague in some instances that it has led to unconscionable abuse by defen dants A Justice Dept lawyer explained It does away with the defense of I was insane when I committed the crime but xronderof wonders Ive re Should the issue of insanity be raised at a trial after prior notice to the court a jury could find a defendant not guilty by reason of Insanity But in such cases even though the defendant has been acquitted the judge could order commitment to a mental institu tion Under present federal law Jsuch a defendant would go free THE DEATH penalty would be jmandatory if there were aggravating factors in such class A felonies as treason espionage and Inurder Such aggravating factors would be a prior conviction of the same crime endangering national security or putting another per son to a grave risk of death Drug traffickers would be hit The Administrations legisla tion would ban obscene material unless it constituted a minor portion of the whole product reasonably necessary and appropriate to fulfill an ar tistic scientific or literary pur pose Maximum sentence and fine would be three years and Profanity Law Is Unconstitutional JACKSONVILLE Fla AP Floridas law against profanity lias teen held unconstitutional Circuit Judge Major B Hard ing ruled Wednesday that the law violated the First Fifth and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution and that under a dictionary definition of profane the statement God is dead might be considered a violation of the Florida law CHILDRENS PRESIDENT NIXON 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