Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - August 20, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
What fate for prisoner of San Clemente?
Tuesday, August 20, 1974
Prejudice on purpose
Seasoned court watchers
know it even if most of the public does not: The defense in a criminal trial tries to put people on juries who will sympathize with the defendant. The prosecution tries for jurors who are likely to be mean and will convict.
What’s new in that department is the length that jury pickers have started to go to in lining up panels with better than even chances of favoring one side or the other. What’s wrong about it is the open discredit this aims at the concept 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 conspiracy, 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 college-educated would be friendlier. Even neighbors of prospective jurors were interrogated by the team.
On a more ambitious basis, New York’s Legal Aid Society has undertaken 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 narcotics law regarded by opponents as repressive. Purpose; nullify the
law through acquittals in spite of strong ('\ idence.
"It’s utter nonsense for anybody to believe we’re there to pick an impartial jury,” the .Journal quotes a Legal Aid lawyer. In other words, the principle becomes: Fair trial be damned. Rig one fairer to the accused than to the accusers (the public).
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-rigging game suggests that other kinds of prejudice weigh heavy too
— intangibles like people’s attitudes, 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 potential, 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 the 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-quaiity as that, the fair-minded public will come closer to receiving w hat it wants and has a right to hope it gets.
AS A MATTER of record, this corner remained patiently mute last month when New York Times wordsmith Theodore Bernstein 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 “demedicated”? asked the puckish penman. On and on the word play went, with writers to the columnist joining the nonsense.
Comes now the latest pun — an ousted chiropodist “defected — and silence here is no longer tolerable. Hence a few suggestions:
A long-haired woman suddenly shorn, distressed. A transplanted far-easterner, disoriented. Fibber McGee divorced, demolished. Pro
People's forumBicycle hazards
To the Editor.
On Saturday, Aux IO, 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 seeing the editorial of Aug. 12 on bicycle safety, I felt it was my obligation.
I have done very much bicycling and
The Gazette s editorial page welcomes readers' opinions, subject to these guidelines length limit 400 words One letter per writer every 30 days
All may be 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 tonalities
wrestler rendered mute: disgruntled. Windy politician stricken speechless: disgusted.
Ancient Trojans overrun by-Greeks, dis-Troyed. Fairy princess 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: disjointed.
Female robbery victim: dispersed. Bent-legged cripple straightened up: unlisted.
Unemployed model: disposed. Unproductive songwriter: decomposed.
And, finally, a New York Times department of etymology guilty of perpetrating atrocious puns: described.
think it is an excellent leisure time activity. I do realize as a motorist, however, that highway 151 is not a feasible bicycle route for 2 (MKI bicyclists Being a newcomer to Iowa, I am not familiar with all of the roads throughout the state, but I do know that should this bike 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 highway. which could further serve as snow mobile paths Of course, this would be highly expensive. It is time to consider, however, that the price tag on a life ( annot be met
Mrs Earl I Born :iwi Third street MarionHotel strike
To the Editor.
I would like to bring the current strike at the Hotel Roosevelt to the interest of the community
We, as citizens of Cedar Rapids, 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 to find out what they really are up against. . .
Norma Ramsden 2503 Linwood street SVVSign of contrition is requisite for immunity
By William F. Buckley, jr.
fTMlF AMERICAN BAR Association has I- voted unanimously that no bill of immunity should be passed for the exclusive protection of Richard Nixon One could hardly have expected anything else, save possibly, under the professionally pressing circumstances of the past few years, a motion to recommend a law limiting the number of lawyers (hat can be sent to jail iii any single year
William F. Buckley, jr
Obviously the Nixon problem is not, a! this stage, a lawyer’s problem. And anything that approaches an attempt to codify a solution to the Nixon problem, has the effect of retarding a solution to the 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 the exercise is lost. What is required is that an individual should go out on a limb and say: To suggest that “Nixon has suffered enough” is hugely to underrate what has happened to him. His mortification is a continuing punishment. The probabilities are that on his deathbed, he will be an unhappy man To put him behind bars, under the circumstances. is not to “punish” him more, it is to achieve formalistic juridical satisfaction at the expense of acquiring for the country the reputation for a finicky vindictiveness that does us discredit.
Concerning the usual objections, a few observations
I 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 involvement in the Watergate breakin, should be tried, convicted (if the evidence so indicates), and given suspended 30-day sentences.
Here the lawyers might have paused to consider tin* awful meaning of disbarment 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 obstructionists of the law (one thinks of the behavior of William Kunstler during the wild years) is more typical of bar associations than disbarment proceedings.
But to say to such as John Ehrlichman that they are disbarred and cannot practice their profession for the rest of their lives is, well. cruel and inhuman It is like saying to a writer who writes one libelous article that he may never again put pen to paperReturn of the wise men
2 Why is it right to decline to prosecute Nixon, having proceeded to prosecute his subordinates? Po answer that question clinically , you just have to tear yourself away from the absolutization of republican principles It is okay to go about saying: No one is above tin' law But that is only mostly true.
Our Presidents are expected to take certain risks, and generations of them have done so. Quod licet lovi, non licet bo vc (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 out and shoot him. even though he had led, in his disastrous campaigns, hundreds of thousands of men to their deaths We were shocked, not satisfied, at the execution of Nicholas ll.
3 We are in search of the mechanics of granting effective immunity. Here Mr Nixon could help us. First by undertaking to write a full and frank account of 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.
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
I cannot believe that, if at this point Mr. Jaworski 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 I say, at this point, we need a gesture from Mr. Nixon
Woshmgton Star SyndicateLack of credentials bars way to big house
By Russell Baker
MOST OF THE debate about whether it is fitting to jail an ex President is so high-flown that one feels a bit timid about injecting some realism into it
It is with considerate diffidence, therefore, that I suggest that the whole debate is silly Those arguing for jail say no man can he beyond the law, while those against it say it would lie a terrible thing fur the country to lock up a man who has been President and, anyhow, his unscheduled departure from the White House is punishment enough
Nobody has yet asked the central question: Is locking the fellow up going to do any good?
In the case of Nixon, or any other ex-President, the answer seems clear It will not Therefore, prison ought to bo ruled out.
If we look at the American prison system, the overwhelming logic of this conclusion becomes manifest The American prison is primarily an educational institution We send young men to prison and they come out finished criminals, just as we send other young men to Yale and turn them into bankers,
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 insurance companies, keeping social workers occupied and supporting large government bureaucracies.
Offering the benefits of prison education to former Presidents, however, makes little sense To begin with, they wijl invariably be too old to profit from it and repay the country with the long career at crime necessary to amortize the high cost of prison education
Maybe the fall hurt him enough'
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When I las! saw the figures, the federal government was paying more to maintain a man iii prison per year (ban it would cost to send him to Harvard For an education as expensive as that, society is entitled to some assurance th.it lie ,s going to be able to repay Ins debt to its
prison-related i tutu striae The average cx-President will be in his late 5(>’s or, more probably, in his BO’s, before he even enters prison By the time he comes out, Ins useful criminal life vvill be negligible No insurance company in the land would bet against actuarial odds like those
A secondary purpose of prison is to provide storage space for poor people. In the criminal, legal and judicial classes, it is an established principle that the less wealth a felon has, the more time he must serve.
This has the incidental political value of holding down the unemployment statistics. but the main reason for it is that poor people, as all the data prove1, are far more likely to go into crime than the well-to-do and, therefore, far more likely to profit from the benefits of prison s criminal education.
Former Presidents will almost invariably 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 determine the candidate’s chances of succeeding. former Presidents would be se obviously doomed to failure that prisons would reject them w ithout the courtesy of an interview at the admitting office
Does it make the slightest sense for the country to spend more 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.
Nu man who has been President of thi' I’nited States could conceivably qualify for prison on these terms, since no matter how grave his offense we art' 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.
York. THTtC’S St’rwk e
A' a safety precaution during nighttime jumps, skydiving dub members wore flashing red arid blue lights One jumper parachuted to a lighted area he assumed to be his target, but which turned out to be a parking lot Realizing his mistake, he walked up to a woman who had witnessed the jump. His lights still/lashing, he asked where he was The woman harked away as she replied shakily. Earth!”Good news: Burns’ bad news heeded
By Rowland Evans and Robert Novak
ASHINEJTON — Dr Arthur Burns, relied on for economic advice by President Ford during his first week in office, in three confidential Oval Office chats, has painted a bleakly realistic picture not faintly resembling the soothing fantasies of administration pollyannas
Burns, independent of the administration as chairman of the F ederal Reserve Board, has minced no words with the new President 11“ warned that this country is moving toward financial collapse Mr. Ford can prevent calamity, he said. hut may have no more than fit) days in which to act
Such blunt talk breaks what one administration policymaker derisively calls “the good news syndrome” — high government officials disguising a worsening economic malaise with deceptively rosy statements to both the public and the President. Even with Richard M Nixon gone, the syndrome persists with budget director Roy Ash and, to a lesser extent, Treasury Secretary William Simon talking about sunlight.around tin' corner, some five or six months ahead
W itll his Cassandra prophecies unwelcome to a Watergate-obsessed President, Burns got nowhere near the Oval Office during Nixon s last year. It is then. highly significant and reassuring that Mr. Ford has given so much tune in
these crowded transition days to Burns’ bad news “The most positive thing to come out of Washington during the first week was the relationship betw('en F'ord and Burns,” one astute Wall Street observer told us.
Burns has long preached reduced federal spending and fervently supports Mr F’ord’s promise of a balanced budget as the essential anti-inflationary weapon Bu* he privately conceded last week th** difficulty in achieving the immediate $10 billion cut he has proposed Thus, Burns realizes that budget-cutting is riot enough and is pushing new economic proposals — many of them contradicting dogmatic administration officials
Proposals Burns would like Mr F’ord to embrace include business tax incentives to increase industrial capacity, fighting inflation by increasing supply and satisfying demand Those economic analysts who view Burns as an economic
stand patter with a bias against capital investment are simply unfamiliar with his current thinking
Beyond budget-cutting and tax incentives, Burns inclines toward schemes sure to 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 to practice the "old-time religion" — keeping hands off the economy and cutting the budget — while playing poiiyanna Moreover, besides drawing fire from the free enterprise dogmatists, it will be attacked by liberals and organized labor because of tax advantages for corporate business
Indeed, Mr Ford would have no ( hance to si'll such tax incentives to the heavily Democratic congress were it riot for expected help from a figure who was the hairshirt for the previous two Presidents: Hep Wilbur I) Mills of Arkansas, chairman of the house ways and means committee. Though his power and prestige have declined a bit, Mills remains the single most formidable ally or antagonist a President could have in congress.
Burns and Mills have slowly and quietly built a personal alliance, with
late afternoon meetings in Mills’ private retreat on the second floor of the Capitol I hey are in essential agreement on what must lie done Thus, if th** President accepts 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 to establish a close working relationship with Mills. When Mills last winter wanted to discreetly advise Nixon to file amended personal tax returns, he sought out the administration official he trusted most his old House colleague, Vicepresident F'ord
The now President and Mills have riot yet conferred personally, arid 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 Ford puts Mills in a very special category and will go out of his way to enlist him as an ally
The renewed eminence of wise men Burns and Mills is a sign of the sudden change in Washington Barred from the Oval Office by the Haldeman Ehrlich man coup in the spring of l%M. Burns was still being ignored as of Aug K Mills was not only ignored but until the end was the target of clandestine smears from the Nixon White House. That their wisdom and talent are tieing sought bv President F'ord is reason for hope despite the grim economic prognosis
Publisher* Mall Syndical*