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March 02, 1972 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1972-03-02

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4/eNO Reenhoff

siir Lit$&n anth
Eightyone years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Court reform demands law reform


420 Mayngrd St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

1 -1 1

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
ur the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



Busing and chuidren

THE RECENT flurry of hasty Senate
actions on busing school children to
achieve racial balance only points up the
tragedy of using children as political
Myriad amendments aimed at appeas-
ing various camps have appeared recent-
ly, as congressional elections near, and
it becomes increasingly clear that politics
is given greater weight than education.
There are forceful arguments on both
sides of the busing issue. Opponents of
busing maintain that children should at-
tend school in their local neighborhoods.
Left-oriented persons feel the com-
munity should have certain influence -
which could be lost with busing - on its
schools. Right-oriented persons often use
this same argument to mask their seg-
regationist attitudes.
After all, they say, we worked hard to
afford to live in this neighborhood with
its good schools; why shouldn't our chil-
dren be able to walk to a nice school in
a nice neighborhood? These are the same
persons, who, in response to court-ordered
busing, are overcrowding private schools,
and sending their children there by bus.
,Arid, at the same time, those who fa-
vor busing call it the only feasible way to
avoid school segregation, for now.

MEANWHILE, senators under pressure
from their constituents at home bat
the issue back and forth. If busing is or-
dered and then overturned by Congress,
only the children - who may have to
change schools abruptly and more often
than usual - will suffer.
Indeed, were senators really anxious to
alleviate the racial imbalance in public
education while improving the overall
educational system, they would work to-
ward changing the regressive property
tax structure of school financing.
For, if school systems were funded on
an equalized basis, parents would have
less cause to complain about the loca-
tion of their child's school.
'What really matters, more than the
smokescreen busing creates, is the in-
equality that sends some children to
schools with higher budgets, fancier
equipment and better teachers than oth-
THE IMPORTANT consideration, then,
should be equalizing educational op-
portunities for all children, and not head-
ing toward next November's election cam-
paigns with an appeal to prejudice and.

THE BACKLOG of cases facing
our nation's courts has -each-
ed critical proportions. To t h e
thousands of persons who are
spending months in jail awaiting
trial, the constitutional guarantee
of a "speedy" trial is nothing
more than a myth from an o1d
school textbook.
Quite simply, our courts are
overcrowded, underfinanced and
bogged down in an antiqnated
bureaucracy that makes it im-
possible for them to adequatejy
cope with the great number of
cases they are asked to review.
And Washtenaw County is no
exception. Currently, about 110
of the 125 prisoners in the jail
have been convicted of no crime
-they are simply waiting for their
trial date because they are too
poor to meet bail.
Indeed, the Circuit Court has a
backlog of over 3,000 cases, and
that number is growing every year.
The result has been a major in-
crease in "plea-copping," in which
the accused - who is often inno-
cent - pleads guilty to a lesser
crime without having a trial.
Judges and lawyers encourage
plea copping as it relieves t h e
strain on the courts, while many
defendants view it as the only al-
ternative to spending months in
jail awaiting their trial date.
BUT'WHILE local judges and
lawyers shrug their shoulders, they
might look at an exceptional case
of court reform in New Ynrik. The res
The Criminal Court of New York and les
City - one of the most chaotic persons.
and widely-criticized court sys- The i
tems in the country - announced been ac
this week it has made major pro- amns
gress inereforming and streamn- administi
ing its operation. than th
In the space of one year, the funds thl
court has cut its backlog of pend- be nece
ing cases by 63 per cent and has In fa
cut the average time required to grant p
dispose of an arrest case from nine court s
weeks to four and one-half weeks. financed
SHIRLEY ST. Hill Chisholm, the dent."
first black Congresswoman Shirle
and now a presidential candidate, 30, 1924
admits she is "the darkest horse a B.A.
in the race, both literally and fig- College,
uratively." lumbia.
But dark horse or not, Chis- A for
holm has attracted a large coali- er, day
tion of women, blacks, P u e r t o educatic
Ricans, and others "disgruntled York D
minorities" to her support. ies, sh
She has been described as "pep- State A
pery," fearless," and "outspok- While
en." "Fighting Shirley" remarked bill whi
to her opponents on entering the underH
campaign that "other kinds of Puerto
people can steer the ship of state high sc
besides white men." city co
But on other occasions Chisholm strumen
has appeared less confident of her- day-car
self, even to the point of succumb- In 196
ing to defeatism. For example, Congres
last week she told her aides after by defe
a particularly exhausting day of Farmer
campaigning that she was "tired" of theC
of politics and ready to quit af- ity (CO
ter one more term in Congress. Althou
Another time she remarked, "I general
never said I was in politics f o r is over
life, and I have nothing to lose was at
in speaking out against the wrongs because
in the system." . "white
push F
BECAUSE OF statements like
these, critics have questioned Chis- THE
holm's motivation in running for was un
President. They insist she is more Congre
interested in drawing attention to approac
her causes than in winning the said he]
top office. But Chisholm says she sponsor

BUT FAR BEYONb the simJe
reform of courtroom procedures.,
the American judicial system will
continue plodding along at a piti-
ful rate until action is taken to
avoid unnecessary trials.
Two progressive measures, which
many states, including Michigan,
are considering enacting are the
so-called "no fault" insurance and
divorce bills.
The insurance plan would re-
quire auto insurance companies to
pay for automobile damages on
their clients' cars even if their
client was at fault. Thus, insur-
ance companies would not con-
stantly be using the courts to de-
termine fault in automobile acci-
The no-fault divorce would allow
couples to obtain quick divorces
without the need for lengthy trials
to determine which partner was
at fault for the break-up. This
too, would save a great deal of
time and money for the court sys-
Other possibilities in this area
include transfering prosecution of
motor vehicle violations from the
courts to local governmental agen-
cies and removing criminal penal-
ties from drug and alcohol use,
gambling and all sex acts between
consenting partners.
In addition the judicial system
would better serve the interests
of all concerned if citizens could
probate uncontested wills and man-
age real estate transactions wth-
out the representation of lawyers.
WHAT IS necessary then, is iot
simply a refurbishing of c o ur t
procedure, but a political move-
ment to end the law profession's
control of the legal process, while
simultaneously offering a new de-
finition of what is a. criminal acct
If this is not done, we'can expect
little better than a future of con-
tinued injustices in our nation's

1 0

-Daily-Jim Judkis

Awaiting trialin Wa shtenaw County Jail

ult is quicker processing
s jail terms for innocent
rprovement in services has
complished mainly through
trative changes rathr
rough a major influx of new
hat many judges felt would
ssary to spur progress,
ct, although a federal
aid for some new night
essions, the regular city-

only increased by three per cent
over the previous year.
Cne major factor in the in-
provement is that the sy tem's
97 judges now spend an aver,.e
daily time en the bench of 5.25
hours - more than double t h e
bench time of previous years. Oth-
er changes range from a system
of sanctions for missing court
appearances to the constrlicticn of
collapsable jury boxes that trans-

While some might argue that
conducting court in converted
clerks' offices and 'judges' robing
rooms is below the dignity of the
American judicial system. it
seems a small sacrifice to make to
speed the court processes. Cer-
tainly, to the acused, being tried
in a makeshift courtroom with ex-
posed pipes and peeling paint is
preferable to spending an extra



d budget of the court was form any room into a couru-corn. six months in jail,
'Dark horse' o th

e campaign.

to become the next Presi-
y Chisholm was born Nov.
. in Brooklyn. She earned
cum laude at Brooklyn
and a master's at Co-
mer nursery school teach-
care center director, and
onal consultant for the New
epartment of Social Serv-
e served in the New York
ssembly from 1964-1968.
in Albany, she sponsored a
ich established a program
which talented black and
Rican students without
hool diplomas may enter
Ileges. She was also in-
ntal in establishing public
e centers.
8, she won New York's 13th
ional district House seat
ating Republican J a m e s
, former national director
Congress of Racial Equal-
ugh she easily won the
election in a district which
whelmingly Democratic, she
first rated an underdog
, according to her, the
liberal bosses" tried to
armer on the community.
WAY Chisholm tells it, she
decided about running for
ss until a welfare mother
hed her with $9.62 that she
r friends had raised to help
a campaign. Chisholm lat-

paign trial.
She said recently that her aim
was to. gain strength with Demo-
cratic leaders, and hopefully per-
suade them to agree to a black
vice-presidential candidate or a
strong civil rights plank in the
party platform.
She also said last week that she
would be interested in a cabinet
position as Secretary of the De-
partment of Health, Education,
and Welfare, if not elected.
Chisholm's Congressional record
reveals an active interest in! civil
rights. She set up a study of dis-
crimination in veterans' organiza-
tions. She helped establish the
National Women's =Political Cau-
cus. She opposed the preventive
detention section of the District of
Columbia crime bill, and is work-
ing for the repeal of the emer-
gency detention section of the
1950 Internal Security Act.
She believes this provision, in-
tended to jail spies and saboteurs
without trial during a national
emergency, is not in the interest
of blacks. Although it has never
been used she believes the "mere
presence of the bill on the books
is an offense to Americans of col-
or." She compares the arrests of
Black Panthers to those of Japan-
ese-Americans in 1942. Their color
makes them easier to "round up,"
she says.
rad, quit his job as an investigt-
or for the New York Departnient
of Social Services to be his wife's
political advisor. He has his lights
set on becoming the nation's first
"first gentleman".

-baily-Jim Judkis

slupersrip lon

Campus activism: Rest in War

by lynn weiner


AS I PASSED the Student Activities
Building Tuesday night, I thought
I'd stroll up to the second floor and
listen to a mass meeting which had been
called on the issue of classified research.
After all, I remembered, the Regents
had just last week overturned the man-
date from both the faculty and the
students in their rejection of a proposal
to limit such war-related and classified
research on campus.
It was a pseudo-spring February night
-balmy, pleasant. Weather wouldn't
keep people away.
Walking up the stairs, I envisioned the
huge meetings on ROTC of just 24
months ago, when hundreds jammed the
same room I was about to enter. Even
for the Laos invasion last winter, stu-
dents turned out in numbers to voice
their protest.
In a school of some 40,000 students,
"committed" faculty, and involved com-
munity, you would figure a good num-
ber would turn out now. Not as many
as in '68, but still a good number.
There were no major sports or arts
v r.i+wh chn , i lr .an nnniP a u

forced into changing their decisions, af-
ter all, on both the bookstore issue and
the Black Action Movement issue.
As I entered the room, there was a
slight pause in 'the discussion.
IT WAS ONLY polite. I knew every-
All three of them.
Jim, politically active during the
most turbulent days here. Bill, a stu-
dent government person, and Howie,
a Daily reporter, acknowledged my pre-
sence. Some minutes later, walking
through the Union; I would see two
more people on their way to the meeting
-one professor active in the recent
Senate Assembly proposals, and Dave a
graduate student long active in anti-
war activities here.
That was all.
Perhaps there's not much to say. Peo-
ple were elsewhere, studying, maybe, or
focusing on their own lives, excluding
politics. Smoking dope. Maybe drown-
in the apathy that now cloaks this
ha twn mainr a ,,,na,,'ntc mci

er said "it was that kind of help
that contributed to my upset vic-
tory in the primary."
A strong women's liberation ad-
vocate, Chisholm believes her sex
is a greater political handicap than
her color.
Her feminist views are strong
enough that black leaders question
whether she's running as a wo-
men's candidate or a black candi-
date. Chisholm says neither, that
she is everybody's candidate.
She put black leaders on the
spot in announcing her candidacy.
Having set their goal at gaining
the most black influence possible
in the election, they were uncer-
tain as to whether supporting a
black candidate would be the best
method. Among other possibilities
considered were working toward
more black delegates on local slat-
es, and supporting black favorite
Though many would have pre-
ferred a male candidate like form-
er Cleveland mayor Carl Stokes,
Chisholm left the black caucus lit-
tle choice. As r-Jesse Jackson put
it, "We couldn't be in a position
of saying we're against a black
O N E BLACK Congressman,
afraid that Chisholm shook up
chances for a united black strat-
egy whehf she threw her hat in
the ring, said "she's a disruptive
woman. What business did she
have to do that?"
Chisholm is, nonetheless, opti-
mistic 'about her chances. She
hopes to post a strong showing in
primary states with a sizable
black population and a strong wo-
men's movement.
She also feels the male candi-

date could not be elected at this
Chisholm refuses to accept a
position as running mate and de-
nies the possibility of a third par-
ty. "It implies pessimism," she
declares, "and Shirley Chisholm is
not pessimistic!"
HOWEVER, THERE have been
indications that Chisholm has oth-
er goals in mind than winning the
top office as she punches the cam-

Letters to
Beakes bypass
To The Daily:
THE ARTICLE concerning the
Packard-Beakes bypass (Daily,.
Feb. 23), was informative but quite
sketchy in putting a perspective on
the issue. The bypass bond issue
on the April ballot should be re-
jected by the voters even though
that action will not solve the
problem of traffic loads in the
North Central area' It should be
rejected because of the damage
that will be done in the long run
to a low-income residential area -
an area that the Model Cities pro-
gram is working to preserve.
Packard-Beakes was originally
proposed, 10 years ago, as the link
among a series of penetrator roads
aimed at the downtown. None of
the penetrators has been approved
or funded. In fact, the entire sys-
tem is questionable.
Specifically. Fuller Road as a
major highway from the east is
unacceptable. The recent Planning
Department proposal for an alter-
native road network system in lieu
of the Fuller super-highway is a

The Dail
the automobile and that it will
take years to find our way out of
? system whose side-effects have
caught up with us, we should first
review the entire thoroughfare
plan and see how much we can
forget about.

Meanwhile, we should leave
3eakes alone on the grounds that
benign neglect of the roads is the
best policy to preserve what we
can of the North Central area.
This is not to neglect the Central
3usiness District (CBD) since a
)ypass will not provide salvation
for the downtown anyway.
Beakes Street has been, is, and
will be the- only direct route to
the CBD from the Northeast - an
area of rapid growth. That is 4
problem which must be faced. But
promoting more traffic will cer-
tainly harm the North Central
area and I hope the bypass will be
voted down on April 3.
-John Kirscht
First Ward Councilman
Feb. 25


In the old days..


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