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January 19, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Ehe $Richgan a IRy
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigon Doily express the individual opinions of stoff writers
or the editors. This mtst be noted in oil reprints.




(Reprinted with permission from the
Detroit Free Press)
has a chance this month to
clarify the muddled laws govern-
ing wiretapping by federal opera-
The issue could lead to possible
dismissal of the case against three
members of the White Panther
Party accused of bombing an of-
fice of the Central Intelligence
Agency in Ann Arbor in 1968.
U.S. District Judge Damon J.
Keith is presiding over the c a s e
against Panthers John A. Sinclair,
Lawrence R. (Pun) Plamondon
and John W. (Jack) Forrest. The
government has admitted wiretap-
ping conversations involving Pla-
The trial is scheduled to begin
Jan. 26 in Keith's high-ceilinged,
gold-curtained courtroom on t h e
seventh floor of the Federal Build-
Sometime before then, however,
Keith must. decide if the defense
has the right to look at the logs
of the wiretaps involving Plamon-
don. 25, the White Panthers' min-
iste~r of defense.'
The U.S. Supreme C o u r t has
never ruled on the exact question
involved in the Plamondon wire-
taps. Lower court decisions on the
questions have been contradictory,
so Keith could conceivably r u 1e
either way.
HERE IS A rundown on the is-
sue involved:
The wiretaps involving Plamon-
don were placed at the order of
U.S. Attorney General J o h n N.
Mitchell. Mitchell did not ask the
permission of any judge before
placing the taps.
In order for the wiretaps to be
legal and the resulting evidence
admissible in court, a judge's per-
mission is normally necessary. The
government routinely obtains a
judge's permission before placing
wiretaps - in cases involving the
Mafia, for example.
Since 1940, however, as a result
of a decision by President Frank-
lin D. Roosevelt that has n e v e r
been contradicted, the govern-
ment has had the right to wiretap
at will in cases involving foreign
espionae. It goes ahead in such
cases without securing a court or-
der beforehand.
Since Mitchell and the N i x o n

HERE IS the position of the de-
fense in the White Panther case.
as outlined before Keith I a s t
week by New York attorney Wil-
liam Kunstler:
* Domestic wiretaps are illegal
without a court order.
9 The defense should be al-
lowed to see the logs of the wire-
taps. Since the taps are illegal the
case against Plamondon should be
thrown out if any information
gathered by the wiretaps was used
to indict him.
Here is the position of the pro-
secution, as outlined by Assistant
U.S. District Attorneys John H.
Hausner and J. Kenneth Lowrie:
" The taps involving Plamon-
don were legal because they were
necessary, according to Mitchell, to
protect national security.
0 Mitchell's affidavit said that
divulging details of the wiretaps
would "prejudice the national in-
terest." So no one should look at
them except Judge Keith, who
must, rule on their legality.
* No information gathered in
wiretaps was used to i n d i c t
Plamondon. nor will any of it be
used to prosecute him. So the taps
are irrelevant to the case.
IN ARGUMENTS la s t week
Kunstler told Keith: "The attorn-
cy general is asking for carte
blanche to violate the Fourth
Amendment to the Constitution."
The Fourt Amendment forbids il-
legal search and seizure.
For the government, Hausner
asked Keith to use "judicial re-
straint . . . not to interfere with
the President's right to g u a r d
safety and liberty." He said it was
illogical to allow the government
less leeway in domestic security
cases than in foreign ones.
Mitchell's affidavit, as well as
the comments of government pro-
secutors in Detroit, indicate that,
the government is unlikely to dis-
close the wiretap logs to the de-
fense no matter how Keith rules.
If Keith rules that the defense
must be allowed to see the taps,
the government seems inclined
toward dropping the case rather
than divulge them.
When, where and how Plamon-
don was wiretapped is still un-
clear. Mitchell's affidavit s a y ,
only that "the defendant Plamon-
don has participated in conversa-
tions which were overheard by

laws contested



A case
government agents monitoring
wiretaps . .." -
es the possibility that Plamondon
himself was not deliberately wire-
tapped by the government, but
only overhead when he called some
other phone that was tapped.
Plamondon's wife, Genie said
last week that she and her hus-
band has no idea when or where
the tapping occured. But she said
the phone at White Panther Par-
ty headquarters in Ann Arbor of-
ten behaved strangely.
Sometimes she said she would
pick up the phone and hear no
dial tone, but she would be able
to hear noises from every other

John Sinclair

Ginsberg speaks for Panthers

-Daily-Tom Gottlieb

The CIA tri~al and the jury

administration came into office in
1969, Mitchell has attempted to
broaden his authority by wire-
tapping in domestic security cases
without a court order.
Attorneys for both sides are pro-
ceeding on the premise that the
Ann Arbor-based White Panthers
rre purely a domestic operation. No
one has contended that they are
financed or controlled by -any
foreign power, such as Russia or
In a memorandum to Judge
Keith dated Dec. 14, Mitchell ad-
mitted that Plamondon was tap-
ped as part of an effort "to gath-
er intelligence information deem-

ed necessary to protect the nation
from attempts of domestic organ-
izations to attack and subvert the
existing structure of government."
Keith must decide if that is
sufficient ground to justify tap-
ping without a court order.
Defense attorneys have cited a
case in California in which a fed-
eral district judge threw out
charges against a Black Panther
because he was wiretapped with-
out a court order. Federal pro-
secutors have cited other cases, in-
cluding ones in Chicago and in
Kansas, where district judges have
upheld the government on t h i s

room in the house that had a
phone. ,
Plamondon, Sinclair and F o r-
rest are accused of conspiring to
bomb the Ann Arbor CIA office
on Sept. 29, 1968. Plamondon is
additionally accused of perform-
ing the actual bombing.
Only Plamondon was wiretapped,
the government says.
No matter how the trial turns
out, Judge Keith seems assured of
at least a footnote in legal his-
tory. When the domestic wiretap-
ping issue eventually reaches the
U.S. Supreme court, as it seems
certainto do, his ruling in the
White Panther case will be one of 4
the precedents.

E CIA bombing conspiracy trial has
raised some interesting questions
about what the composition of a jury
should be.
The case involves Ann Arbor W h i t e
Panther leaders John Sinclair, Pun Pla-
mondon and Jack Waterhouse Forest,
charged with conspiracy to bomb the Ann
Arbor CIA office. Plamondon is a 150
charged with the actual bombing of the
CIA office in September, 1968.
The defense claims that the jury is ser-
iously under-represented in its inclusion
of persons in the 18 to 29 age bracket. It
maintains that the jury - since it is try-
ing young people - should more ade-
quately reflect them because they con-
stitute a class of people whose problems
and ideals are, in certain ways, peculiar
to the group. Thus, the young are its fair-
est judges.
One must question first whether, the
young do constitute a class, a homo-
genous entity. In fact, there are nearly
as many differences among the young
as among the old. There are Republican
jocks, revolutionary freaks, sons and
daughters of the superrich, destitute
blacks; affluent students, poor immi-
grants. There are teenyboppers and grad-
uate students in philosophy; hitchhik-
ing troubadours, young married couples;
hippies, well-to-do stockbrokers; fans of
Muskie, followers of Che, readers of Ker-
ouac, loyalists to Buckley - all u n d e r
THIS IS SIMPLY to say that inclusion
of persons from the "young" age
bracket is not a sure means of granting
a fair trial to the defendants. What is
to be hoped for is a jury which will con-
sider the issue in a rational, impartial
manner, without permitting a strong bias
against the defendants' life-style to in-
fluence it. The jurors could come with a
wide variety of economic and social per-
spectives, with a host of differing poli-

tical views - as long as they are clear-
headed in their approach to the issues.
This is the ideal situation, but unfor-
tunately, many jurors (both old a n d
young) may have strongly built-up pre-
judices against the defendants' life-style
which could cloud their consideration of
the case. Thus: the requests for young-
er jurors, made in the hopethat younger
persons ma~y consider the case more fairly
since they are freer from the emotional
sorts of resentment against the defend-
Given the diversity among the young,
it is not inherently true that all young
people are automatically the best quali-
fied, to sit on this jury. But it is more
likely for a young person to have the edu-
cational background which would pro-
vide the tolerance so necessary in this
controversial case.
Of course this means primarily select-
ing persons from a relatively affluent
background, since they are the ones who
could afford to attain this education.
The older jurists will probably be middle-
class too, since, unlike poorer people, they
can afford to take time off from their
j obs.
THUS, JURIES are composed of persons
from a particular economic back-
ground, with views by and large discrim-
inatory against persons, like the White
Panthers, who oppose the economic or-
der. Attempts to offset this situation are
bound to be arbitrary. It is simply easier
to choose persons on the basis of their
youth hoping their education will provide
a measure of tolerance, than to choose
people directly on their educational level
-even if the latter is a more honest ap-
It should be realized, however, that the
seeking out of younger jurors is not a
panacea for obtaining a fair judgment.
It simply makes it a little more likely.

,...:,: XX" JAMES WE('A'HSLERW,"".-%.*V,.=.=

Decaying servicesimperil communitn
GRADUALLY a suspicion deepens: are we really living tition. But who can do anything about Western Union
in the second half of the 20th century or have we now?
slowly regressed to an earlier time? This is not about For a while the telephone was the secret weapon;'it
man's stubborn folly in great world affairs; it is about' is hardly necessary to elaborate further on the collapse of
the disintegration of all the services once associated with that vulnerable device.
our emergence from the maligned age of the horse-and- "Don't write, telegraph" was an early commentary on
buggy. the fallibility of the mails. "Don't telegraph, telephone,'
An associate tells of writing a letter on a Tuesday that was a subseque battle-cry. What does one do now
required delivery by Thursday. She took it to a post of- Where did everything go wrong?
fice near her home in Queens at 8:30 Tuesday evening;Ti
the astpicup as oficall at10.THERE ARE CERTAIN furtive compensations in thi
telephonic disarray; one never knows exactly what may
The letter arrived at its Brooklyn destination Satur- happen when innocently using the instrument. The other
day morning. day I dialed a number and suddenly found myself listen-
Each time someone recites such a story there is an- ing in an a dramatic farewell address from a man ex-
other victim with a more bizarre experience to recite. plaining to a woman why he would be unable to continue
And there are mysterious twists. On a recent Friday their apparently illicit romance. A sense .of propriety
morning copies of the same letter went out from my of- should have obliged me to hang up at once, but I assurec
f ice to a Manhattan and a Washington, D.C. address. It myself that the click might be more distressing than my
reached Washington (not via air mail) the following continuing eavesdropping; it might have invited the an-
Monday; it was delivered to the Manhattan-recipient xiety that their line was tapped.
Tuesday - about 96 hours after departure time. What discourse will one inadvertently encounter nex
But do not entertain a false image of intercity trans- in this scrambled system? A thoughtful dialogue between
mission; it can also take four or five days to get through J. Edgar Hoover and Martha Mitchell?
to Washington, and vice versa.
CLARIFICATION DEPT.: It is dangerous to f oo :
ONCE UPON A TIME the telegram was considered a around with the printed word, as I should have learne
sure if luxurious device for speeding messages, but that long ago. Recently there appeared here a series of imag
was another era. A friend who resides in Washington inary projections about new health hazards to be un
and recently celebrated a birthday told me that he had folded in the year 1971; among other items included ir
been rebuked by two relatives for failing to acknowledge the fantasy was the suggestion that President Nixon'
their congratulatory wires. The trouble was they never favorite dish - cottage cheese - might be exposed as ar
arrived. ulcer-producer.
There was a more joyous time when an institution Numerous readers have called yes, their calls go
known as Postal Telegraph actually competed with West- through) to ask whether I was hinting that I had somf
ern Union for our patronage. On political campaign inside information about a forthcoming revelation abou
trains the rivalry for the business of the traveling journ- F cottage-cheese. The unequivocal answer is no. It is truf
alists was sometimes fierce and always stimulating; even that I never touch the stuff, but that is purely a matte
ordinary citizens must have benefited from the compe- of taste.






Letters to The Daily

1kJ w N HOVle$.

AtJOTh~f MAt&-AML2
akV'iT45.2 MAti.



Course Mart
To the iuaily:
has been a new course-mart course
known as College Course 327,
"Analysis and Strategies in Po-
licital Action". Whether credit will
be given for this novel course is
presently in dispute.
Being attracted by "Political
Action's" leaflet, I attended the
organizational meeting on Janu-
ary 12, and was quite surprised at
what I saw. Whatever the reasons
may be that the University has for
questioning this course, I have a
few of my own that I ;eel are suf-

political actions which will pre-
sumably be performed by the, stu-
dents. Course discussion in sec-
tions of various topics would be
based upon planning and discus-
sing these actions. What the ac-
tions would be, or the guidelines
within which they would be taken
was not stated by the professor,
and the course's "legal advisor", a
law student, stated that as fas as
he is concerned, anything goes.
Though I doubt that that state-
ment was serious, I contend that
the tone involved in it and other
statements shows a lack of aca-
demic responsibility.
The speeches by the individual
teaching fellows regarding their

showed a general lack of organiz-
ation of the type necessary for any
course, and the references made to
the dispute of which I am discus-
sing tended to present the Univer-
sity in a generally negative light.
I submit that the basic tone andy
objectives of "Political Action"
are inconsistent with academic
principles, and are even inconsist-
ent with academic freedom as evi-
denced by the sometimes political
appeal of the staff members. Col-
lege Course 327 merits a careful
review by the University before it 4
is granted normal course status.
-Martin Newman
'73 LSA

FHa*J 6



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