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September 30, 1972 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1972-09-30

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Poge Ten


Saturday, September 30, 1972

A judicial conservative - that's
how most colleagues describe Dis-
trict Judge Sandorf Elden, author
of yesterday's ruling striking down
the city's liberal $. fine for pos-
session of marijuana.
"He's what you call a strict con-
structionist,", says one local lib-
eral attorney. "I've had cases with
him many times and I usually
differ, with him."
This description is not very much
different from Elden's self-apprai-
sal. Although he spurns the tag of

"strict constructionist" his judicial
philosophy is similar to those of
many who adopt the label.
"I do not like the judiciary to
get into the legislative field," he
says. "It is the function of the
legislature to promulgate (issue)
legislation, not the court.'
Yesterday'snmarijuana r u li n g
marks only one in a long list of
confrontations between Elden and
city liberals and radicals.
In 1967, he raised the ire of civil
libertarians as presiding judge in



the "Flaming Creatures" obscen- California State Supreme Court.1
ity case. Three years later, Elden pre-
The case involved an allegedly sided over a case involving stu-
obscene movie shown by Cinema !dents arrested in the LSA Bldg.t
Guild. bookstore sit-in. In a highly con-
Elden ruled that the film had no troversial ruling, Elden invalidated
redeeming value and that the de- a subpoena served on Gov. William
fendants in the case, members of Milliken, who was called as a de-
Cinema Guild, should stand trial fense witness.
in Circuit Court for obscenity. They Despite his record, Elden resists
subsequently pled guilty to lesser being labeled a conservative.
charges. "I don't consider myself a can-
servative, although many others
profile would," he says.l
'The law," he says, "must notl
be static. It must keep up with1
Elden, during his hearing, made changing times. I am not one to
a ruling that the film was admis- bury my head in the proverbial
sable evidence despite a brief by sand as some are wont to do. We
the American Civil Liberties Union have to look at today and the
which stated that the police seizure mores of today."
of the film was illegal. In that vein, Elden sees yester-
Elden, however, stated then that day's ruling not as a step against
"the question involves the power marijuana, but as a legal neces-
of the state to prevent crimes sity.!
which take place in the presence "I felt that I had to initiate the
of a police officer." The California action," Elden asserts. "because it
case on which he based his ruling was apparent that nobody else-
was subsequently overruled >y the would."

rvative ~~Daily Official Bulletin OEWE RMTNGT
The Daily Official Bulletin is an
ofci a ublication of the Univer- C e Ch & Chong and Ihe Persuasions
This fall, Elden is seeking a seat sity of Michigan. Notices should behT
on the Circuit Court bench--an- sent in TYF2wRITTEN FORM to OCT. 7 H I LL AU D.-8 p.m.
other step in the legal career 409 E. Jefferson, before 2 p.m. of
whic ha spanedovertwo the day preceding publication and
which has spanned over two by 2 p.m. Friday for Saturday and $2.00-$3.00-$3.50-$4.00
decades in the city. Sunday. Items appear once only.
Student organization notices are ::::::: .::".;,:::>;;>: :.,r,;..,....""
Elden began his law career here not accepte or publication. For
in private practice after gradurit- more information, phone 764-9270. "'''
ing from the Wayne State Univer-
sity Law School in 1950. ATULDAY, ETEBE3
He served as assistant city at- Football: Michigan vs. Tulane, Mich.
torney from 1956 to 1966 when he Stadium, 1:30 pm.
Music school: Contemporary Direc-
became a municipal judge. In 1969 tions, electronic music, Rackham Aud.,
when the new district court system B pm.
became operational he became a ORGANIZATION MEETINGS
DistictCout jdge-he osiion Committee to Aid Disabled Students,
D ct Cu judgeth poi i Oct. 3, 7:30 PM, Conference Room.
he holds today. Health Service.
WKSThe hottest comedy act in the country appears with
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i funky lamps, mirrors, items bizarre. TICKETS: MICH. UNION M-F 11-6 P.M., SALVATION RECORDS
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ANTIQUE VILLAGE-410 N. Fourth Ave. Vtreat in listening to the breathlessly extended vocals
AI. Aof The Persuasions.
769-1227 Sat.-Sun. 9-6 ROLLING STONE

'rnsRuling binsdisapproval
(Continued from Page i) -"Whether c i t y legislatures
should come from the state. could set minimum and maximum
A Republican colleague of Col- penalties; and
burn's, Fifth Ward Councilman -"Whether city legislatures can
Jack McCormick, was also disap- set a lower penalty than the state
pointed with the ruling - but for for conduct covered under both
reasons wholly-different f r o m state law and city ordinance."
thole expressed by Sinclair and De Councilman Robert Faber (D-
Grieck. Second Ward) used even stronger
McCormick said that the deci- language to describe his disap-
sion didn't go far enough. proval. "I am shocked and upset
"I feel the entire ordinance is over the court ruling," he said.
unconstitutional." You can't make "The elected officials should
a preferred spot for criminals here have a greater degree of effect in
to congregate," he said. speaking for the community," he
"Ann Arbor is a pot packet- said.
people can use is (pot) possess it, Faber said that "in most cases,.
and sell it here for five dollars." we (the council) set the limits (on
"If people do. it (smoke pot) pri- penalties), so why can't we set
vately," McCormick explained, "I more stringent ones."
don't care - that's their prob- He called the decision unusual
lem." in that it illustrated a rare "con-
He added, however, that because flict between city government and
pot smoking has become a "pub- a district court judge."
lic problem," the community is On campus, students informed
rightly concerned. of Elden's ruling registered both
Meanwhile, Mayor Robert Har- shock and disapproval. One stu-
ris said that he "was not happy dent's reaction - "It's horrible-
with decision". the ordinance was one of the main
Harris said that the important advantages of living in Ann Ar-
questions underlying Elden's de- bor" - seemed to typify the com-
cision were twofold: ments of Diag passers-by.
City pot penalty voided

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(Continued from Page 1)
"This court has not ruled on the
wisdom or propriety of the ordi-
nance," Elden wrote in his opinion.
"The question of constitutionality
has not been raised at this time
and thus no ruling is made there-
Elden went on to quote from a
ruling made by State Supreme'
Court Justice G. Mennen Williams
which stated:
"Our criminal statutes must be
uniformly enforced or they make
a mockery of the effective admin-
istration of criminal justice."
The quotation apparently indi-
cated that Elden considered Ann
Arbor's law to be out of step with,

and incompatible with, the laws
of the State of Michigan; and thus
Elden had previously tossed out
on a technicality another local
marijuana ordinance setting a
penalty of 90 days in jail and/or
a $100 fine after the city council
moved to lessen the penalties un-
der the then more severe state
law. The state law, which was
modified earlier this year, had
provided for imprisonment for up
to 20 years for possession of mari-



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---------- ..........


Drunk drivers
add color to
our highways.
Nothing adds color to our high-
ways like a car crash.
And drunk drivers are involved
in at least 800,000 crashes a year.
And drunk drivers are involved
in the killing of at least 25,000
people a year.
Highways don't have to be this
It's up to you.
Drunk drivers, problem drinkers
and abusive drinkers may be
sick and need your help.
But first we've got to get them
off the road.
For their sake and yours.
Do something. Get in touch



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