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Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 102 Ann Arbor, Michigan-Thursday, February 2, 1978 Ten Cents 12 Pages
By KEITH RICHBURG
The two and one-half year ordeal of
Filipina Narciso and Leonora Perez
ended yesterday when the U.S.
Attorney's office in Detroit an-
nounced all charges have been
dropped against the two Veteran's
The women were tried and con-
victed of poisoning patients at the
Ann Arbor Veteran's Administration
(VA) hospital during the summer of
1975. Federal Judge Philip Pratt,
who presided over the case from the
pretrial stage, threw out the convic-
tions last December, citing govern-
ment misconduct in prosecuting the
YESTERDAY, the prosecution de-
cided not to retry the VA case. In a
20-page memorandum, U.S. Attorney
James Robinson said it is unlikely
Narciso and Perez could be convicted
a second time.
"After giving careful consideration
to the many factors involved, the
United States Attorney has decided
he should seek a dismissal of the case
rather than proceed with a new
trial,"* the memorandum read.
,"ThehUnited States Attorney has
concluded that given the potential
problems inherent in the govern-
ment's case against the defendants, a
jury after a new trial would be more
likely to acquit them than to con-
ROBINSON in his memorandum
cited "public doubt and concern as to
the defendants' guilt" as major
factors involved in his decision.
Robinson's decision reached the
defense attorneys at exactly 1 p.m.
yesterday, according to attorney
Thomas O'Brien. Judge Pratt grant-
ed the prosecution motion to dismiss
charges by signing the order at 2:30.
Narciso and Perez, together with
their attorneys, held a 4 p.m. press
conference at the Michigan League
to discuss Robinson's decision, dur-
ing which they reiterated their faith
in the system of. justice and told
Carter asks for
WASHINGTON (AP) - President
Carter said last night he would not hesi-
tate to send U.S. troops to defend the
Panama Canal - 'And I have no doubt
that even in sustained combat we would
But during his "fireside chat," Carter
said the treaty to yield control of the
waterway to Panama in the year 2000
would diminish the risk of any need for
armed intervention to defend it.
URGING PUBLIC SUPPORT for
Senate ratification of the Panama
Canal treaty, Carter's firm pledge con-
fronted one of the major points raised
by opponents in the past in spelling out
American defense rights.
That opposition argument deals with
the situation after the year 2000 when
the canal would be under Panamanian
control when Carter, of course, would
not be president.
In a nationally broadcast and tele-
vised fireside chat, the second of his
year-old presidency, Carter said ap-
proval of the treaty is "in the highest
national interest of the United States
and will strengthen our position in the
HE SAID opposition to the treaty, due
to come up for debate in the Senate next
week, "is based on misunderstanding
The president said, "This is not a par-
tisan issue." He said ratification will
strengthen U.S. security interests, im-
prove trade opportunities, honor a
commitment to keep the canal open to
world commerce at a fair price and
"demonstrate that as a large and
powerful country we are able to deal
fairly and honorably with a proud but
smaller sovereign nation."
Much of Carter's talk was devoted to
posing questions often raised by treaty
critics and providing his own answers.
For example, he said, many Ameri-
cans argue, "We bought it, we paid for
it, it's ours."
His response was, "we do not own the
Panama Canal Zone - we have never
had sovereignty over it" but rather
have purchased the right to use it
through annual payments to Panama. -
Daily Photo by ALAN BILINSKY
Former Ann Arbor Veteran's Hospital nurses Filipina Narciso and Leonora Perez show their relief at a press
conference following news of their dropped charges.
reporters all they plan to do is take
"I THINK we should not have been
charged in the first place," Narciso
said. "This is a trauma for us. All
that we went through was really hard
for us to take."
Perez added, "My faith in the
American system of justice has been
Asked if they plan to return to
nursing work at the VA or elsewhere,
Perez replied, "We don't know yet."
"I JUST WANT to take a long
vacation," Perez said. "I want to sit
down with my 'husband and think
about life. I just want to get out of
Wayne and Washtenaw Counties.
We've been confined to those two
Both women ruled out returning to
their native Philippines permanent-
ly, but have not decided whether they
would seek United States citizenship.
"It will be a traumatic memory,"
Narciso said. "I don't want to think
DEFENSE ATTORNEY Thomas
O'Brien suggested the only reason
the women were ever charged was
because of pressure on the FBI to get
the case solved.
O'Brien also suggested. that dis-
crimination was a factor. "It may
have been accidental or coincidental
that the people who were charged
were not American citizens," he
said. "they were not white. They
were not male."
O'Brien said, "I feel these women
have been vindicated. I'm just sorry
for them that they were convicted in
the first instance."
THE NURSES were found guilty of
poisoning five patients during a rash
of unexplained breathing failures
during the summer of 1975. The
convictions came after a controver-
sial 10-week trial.
The judge threw out the verdicts
and ordered a new trial on a defense
motion. Judge Pratt said govern-
ment and prosecution misconduct
severely hampered the nurses' de-
fense. Prosecution misconduct, the
Judge said, "reduced a search for the
truth to a game of five-card stud
Robinson defended the attorney's
office in his memorandum. He said
the trial transcript showed no evi-
dence "the actions of the FBI, the
Veterans Administration personnel
or the prosecutors were taken in bad
faith or with malice or 'ill-will
towards the defendants.
"While errors of judgment oc-
curred," Robinson said, "Such er-
rors occur in nearly every trial."
Green fever rampant
before ' big game'
SOUTH AFRICAN HOLDINGS:
'U' pull out?
By RENE BECKER
Should the University divest itself of
all holdings it has in corporations oper-
ating in South Africa?
That question was confronted head on
last night by a panel of experts as part
of the University Forum on Corporate
Investment in South Africa.
OVER 100 PEOPLE including Univer-
sity President Robben Fleming came to
the Rackham Amphitheatre to hear
Timothy Smith, director of the Inter-
faith Center for Corporate Respon-
sibility (ICCR), Thomas Pond, director
of overseas public relations for General
Motors Corporation, International
Business Professor Gunter Dufey and
Political Science Professor Joel
Pond and Dufey took the position
against divestment while Smith and
Samoff argued basically for divestment
or some alternative positive action by
Smith, who spoke first, quoted the
recent Senate Foreign Relations Com-
mittee's report on U.S. corporate in-
vestment in South Africa which called
By ERNIE DUNBAR
Special to The Daily
EAST LANSING-The basketball still
bounces straight up when dribbled on
the court, the uniforms are the same
green and white outfits as last year and
the year before. The varsity games are
still played at the old Jenison Field
House, and, as usual, the team has five
There is one thing very different
about this year's Michigan State
basketball team, though. People are
packing themselves into the arena
because one lanky freshman player has
created an enthusiasm for Spartan
basketball greater than residents here
HIS NAME IS Earvin "Magic" John-
son, a 6'8" forward, and he's turned
this Michigan State team about-face.
From a seven win, 11 loss record and
sixth place rank in the Big Ten con-
ference last year, the team, with John-
son's help, has chalked up a seven win,
one loss conference mark. The team is
ranked fifth in the Associated Press poll
and seventh by United Press Inter-
Now, on the eve of the annual
Michigan-Michigan State contest,
"Earvin fever" is contagious here.
"The minute he signed there was 100
per cent more enthusiasm," said Bruce
Temby, a junior advertising major.
WHEN ASKED WHO would win the
match, Temby didn't hesitate to
speculate. "It's got to be State. It's hard.
to beat State here in Jenison with the
The gym is packed. Like many other
students here, Temby was unable to get
season tickets for Spartan games. He
said he relies on sophomore guard
Terry Donnelly for his tickets.
Temby was one of a crowd of fans
watching coach.Jud Heathcote run the
players through the last workout before
the big game. Among the spectators
was a group of local junior high school
students cheering the moves of
"Magic" and his teammates.
"I THINK MSU will win because they
want to taste their first victory against
Michigan in a long time," laughed 11-
year-old Jack Carruthers.
Although most fans apparently are
pleased with the Spartans' national
ranking, Uduma Ezera, an eighth
grader, said he thinks the team should
be ranked higher. "I think we're Num-
ber One in the nation," Ezera said.
"Earvin and Jay Vincent are the key,
though. We wouldn't even be ranked
Most Spartan fans credit Johnson
alone with the obvious extra en-
See SPIRIT, Page 7
By MARK PARRENT
The Michigan Student Assembly
(MSA) president and vice president
may be directly elected by students if
a proposed. amendment to the All-
Campus Constitution is approved by
students in a special February 22
The president and vice president
are currently elected by MSA Mem-
The proposed amendment was
added to the ballot by MSA at its
Tuesday night meeting. Tuesday was
the deadline for any additions to the
Two-thirds of the students voting
must approve the change if it is to
become part of the MSA constitution.
Another proposed amendment, ap-
proved for the ballot earlier by MSA,
would change the composition of the
assembly. Presently, some represen-
tatives are elected campus-wide
while others are appointed by school
and college student governments.
This structure was ruled unconsti-
tutional by Central Student Judi-
ciary. The proposed structure calls
for representatives to be elected by
students of each school and college.
The number of representatives would
depend on the school's enrollment.
the U.S. performance there
ACCORDING TO Smith, Senator
Dick Clark (D-Iowa), chairman of the
subcommittee on Africa, has said
"'that the time has come to discourage
U.S. corporate investment in South
Smith said loans from American
banks such as Citibank and Continental
Illinois (both of which hold University
money) help build the South African
military which is used to contain the
mounting insurrection there by the
He referred to IBM, of which the
University is a stockholder, saying its
computers "are being used to facilitate
continuelwhite minority rule." He said
these computers were used by the
police and military to enforce apar-
POND SAID in his ten minute presen-
tation General Motors' presence in
South Africa "was the basis for con-
tribution to constructive change."
He listed a number of contributions
See SOUTH, Page 5
Buffa seeks limits on
Hopefuls facre off
in Third Ward race:.
By BRIAN BLANCHARD Sheldon nor Democrat Patrick Mit-
and JUDY RAKOWSKY chell-contending for the spot left by
A Republican vice-president and retiring Republican Roger Ber-
an atnrr -;,, n li - -,, -. toia-has staked out clear stands on _
By KEITH RICHBURG
Combining the anti-big business
theme of Mo Udall with the "less
crc. aM o r-I .n
"THEY'RE CONTROLLING our
lives," said Buffa. "For example, the
energy policy we have now is being
. 4 . - ... . . .. w L W-.-I - _