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December 03, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-12-03

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

94eArigan B4ail
Eighty-Six Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104


George Jackson's death re-examined

Wednesday, December 3, 1975

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
S-i rally set for Saturday

dents and local residgnts who
claim to have a stake in the preser-
vation of civil liberties in the U.S.
to attend next Saturday's Kennedy
Square demonstration protesting the
S-1 bill.
S-1 is one of the more repressive
NEWS: Gordon Atcheson, Stephen
Hersh, Lois Josimovich, Jim Nicoll,
Stephen Selbst.
EDITORIAL PAGE: Paul Haskins, Lin-
da Kloote, Jon Pansius.
ARTS PAGE: Jeff Sorensen.

legislative packages to come down
the pike in years. Not only would
it reinstate the death penalty for
certain crimes, it also would take
steps to limit citizens' rights of
speech, assembly, and the press (See
"Letters" below).
In addition, it would protect pub-
lic officials from prosecution if they
can attribute their misdeeds to loy-
alty or obedience to a higher au-
The anti-S-1 rally, featuring Mary-
ann Mahaffey of the Detroit Com-
mon Council and Tom Turner of the
AFL-CIO will start at 1 p.m. Sat-
urday afternoon.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Nov. 30
(PNS) - When George Jackson
was shot and killed in 1971 for
trying to escape from San Quen-
tin prison, he was the undisput-
ed leader of a growing prison
movement and widely hailed as
Malcolm X's successor.
Now four years later, as one
after another U.S. government
inspired assassination p l o t
against political leaders comes
to light, the official version of
Jackson's death is slowly crumb-
The scene is a little noted,
long-drawn trial in California
which grew out of the events
surrounding the Jackson shoot-
Their sworn testimony has de-
monstrated that Jackson w a s
probably not killed by either of
the two prison guards w h o
claim to have shot him. This has
led in turn to a major reversal
in the official version of his
As in the Kennedy assassina-
tions, the evidence challenging
that version has come f r o m
mounds of conflicting testimony,
including findings from forensic
pathologists about the path of
bullets through bodies, the lo-
cation of their fragments, the
position of the people firing
WHAT IS unique about t n e
Jackson case is that until now
the public has never had access
to that evidence because t h e
shooting itself took place byehind
prison walls, where no disiater-
ested citizen could see, and
where all evidence remaihed it)
the hands of prison offkwials or
state agents, protected by a
judge's gag rule forbidding its
release. Now, like the Water-
gate tapes, the official version
and the evidence on which it is
based have been drawn into the
courtroom where they are facing
a head-on challenge.
The central figures in t h e

courtroom are the six defend-
ants (called the San Quentin
Six), accused by the prosecution
of plotting Jackson's escape and
thereby directly or indirectly
killing three guards and two oth-
er inmates.
But from the start, the court-
room drama has been dominat-
ed by the spectre of the d e a d
Jackson, as the defense wove
its legal strategy around the
contention that law enforcement
agents themselves had plotted

credibility as witnesses.
From that point on, the de-
fense has sought in extensive
and detailed cross examiatalions
to expose what it sees as the
major contradictions in t h e
state's version, centered upon
the two bullets allegedly fircd
at Jackson, one fatal and t h e
other non-fatal.
It is the fatal bullet that, from
the very beginning, has aggra-
vated suspicions that Jackson,
rather than being gunned down
while trying to escape, was ac-
tually assassinated.

"It is the fatalI
that, from the ve



vated suspicions
Jackson, rather.
being gunned
while trying to es

was actually




NYC Moratorium Act sets
double-jeopardy custom

THE PARTIAL New York City d e b t
moratorium passed by the state legis-
lature on November 15th was supported by
'both socialist organizers and banking inter-
ests. Socialists, who argue that a broadly
based moratorium was necessary to main-
tain the standard of living for the majority
of city residents, viewed the limited meas-
ure as a major international precedent for
debt strapped municipalities and T h i r d
World countries. Banking interests, who
realized that a default would seriously in-
jure their equity capital and property hold-
ings, felt that the moratorium was a small
step to pay for avoiding a long, drawn-out
federal bankruptcy court proceedings.
A closer examination of the legal impli-
cations of the Act, however, indicates that
the political battles surrounding New York
City's fiscal crisis are far from being re-
The Moratorium Act, which was part of
a $6.8 billion plan to cover the City's financ-
ial needs until fiscal 1978, suspends payment
of principal on $1.6 billion of city notes
maturing between December 11 and March
12, 1976 for at least three years. N o t e
holders now also have the option of swap-
ping their securities for ten year Municipal
Assistance Corporation (M.A.C.) bonds that
pay 8 per cent interest. The Flushing Na-
tional Bank of Queens immediately filed
suit on November 17 in State Supreme
Court, challenging the constitutionality of
the act. In its complaint, the bank argued,
among other things, that the act violated
Article I, section 10 of the United States
Constitution which provides that "no state
shall pass any law impairing the obligation
of contracts".
THIS CLAUSE WAS adopted by a consti-
tution convention sitting in 1787 that had
recently witnessed the rebellion of heavily
indebted farmers led by Daniel Shays of
Massachusetts. Justice John Marshall de-
scribed the situation prevailing at that time
as one where, "resentment against lawyers
and courts was freely manifested." In
many instances "the course of the law
was arrested and judges restrained from
proceeding in the execution of their duty
by popular and tumultuous assemblages.
This state of things alarmed all thoughtful
men, and led them to seek some effective
Earlier this year one of the partners of
Hawkins, Delafield & Wood, now bond coun-
sel for M.A.C., sought to advance the
"thoughtfulness" of the Convention's rem-
edy for unruly state legislatures in a New
Jersey court. Appearing as the representa-
tive for bondholders of the New York and
New Jersey Port Authority, the firm ar-
gued that the legislative repeal of a co-
venant (which limited the Authority's use of
its revenues for rail passenger service) was
an unconstitutional impairment of contract.
The trial court disagreed and in so doing
set a precedent that municipal bond coun-
selors may regret more than the ignoble
fall from their ranks of John Mitchell.
THE NEW JERSEY decision sternly re-
minded bondholders that not every impair-
ment of a contract obligation, or security
for its perfomance, runs afoul of the con-
tract clause. The court stated that "the
clause must be construed in harmony with
the power of the states to alter or modify
their contractual obligations where an im-
portant public interest requires. Those who
enter into contractual relations with t h e
sovereign, including the bondholders of the
Port Authority, are chargeable with t h e
knowledge that it is a sovereign entity with
which they are dealing . . ." But the exer-

presupposes the maintenance of a govern-
ment by virtue of which contractual rela-
tions are worthwhile - a government which
retains adequate authority to secure the
peace and good order of society."
THE SITUATION facing Hawkins, Dela-
field & Wood illustrates the fundamental
contradictions facing capitalist governments
in a period of economic depression. To the
extent that the Moratorium Act is upheld
as a legitimate exercise of the reserve pow-
er of the state to protect its citizens' health,
safety, and welfare, militant state legisla-
ures may subject the terms of other out-
standing municipal securities to political
renegotiation. But, if it is not upheld, the
financial package, whose conditions were
initially determined by the political impos-
sibility of enforcing greater fiscal aus-
terity, may become worthless.
Moreover, if the act is declared uncon-
stitutional, bond counsel for various public
instrumentalities could become personally
liable under fraud provisions of the 1933
and 1934 Securities Acts for misrepresent-
ing the legal merits of such securities. It is
the civil liability of counsel, rather than
the market for municipal issues, that is ap-
parently worrying bond attorneys the most
these days. This concern is responsible for
the unprecedentedly candid statement of
Hawkins, Delafield & Wood in a letter ac-
companying M.A.C.'s official prospectus de-
tailing the swap option under the Morator-
ium Act. The statement read, "in the event
that the constitutionality of said Moratorium
Act is sustained by a court of final juris-
diction such judicial determination could
support the constitutionality of similar legis-
lative enactments . . .". By imposing the
responsibilities upon bond counsel to behave
according to the rules that other people who
use financial markets must follow, the
privileged position that financial exploita-
tion of urban problems by the state enjoys
may possibly be diminished.
ONE OF THE quickest ways to secure a
nominally honest government is to strip the
ruling class of the legal immunity that they
possess. The tactics of Judge John Sirica
taught us that jail and the deprivation of
liberty affect the powerful and the weak,
the rich and the poor, with fine impartial-
ity. The same approach that the SEC has
taken to the opinions of bond counsel should
also apply to so called labor leaders. Not-
ably, the trustees of several New York City
employee pension funds only approved the
investment of a subestantial portion of these
monies in New York City and State securi-
ties after Governor Carey pledged that he
would submit legislation to protect them
from lawsuits charging a breach of fiduciary
responsibility. The courts appropriately
struck down similar legislation passed
months ago as a prerequisite for obtaining
purchases by State Comptroller Arthur Le-
The issues raised by the Moratorium Act
cannot be emphasized too strongly. T h e
present situation is untenable for financial
circles, not only because of the uncertainty
of the outcome of the suit brought by Flush-
ing Bank, but because no matter which way
the courts decide the case, the decision will
provide the basis for a serious fight over
whose interests the existing mechanisms
of public finance really serve. The stage will
have been set for advancing proposals that
seek to deal with the de facto strike of
financial institutions the way striking work-
ers movements dealt with intransigent in-
dustrialists in the last Great Depression;
namely, by running the factories themselv-
es. At the very least a strike by capital that
seriously threatens the public's welfare
should be dealt with the way the United

with prison officials to k
son, then accused the
conspiracy as a plausib
presiding Judge Henry
ick had refused to heare
along this line, maintain
"trial is not an inquest
death of George Jackso
Then, three weeks ag
judge reversed his stan
persistent defense ar
that the official versionc
son's death, verified by1
secution's key witness
be examined to establi

Letters to, the Dal

ORIGINALLY, prison sp Aes-
bullet men had argued that this bullet
had entered Jackson throug the
ry be- head and exited from his spine
as he ran from the maimum
security adjustment center
iggra- where he was held into the ad-
th at joining prison yard.
A month later, the coroner's
than report reversed this finding
claiming Jackson was shot
through the back with the bul-
down let exiting from ais head.
Now the defense nas demmn-
scape, strated from sworn testimony
that it is highly improbable the
Ssassi- fatal shot could have been fired
by either of the two guards who
claimed to have shot Jacksor.
According to the official ver-
sion, one of those gurds, Frank
Bortfeld, first fired the non-fatal
bullet from a guard tower on
ill jack- Jackson's right, hitting him in
Six of the ankle and making him stum-
le cover ble. The second guard, Jat0h n
Frank, then fired the fatal bu-
let from Jackson's rear which
er, t h e entered his spine and exited
Broder- through the ton of his head. Bath
evidence fired only once.
ning tne
into the THE DEFENSE strategy aims
n." at destroying the, state's explan-
go, t h e ation of how the non-fatal bil-
d under let was fired, and therebv de-
guments molishing the corollary tieo y
of Jack- of who killed Jackson.
the pro- The defense has elicited tes-
had to many from the coroner, J o h n
sh their Manwaring, that the nonfatal
bullet hit Jackson in tie rear of
his calf and then traveed to
the right, exiting frcm inside of
his left ankle.
But Bortfeld, positioned 75
y jyards to Jackson's right, and at
a right angle with his path of
system fliaht, could only have fired a
its vic- illet that wond have proceed-
ed to Jackson's left. Had R~rt-
pposition feld fired the shot, it would have
to mem- hit Jackson's ankle (instead of
Congress entering his calf) and fragment-
e in De- ed inside his leg. Burd said he
995-4133 came to this conclusion after
s. now doing a chemical analysis
on Jackson's trousers, which be
a Autin, had neglected to do in 1971, in
en Batts, an effort to explain the presence
Coalition of tiny lead pellets which t h e
Stop S-1 prosecution told him had been
discovered imbedded in Jack-
son's leg.
plied this new information to
Burd a week before he was
interest scheduled to testify.
NSA, it In that analysis, Burd said, he
has not found tiny holes through which
t in the lead had passed which corre-
methods. sponded with the pellets. These,
ducation he claims, were caused when the
on d'etre bullet ricocheted off the ground,
come a splintering into the pellets that
e "base- lodged in Jackson's leg and the
le pie," bullet fragment that entered his
bject to shoes and caused the ankle
eir earn- wound. (The defense claims the
are soci- pellets may have been caused
rte blan- by Bortfeld's bullet ricocheting
l" thugs from the ground, but that the
whatever bullet itself missed Jackson.)
ans nec- Burd also took a new look
t include at Jackson's left shoe and sock,
urt since concluding now that the bullet
e on the hole in both could have been
tion. The caused by a fragmented (i e.,
y~ search ricochet) bullet as well as a

To The Daily:
IN DETROIT on Saturday,
December 6, at 1 p.m. at Ken-
nedy Square, there will be a
demonstration to stop the S-1
bill, one of the most repressive
pieces of legislation imaginable.
Featured speakers are Maryann
Mahaffey (Councilwoman, City
of Detroit), Tom Turner (Presi-
dent, Metropolitan AFL - CIO
Council), and Howard Simon
(Executive Director, ACLU).
There is little opposition so far
in the Senate, so action must
come in the form of outside or-
Despite the 1972 Supreme
Court decision holding the death
penalty to be unconstitutional,
S-1 provides mandatory death
sentences for certain crimes (in-
cluding leaking "national de-
fense information") under cer-
tain conditions. It imposes man-
datory, minimum sentences with
no chance of probation for cer-
tain offenses. The whole outlook
of the bill is toward imprison-
S-1 puts the burden on de-
fendants to prove they were "un-
lawfully entrapped" by police
into committing crimes toward
which they were not already
"predisposed." It even allows
acceptance of "voluntary" con-
fessions in the absence of legal
counsel and despite police fail-
ure to give the Miranda warn-
ings to protect the innocent.
THE S-1 BILL deliberately
attempts to cut back on our
constitutional rights of freedom
of speech, press, and assembly.
For example, had the S-1 been
law, Ellsberg would be in jail
for 7 to 15 years for communi-
cating the Pentagon Papers (De-
fense information) to the me-
dia. The New York Times' edi-
tors would face 7 years for re-
ceiving that information and not
"delivering it promptly" to a
federal agent. It makes no dif-
ference if that classified infor-
mation is among the 90 per
cent of currently classified in-
formation that is purportedly
illegally or unnecessarily classi-
At the same time, S-1 pro-
hibits prosecution of "public
servants" (the Watergate con-
spirators) if their illegal con-
duct was the result of a belief
that it was "required or author-
ized" or based on a "written
interpretation issued by the head
of a governmental agency"
S-1 also extends the Attorney
General's power to wiretap with-
out court order, reinstates the
Smith Act (used during the Mc-
Carthy witch hunt trials to im-
prison people belonging to
groups advocating the overthrow
of the government), and places
severe restrictions on all kinds

fight back against the
that has made them
Please show your op
to this bill with letterst
bers of the Senate and C
and with your presence
troit on Saturday. Call
for information on rides
Ann ArborC
To The Daily:
being generated latelyc
ing the CIA and the
is surprising that there
been an equal interest
IRS and its Gestapo n
Through the state e
system, taxes (the rais
of the IRS) have be
patriotic institution like
ball, hotdogs and app
and all those who o
having a portion of the
ings stolen from them
ally stigmatized and ca
che is given to "officia
to get that portion byv
means necessary. "Me
essary" usually does no
taking the resister to co
courts might get to rul
constitutionality of taxa
common method is by
and seizure of bank;
and/or personal proper
ure also insures that a
will not have the funds
a court fight.
Resisters can also 1
jobs because the IRS p
sure on employers to fi
The pressure is usual]
of audit or revocationc
ernment permit. Quitec
IRS teams up with othe
mental agencies for
benefit. Thus when po
a prostitute's place of
the IRS is allowed to ta
and to confiscate lists
tourers. The customers
ed, through threats ofi
to family and friends
how much was, paid to
titute. Prostitution may
gal but the IRS want
of the revenue anyway
tutional rights are also
when a ctizen is force
out a tax form. T
Amendment on self-i
tion is waived. Herea
difference essentially
the CIA/NSA and the
of this system since
fense clearly implies
in and a support of theE
fving the means. It i
time that we shout E
to such oppression and
an end to the IRS. N

whole busllet either on i s way
in or out of Jackson's body.
Burd's new theory is the only
explanation that could tit with
Bortfeld's shooting the non-fatal
bullet. But it is not supported by
other evidence.
ACCORDING TO \lnw ri11g,
Jackson had a sizeable hole in
his calf, originally des:crib;;J tzs
an entrance wound. If in fact
the fragmented bullet exited'
through this wound, it shovid
have made a correspond .Ig exit
hole through the trous'r 1 e .
No such hole exists. According
to Bird, this is becaiise the cloth
of the trouser leg blo-ked t h e
fragments. But Bhrd Jid not ex-
plain the absence of 'hI stains
or lead mrks where those frig-
ments would have hit.
And there are other probl-emrrs.
Only a small part if the nea-
fatal b-llet was retrie-yed from
the ankle bone. if B,d's w.w
theory is correct, the rest of the
fragments must have staved so
closely together after lroment-
ing that they all made 'he iden-
tical 90 degree left turn r, crder

to exit through the rear of the
calf, creating an exit hole so neat
Marwaring labelled it an en-
trance hole. The defense claims
this is an impossibility.
FINALLY, Manwarin' r e -
moed the fragment from t h e
rear of the ankle bo'i!. Had it
come from the right, as Burd
now claims, it wound have torn
a hole through the t.ne in order
to lodge there. No such hole has
ever been reported.
If, as the defense claims,
Brd's new theory .:ainot with-
stand either the evidence or lo-
gic, then the prosecutiAn's effott
to explain the discrepanzcv b e -
tween the trajectory of the non-
f-+tal b-llet and Bortfeld's poi-
tion collapses. That leaves the
door oen for a major re-exam-
ination of the source of the fatal
The defense is pushing relent-
lessly towards that end, c o n-
virced that it will be traced to a
prison official and thereby de-
monstrate a prison cospiracy to
Pssassinate Jackson, and then a
cover up of that assassination.

Copyright, Pacific News Service, 1975.
...: ...: ...i.... ..... ...:.:.:::




Sen. Phillip Hart (Dem), 253 Russell Bldg., Capitol Hill,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Sen. Robert Griffin (Rep), 353 Russell Bldg., Capitol Hill,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Rep. Marvin Esch (Rep), 2353 Rayburn Bldg., Capitol Hill,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Sen. Gilbert Bursley (Rep), Senate, State Capitol Bldg.,
Lansing, Mi. 48933.
Rep. Perry Bullard (Dem), House of Representatives, State
Capitol Bldg., Lansing, Mi. 48933.

rty. Seiz-
to make
ose their
uts pres-
ire them,
ly threat
of a gov-
often the
r govern-
lice raid
p phones
of cus-
are forc-
to tell
the pros-
y be ille-
s its cut
y. Consti-
ed to fill
he Fifth
again, no
o defense
any de-
a belief
end justi-
s instead
I demand
ext Anril

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