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March 30, 1976 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-03-30

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Air4fgun Badu
Eighty-Six Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The Hearst trial:


Tuesday, March 30, 1976

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed ,by students at the University of Michigan

............. ............. .............
N. M

days before the guilty verdict that left
him stunned, F. Lee Bailey confided to
a reporter that he might be better off
losing the Hearst case. "If I win, every
crackpot criminal in the country will
think I can get him off," Bailey said.
"If I lose, at least other lawyers will
know I did a good job."
But Bailey wasn't playing to a panel
of lawyers; his job was to convince a
jury of laymen. Lawyers may debate
the legal merits of the case' but to this
courtroom observer--a layman like the
jury members - Bailey lost a case he
should have won.
Patricia Hearst's overriding claim for
acquittal was that she was a kidnap vic-
tim. She was charged solely with volun-
tarily participating in an armed bank
robbery just two months after her bru-
tal, terrorizing abduction; she had been
out of her closet prison only two weeks.
THE GOVERNMENT'S evidence con-
cerning the bank robbery alone was in-
conclusive. Bailey should never have let
the jury lose sight of those basic pre-
Yet Hearst was convicted, not for the
bank robbery itself, as the comments of
the juriors themselves attest, but for
her subsequent 17 months as a fugitive.
Proof of her intent prior to and during
the robbery was not conclusive. Rather
the government won its case on Hearst's
activities after the robbery - which the
defense tried to answer with a convo-
luted theory of fear and "brainwash-
Bailey did fight hard to keep such ex
post facto evidence out of the trial. But
in a go-for-brake hearing out of the
jury's presence he may have made a
fatal error. Bailey put Hearst on the
stand to try to convince Judge Oliver
Carter that her post-bank robbery ac-
tions were involuntarily coerced - and
thus legally inadmissable as evidence.
)But Carter didn't buy her story.
Once Carter allowed the Los Angeles
evidence. Bailey felt compelled to put
Hearst on the stand before the jury to
counter the damaging testimony that she
had shot un Mel's Snorting Goods Store.
Having told Judge Carter in the hearing
that she had acted solely from fear di2r-
ing her 17 months as a fugitive, she had
to stick with that story.
BY CALLING his client to testify, Bail-
ey opened up even more damaging terri-
tory to prosecution questions. One sear-
ing result was that Bailey had to advise
his client to take the Fifth Amendment
42 times, against the judge's orders, to
avoid incriminating herself for alleged
crimes in Sacramento.
And the same story that had failed to
convince Jijdge Carter ultimately proved
to be, in Prosecutor James Browning's
words, "just too big a pill to swallow."
Hearst asked the jury to believe she
had robbed, fired weapons and kidnaped
all out of fear of the SLA -- especially
William and Emily Harris, to whom she
ascribed almost mystical powers of con-

Herast's testimony left no middle
ground. Everything she had written or
spoken during her fugitive life, she
claimed, had been influenced by fear of
the Harrises.
SHE KEPT LOADED weapons in her
apartment because Bill Harris "might'
drop in and check up on me." She spoke
of revolutionary feminism to best friend
Trish Tobin after her arrest because she
"though Emily Harris was in the visit-
ing room" (she wasn't). An autobiogra-
phy she had written on the lam was dic-
tated to her by the Harrises, who forced
her to reveal embarrassing inside gos-
hip about her family.
Had Bailey been able to limit trial evi-
dence to the bank robbery itself,
Hearst's tale of duress might have held
up. Bank photos were unclear on whe-
ther SLA guns were trained on her.
But the legal concept of duress ap-
plies only to fear of immediate bodily
injury or death, without chance of es-
cape. Her later actions as a fugitive
could not convincingly be explained that
way. She had many apparent opportun-
ities to escape; she was alone in a car
when she sprayed the sporting goods
store with bullets.
Bailey found himself boxed in. Com-
mitted to Hearst's tale of duress, which
left too many questions unanswered, he
brought in three eminent psychiatrists to
depict Hearst's fugitive life in terms of
"coercive persuasion" and "thought re-
form" (popularly known as "brainwash-
ing"), casting the Harrises as villains.
HEARST HAD not known why she act-
ed as she did, the experts said. They
compared her to American POWS in the
Korean War.
But no matter how textbook-perfect
the psychiatrists' arguments, they were
not enough to overcome the doubts rais-
ed by Hearst's own story. While not en-
tirely at odds, Hearst's tale of duress
and the experts' tale of brainwashing
weren't comppletely complementrv eith-
er: There are inherent contradictions
between the two defenses. Duress sig- -
nifies the subject freely chooses to act
because of fear; brainwashing implies
there is no free will.
Instead of bolstering a clear, consist-
ent defense version of events - center-
ed on Hearst's own testimony and role
as victim - Bailey's experts actually
m iddied the issues. By bogging the trial
down in a lengthy debate over Hearst's
months as a fugitive they shifted the
,i rv's attention from the alt-important
Hiherria bank robbery.
Despite his problems, Bailey nonethe-
less may have been overconfident of vic-
tory. The press was raving about his
courtroom skill his opponent Browning
was bumbling by comparison. On paper
this lookedlike Hearst's easiest trial.
BAILEY INDICATED to the media he
was already looking ahead to other
trials, and may have overexposed his
psvchiatrists in order to lay the ground-
work for Los Angeles, where the brain-


rim IV Mn UftLL wuKwsL
pier- Fuld ?te.saepcr Srerdicatu, 197f -
Excuse me. Did you see a big parade go by here a
few .months ago?!
.'r""l break-ins. Unwarranted

washing defense would be cruci
But Bailey had seriously mi
ed. His psychiatrists couldi
Hearst from her own testimon
cutor Browning was actually
turn the concept of "reasonabl
into a government asset b,,
the jury, "Would you, as reason
and women, accept this story f
one but Patricia Hearst? And
ask you not to accept it from. 1,
Not only was Hearst's story
swallow but she left the jury li
to sympathize with her if i
believed it. She incriminated
her former associates. He n
her previous avowals of love
SLA member Willie Wolfe by
him a "rapist" whom she
stand." Yet at her arrest she
ried a Mexican figurine he had
over a year before.
Bailey's requests for syml
ward his client had a hollow
their own. His relentless cross-
tion of witnesses - though to
brilliant--mav have alienated n
dazzled the jury.
. Bailey left a 68-year-old bai
literally shaking on the stand
his questioning of one middle-a
by eliciting the news that he :
with his mother; and poked fun
sexuals. "Have you been dowr
Street lately?" (a local gay
Bailey asked one witness when
said he could tell males from
BUT BAILEY reserved his m,
ing attacks for the prosecution
trists. Rather than questioning

.. stance of their testimony, he unleashed
vitriolic character assaults on Drs, Har-
ry Kozol and Joel Fort, whom he called
a "psychopath" and "habitul liar."
Bailey was much harsher on Fort and
Kozo] than Browning ever was on Pa-
tricia Hearst - an irony the jury may
well have noted.
In the end, Bailey himself became an
issue, allowing Hearst's role as victim
to become obscured in his own flam-
boyant aura.
In his growing fury, Bailey seemed
ignorant of how to deal with a Sail Fran-
Cisco Bay Area jury. By branding all'
radicals as crazies and terrorists, by
ridiculing homosexuals, by criticizing
Dr. Fort's individualistic brand of psy-
chiatry, Bailey betrayed himself as a
rude out-of-towner in this most tolerant
of American cities.
Bailey's closing argument was also off
the mark. Browning's had been cool and
factual. Bailey ignored Browiing's
mound of evidence and made an emo-
tional appeal. Not, as many had guessed,
to play on the human sympathies of the
jury. Instead, standing eye-to-eye with
the jury, he delivered a bombastic and
condescending lecture on their obliga-
tion to find his client not guilty.
Rather than emphasize Hearst's brutal
kidnaping - as he had done so effective-
Iv in his opening statement - Bailey
chose to depict her as one who would
do anything to survive. "People eat oth-
er people to survive," Bailey told the
:ial. jurv. The remark made Hearst seem
iscalculat- more cannibal than victim and buttress-
n't save ed the veiw that she would - among
iy. Prose- other things - lie to survive.
r able to
de doubt' NO ONE CAN say for certain whether
iy asking the jury would have been swayed by an-
nable men other defense. But one thing a clear:
from any- Bailey should never have put Patricia
if not, I Hearst on the stand if she couldn't tell
her." a credible story. A consistent defense
emphasizing her terror at the time of
y hard to her kidnaping, and for weeks afterward,
ittle room could have provided a good case for di-
ther dis- minisbed responsibility for her later ac-
many of tions. Hearst would have had to blame
,epudiated herself more and others less, but she
for slain would more likely have evoked sym-
branding pathv from the jury.
"couldn't And she would at least have retained
still car- her dignity. Instead-whatever crimes
given her she may have committed between her
kidnaping and arrest-Patricia Hearst
pathy to- remained as much a victim in court as
v ring of she did at her abduction.
-examina- Her identity bad twice been snatched
echnically awav and remolded: first by the SLA
.,nore'than kidnapers, who transformed her from
college student to hostage and fugitive;
ink guard then by F. Lee Bailey, who turned her
1; opened from the confident feminist of the Tobin
aged man tape into a quest wisp of a woman with-
still lived o=rt identity, friends or freedom.
at homo- To the public, she is a criminal; to
n to Polk her former radical associates, a snitch.
hangout) At age 22, she has nothing left of her-
i the man self. This most of all makes her a tragic
females, figure.
iost seath- Clark Norton, a Pacific. News Service
i psychia- editor, covered the Patricia Hearst triad
r the sub- for Rolling Stone magazine.

tigation released reports to the
public Sunday that it had burglar-
ized the offices of the Socialist Work-
ers Party from 1960 to 1966 at least
92 times. The break-ins occurred in
the early morning hours once every
three weeks, enabling the FBI to ac-
cumulate information on nearly ev-
ery aspect of the Party's operation.
It wasn't until after 1972 that the
:FBI acknowledged the truth of the
group's claims of being a non-vio-
lent Marxist organization, dedicated
only to the running of candidates for
public office. Until that time, the
FBI said it had the impression that
the socialist organization was bent
on the violent overthrow of the gov-
It is hard to imagine that the FBI
seriously believed that the SWP
really constituted a threat to the se-
curity of the country. Socialist or-
ganizations have never enjoyed over-
whelming support in any national
circles. Their high point of public ap-
proval was in the thirties and their
backing has been slim ever since.
Why the FBI ignored this is an open
question. They may have been acting
Editorial positions represent
consensus of the Daily staff.

solely because of the paranoia of J.
Edgar Hoover, who was the one who
finally realized--six and a half years
later--that the SWP was harmless.
Perhaps Hoover had old fears of so-
cialists dating from an earlier era
that motivated his actions.
was reflecting the anti - leftist
leanings that U. S. has held from the
days of the Red Scare and McCar-
thyism. The government has held it
in its interests not only to protect it-
self from, but actually harrass to an
unreasonable extent, groups whose
attitudes it hasn't liked. The break-
ins are apparently representative of
this kind of irrational thinking.
Whatever the reason, FBI director
Clarence Kelley should realize that
such behavior on the part of the gov-
ernment agency is a corruption of
the trust placed in the bureau. With
an organization like the SWP, such
efforts constitute a breach of priv-
acy that it not only unfounded, but
a waste of tax dollars.
News: Lois Josimovich, Anne Marie
Lipinski, Maureen Nolan, Jeff Ris-
tine, Bill Turque
Editorial Page: Stephen Hersh
Arts Page: Jeff Sorensen
Photo Technician: Steve Kagan

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To The Daily:


YOUR ARTICLE of March 19
is an interesting exercise in
sleight of hand. You attempt
to portray Jimmy Carter, who
has won five of the six pri-
maries, as a man without real
support among Democrats. You
seem to imply that he is some-
how "cheating" and sneaking
to these victories, perhaps be-
cause of greater financial re-
sources than the other candi-
dates. None of these things is
The fact is that Jimmy Carter
did not win in New Hampshire
solely because he was the only
moderate. The New York Times-
CBS poll of voters showed that
he ran a strong second among

lace have raised more than has
Jimmy Carter. Carter can run
everywhere because he has ded-
i icated bands of volunteers work-
ing in every state. This is what
George McGovern had, and is
a measure of his appeal.
THE CRUX of your article
is the contention that Jimmy
Carter 'is not really liked by
the voters. The polls show other-
wise. The most recent Gallup
poll shows Carter beating Ford
with Humphrey and Jackson
losing to the President. Gallup
polls show Carter the over-
whelming favorite Democrat
among independent voters, and
Carter and Humphrey are in a
virtual tie among Democratic
The fact is that Jimmy Carter
is the only Democrat who can
beat Ford. He has been out

. election
To The Daily:
are on April 5th. Most of the
University's undergraduate pop-
ulation resides in the second
ward. Last year's council race
was a heated rematch between
the democratic incumbent and
a member of Ann Arbor's cele-
brated Human Right's Party.
This year the democratic par-
ty is running another liberal
candidate, oriented toward city
issues and student concerns. The
remaining members of the HRP
have recently renamed them-
selves the SHRP (Socialist Hu-
man Rights Party), evincing
their concern with broad ideo-
logical goals and their belief
that when the Ann Arhnr City

his candidacy is: "If the "inde-
pendent" is elected and doesn't
already know everything them
is to know about city govern-
ment, who is he going to learn
it from?"
Evidently, this is not an elec-
tion geared to turn out hordes
of excited second ward voters.
BUT-three ballot proposals are
also before all city voters. One
proposal would repeal preferen-
tial voting before next year's
mayoral race. Preferential vot-
ing proved to be a hassle-free
(even fun!) way for students
to let the mayor know that their
heart was left of his. Yet, it pre-
vented splitting the left and
moderate vote, and electing an-
other mayor who could claim
that a majority of the voters
despised him. City Republicans,
who are notorious for not men-
rinninnr that thev are Renubli-

ing the city Democratic party's
traditional colors of black and
green on their bumperstickers
against PV. Another proposal
seeks an advisory vote on
whether or not to continue
door-to-door voter registration.
Limiting registration sites dis-
enfranchises the student popula-
ing for the first time, have no
idea where city hall is and
how to get there. Nor has the
logic of voting where they spend
most of the year occured to
them (as it has not, until re-
cently, to the state of Wchi-
gan.) The third proposal is a
token attempt to -change Ann
Arbor's image as "Pothole Cap-
ital of the Midwest." The few
dents in street repair its pass-
age would effect, Will hardly
keen pace with the dents made

amjo ,, 1 ' --Ow-
11 immmauff

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