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July 29, 1977 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-07-29

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

Friday, July 2y 91 x


Page Five

, i

,rdy Juy2.11 H IHGNDIYPg ~


to remain in
WASHINGTON--{AP) - The federal
government is refusing custody of James
Earl Ray, who is serving a life sen-
tence for the assassination of Dr. Mar-
tin Luther King Jr., and briefly es-
caped from a state prison earlier this
year, Atty. Gen. Griffin Bell announced
"After careful consideration .. I have
concluded that the United States should
not accept custody of Mr. Ray at the
present time," Bell said in a letter to
Gov. Ray Blanton of Tennessee.
"I AM CONFIDENT that the State of
Tennessee has adequate physical and
legal resources to maintain the incar-
ceration of Mr. Ray," Bell wrote.
The attorney general noted that no
prisoner has ever successfully escaped
from the Brushy Mountain prison in Ten-
Following Ray's short-lived escape
for 55-and-one-half hours in June, Blan-

Tennessee prison

ton asked the federal government to
take future responsibility for Ray's in-
carceration and safety on grounds that
Ray was really more of a national fig-
ure than an ordinary state prisoner and
should therefore be protected by the
federal government.
AT A NEWS conference in which he
announced his decision, Bell said, "It's
better to leave well enough alone. That's
my philosophy ... if he's doing all right
now, why should I take him?"
Bell added that he feared that if
something were to happen to Ray at
a federal facility a national outcry
could ensue that would unnecessarily
raise suspicions about the federal sys-
"I'm not willing to undergo that risk,"
he said. "There's no reason to."
THE ATTORNEY general, in response


tions, said also that he has talk-
h President Carter on occasion
ting the department's investiga-
alleged South Korean bribery of
ors of Congress and that the Pres-
ad assisted him in some areas of
did not spell out what those areas
at acknowledged "it would be a
umption" that they involved dip-
dealings with the South Korean
's done the things I've asked him
He's helped me," said Bell of the
also indicated that he and Car-
ly very well go outside their al-
nnounced list of prospective can-
for director of the FBI, saying
,ed to discuss whether we should
w two or three other people"
names have not been mentioned
agents can
still read
private mail
WASHINGTON (P) - Despite
bitter criticism from lawmak-
ers about illegal mail openings,
the Postal Service said yester-
day it will continue to allow
customs agents to open letters
from abroad.
"You have completely abro-
gated your authority over the
mail entrusted to you," an an-
gry Rep. Theodore Weiss, (D-
N.Y.), told postal officials at a
House Government Operations
subcommittee hearing. Other
panel members echoed his sen-
ledged that customs agents
have violated laws and govern-
ment procedures that allow
them to open mail without a
search warrant only when they
suspect a letter contains illegal
drugs or other contraband.
But they said turning over
mail to the Customs Service
would continue. "We have to
expect the other agency to com-
ply with the regulations," said
Assistant General Counsel
Charles Braun.
Meanwhile, the Customs Ser-
vice issued a series of proposed
new rules spelling out under
what circumstances its agents
can open mail.
IN THlE LAST fiscal year,
Customs opened about 270,000
envelopes, 48,000 of which con-
tained prohibited or dutiable
items, according to figures ga-
thered by the subcommittee.
Customs began opening mail
entering the country in 1971.
Usually, mail is opened comes
after a dog trained to sniff il-
legal drugs has reacted to a
But the subcommittee was
told about' several incidents in
which the Customs Service flag-
rantly violated letter - opening
rules. In one program, now end-
ed according to the Postal
Service, customs officials in
New York for several years
allowed military investigators
to open and read letters with-
ott the required search war-
P O S T A L officials also al-
lowed customs agents to open
some domestic mal in Port
Isabel, Tex., in 1975, and
See CUSTOMS, Page 10

THE JENQUINS view the remains of their burned out home yesterday in Santa Barbara, Calif. Their home is one of 250
homes destroyed by a disastrous fire which swept through the area. Officials say an errant kite shorted power lines and
caused the fire.
Errant kite started Calif. blaze

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. {gip?-A disas-
trous brush fire that was started by an
errant kite touching a power line has finally
been controlled, fire officials said yester-
day. The blaze injured 22 persons, destroyed
or damaged 385 e x p e n s i v e homes and
caused a loss estimated by officials at $50
'It's very quiet this morning. There are
no flames at all," said Dennis Orbus, a
U.S. Forest Service spokesman. "We're
just tamping down the hot spots now."
THE FIRE which began Tuesday, night
and was contained Wednesday had burned
740 acres of brush. An estimated 3,000 per-
sons fled the area.,
Authorities said they were told by a
young man who they would not identify that
the fire, one of the worst in this scenic
community's history, began when his kite
blew into a high-voltage power line in Syca-
more Canyon. The burning kite fluttered to
the ground and set the brush afire.

"I shall always regret the part, however
innocent, I had had in this tragic matter,"
the young man was quoted as saying Wed-
"I AM DEEPLY shocked and saddened
by the great loss and suffering which has
resulted from the fire."
The kite flyer was reported in seclusion
outside the city, and authorities said no
prosecution was contemplated.
Fire fighters had been worried the blaze
might flare up again during the night, or
that another spark might reignite the chap-
paral brush, normally dry and highly flam-
mable and described now as "explosive"
because of two years of drought.
"BUT THE wind is very quiet and we
don't anticipate any more problems unless
something totally unforeseen happens," Or-
bus said.
Santa Barbara, a wealthy community of
mission-style homes whose red-tiled roofs.
lend a Mediterranean flavor to the parched

Pacific coast some 100 miles north of Los
Angeles, became a panicked city Tuesday
night as sheets of flame tore through the
drought-dried brush of the Santa Ynez
Fire storms leaped erratically from can-
yon to ride, leaving a patchwork of destruc-
tion across the city's richest neighborhoods,
where some home values start at $250,000.
FIRE OFFICIALS estimated that 250 ex-
pensive homes were destroyed and another
135 homes and other structures were dam-
aged. Three thousand persons fled as the
flames, driven by "sundowner" winds,
raced through the chapparal brush that
covers southern California's mountains.
Eeven evacuation centers were set up,
but relief workers said few of the finan-
cially secure refugees stayed there. Most
elected to stay at the 78 hotels and motels
in Santa Barbara, a major tourist area.
Dist. Atty. Stanley Roden said the kite
flyer, identified only as a man in his 20s,

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