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July 14, 1978 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1978-07-14

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Page 4-Friday, July 14, 1978-The Michigan Daily
,michigan DAILY
Eighty-eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, M. 48109
Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 43S News Phone: 764-0552
Friday, July 14, 1978
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Young's frankness
makes U.S. strong
Andrew Young is a man who speaks his mind,
and each time he does U.S. politicians are shocked
and outraged by his comments; they aren't used
to hearing the truth. For Young has a unique
ability to cut through the official rhetoric, shrug
his shoulders, and openly admit what everyone
else denies or fails to appreciate.
Wednesday, in response to a question about
the current Soviet dissident trials, Young told an
interviewer that there are "hundreds, perhaps
even thousands of people in the United States
whom I could consider political prisoners."
Congresspersons were so dismayed that several
Senators and Representatives called for Young's
resignation or dismissal yesterday, and the House
even took preliminary impeachment steps. These
politicians are so blinded by patriotism that they
can't see the validity of Young's charges. We have
had many political prisoners in this country over
the last quarter-century. Young describes them
as, "Blacks in civil rights movements, anti-war
people and those people in the consumers'
To be sure, there are vast differences between
the plights of American and Soviet political
prisoners, a fact which Young recognizes: "I
know of no instance in the U.S. where persons
have received penalties for monitoring our gover-
nment's position on civil or human rights."
But there are, nevertheless, abuses in this
country, and it was courageous of Young to point
them out. His statement comes at a crucial time,
when President Carter is chastising the Soviets
for trying dissidents Aleksandr Ginzburg and
Anatoly Shcharansky. Many nations have viewed
our human rights campaign as self-righteous and
hypocritical since we have failed to acknowledge
abuses in our own nation. Now that Young has
spoken out frankly, perhaps the Carter ad-
ministration will realize the value of openness on
this issue.
If we admit to the problems at home, and
commit ourselves to eradicating human rights
abuses in the U.S. as well as in other nations, our
position can only be strengthened.
Young did, however, act rashly, blurting this
out before mentioning his views to Carter. As a
representative of the U.S. government, Young has
a responsibility to try to make his views known to
policymakers before airing them publicly so as
not to undermine confidence in the mechanics of
our foreign policy. It makes the administration
appear chaotic when the President and Secretary
of State are totally surprised by a statement made
by the U.N. ambassador. Young is to be praised
for his forward-looking attitude and to challenge
the administration when he sees fit. He must
remember, though, that he is part of a group
which is shaping American foreign policy, and
that the rest of its members should be enlightened

Stream(ined juries
short-circuit justice

Reforms in the American jury system reducing
jury size and the number of votes necessary to
reach a verdict may be undermining one of the most
hallowed principles on which the Founding Fathers
built the U.S. Constitution, a growing number of
lawyers and social scientists believe.
Changes in the rules governing juries stem from
two U.S. Supreme Court decisions. In 1970, the court
ruled that in criminal trials any state could cut the
size of the traditional 12-member jury by half. This
ruling was later extended to civil cases.
TWO YEARS later, the court authorized the
states to eliminate the requirement of unanimity in
criminal cases and gave approval to convictions by
a vote of ten to two or nine to three, with the exact
number left to the states.
Hostility toward the jury was the reason for the
changes, according to Richard Lempert, a
professor at the University of Michigan Law School
who researched the subject. Proponents of the
changes, claimed Lempert, thought "a lesser jury
is a better jury because the jury itself isn't very
Social scientists and other legal scholars who
have studied the court's opinions on juries report
three significant results:l
" In criminal cases the changes work to the
disadvantage of one side - the defense. The
frequency of hung juries is generally reduced by
half. The standard of proof - beyond a reasonable
doubt - and protections against erroneous verdicts
also are reduced by the non-unanimous verdict,
thus increasing the risk of convicting an innocent
" The representation on the jury of racial
minorities is significantly threatened by the
changes. Studies conducted at the Universities of
Chicago and Michigan show that there is twice the
chance of getting minority representation on the 12-
member jury when the minority equals 10 per cent
of the community population, a factor of special im-
portance in cities with a large black population such
as Chicago or Oakland, where juries are drawn
from a court system organized along county lines.
The jury pool isn't 30 to 50 per cent black like the
cities, but 10 to 20 per cent like the counties.
Non-unanimous verdicts pose a different problem
for minorities since they may be included in the
panel but lose their effect due to the elimination of
unanimous verdicts. Mike Bailey, an Oregon lawyer
who has been both prosecutor and defender, said
that it is common for the defendant and minority
jurors to be black.
"Often it's a case," he said, "where the police
have gone into a black neighborhood and they say
they knocked and showed their badges. My client
says they broke down the door. The black jurors
know the cop might be lying. They know what hap-
pens because they've seen and heard things."
" The smaller jury is less accurate than the 12-
member jury, according to a forthcoming Columbia
University study directed by Dr. Alice Padaver-
Singer. The smaller jury is "like a tea party," she
concluded. The jurors go to lunch together and
engage in more "courtesy dialogue" than arguing
about the evidence. The larger jury "gets down to
brass tacks," has a more robust discussion and fin-
ds it easier to overcome its own biases and corrects
more misstatements of facts, concluded the study,
which will be presented at the American Bar
Association Conference of Judges in August.
A rapidly increasing number of states around the
country have adopted the jury changes. Almost all
of the federal courts and 38 states use the smaller
jury in civil cases. No federal court has approved it
for criminal cases, but 34 states have.
The primary reason given for the changes was
that they would save time and money. Statistics
compiled by the New Jersey court system show that
in that state the changes have effected no rel
saving of time or reduction in court delays and
"SAVING MONEY has its place. but it should

American juries and professor emeritus at the
University of Chicago Law School.
According to Dr. Padawer-Singer, formerly
director of the Columbia University Jury Project,
"the average cost of the jury is one-tenth of one per
cent of the state budget, or an average of five per
cent of the judicial dollar. In 1976 Americans spent
twice as much on peanut butter as they did on the
federal judiciary."
A Pacific News Service survey of the court
systems in ten states confirmed Dr. Padawer-
Singer's assessment, showing that jury costs
average 4.6 per cent of the total judicial budget.
Melvin Hendrickson, a mathematics professor at
Claremont College, investigated jury efficiency af-
ter his wife was called for jury duty and sat in a
room for four days without ever being sent into a
HENDRICKSON ESTIMATED that a system that
he has developed, which does not call jurors until
they're needed, would save $1 million a year for Los
Angeles County, the largest judicial district in the
country. The Los Angeles court administrator said
he would use the system, but hasn't as yet.
The non-unanimous verdict has proven much less
popular. A trial lawyer from California, a state still
requiring unanimity, said, "it's much more of a gut
issue" than jury size. Consequently there's
strenuous opposition to it. Thirty states use the non-
unanimous rule in civil actions, but only six states
have approved the rule for criminal cases.
No court, state or federal, uses the smaller jury
or the non-unanimous verdict in murder cases
where the penalty may be either the possibility of
death or life imprisonment. Some lawyers believe
this implies a concession that the traditional jury is
the best way to determine guilt or innocence.
"DOES THE state have to be sure when it is
jailing you for life," asked one attorney, "and not so
sure when it's only taking away ten years of your
Some of the new evidence pointing up the
deficiencies in the jury changes was recognized by
the U.S. Supreme Court ins recent case reviewing a
Georgia criminal trial when the court ruled that a
five-member jury was unconstitutional.
Five-member juries are inferior to six-member
ones, the court held - although, ironically, it based
its decision on scholarly studies that show six-
member juries are inferior to 12-member ones.
"Recent empirical data suggest that
progressively smaller juries are less likely to foster
effective group deliberation. At some point this
decline leads to inaccurate fact-finding and in-
correct application of the common sense of the
community to the facts.
SOME LAWYERS see in the recent Supreme
Court case a hope that in time the court will fully
reverse itself and return to the traditional jury.
In 1976, the American Bar Association went on
record supporting the 12-member jury and
unanimous verdicts in criminal cases.. The
following year the Roscoe Pound Trial Lawyers
Association, made up of lawyers, professors and
judges, recommended the larger unanimous jury in
both civil and criminal cases.
TheNational District Attorneys Association
hasn't taken a position on the changes. Said Patrick
Healy, executive director of the association, "I'd
ask a prosecutor in a state with one of the changes,
'Do you need the mountain lowered five feet to get
over the top?' "
Early this year the U.S. Justice Department op-
posed a congressional bill to make the smaller jury
mandatory in the federal courts. The department
cited as its reason for opposing the bill "the greater
likelihood of a fair cross-section of community
view.points" embodied in the traditional
Nan Bitman, a member of the California Bar
whose artiles hare appeared in Ms. and several
periodicals, is a frequent contributor to the

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