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February 17, 1995 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-17

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Tonight: Partly cloudy,
low around 200.
Tomorrow: Partly cloudy,
high around 400.

One hundred four years of editorial freedom

February 17, 1995

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loses most
Iy Frank C. Lee
Daily Staff Reporter
Circuit Court Judge Donald
Shelton ruled in favor of the prosecu-
tion on several key legal motions in
the case of suspected serial rapist Ervin
D. Mitchell Jr. yesterday - including
the admissibility of possibly incrimi-
nating DNA and physical evidence
linking the defendant to his alleged
Mitchell, 33, looked on at his pre-
trial hearing in 3rd Circuit Court as
his attorney waged a losing battle of
words with Washtenaw County Pros-
ecutor Brian Mackie to have much of
the testimony and evidence thrown
out, and previous court rulings con-
cerning his client overturned.
Washtenaw County Assistant Pub-
c Defender David Lankford argued
Or several hours before Shelton at the
Washtenaw County Courthouse in
attempts to derail the prosecution's
Mitchell is charged with an as-
sault and an attempted purse snatch-
ing involving an Ann Arbor woman
on Christmas Eve.
The motion has serious implica-
tions for Mitchell, because prelimi-
iry DNA tests of his blood samples
link him to four of five Ann Arbor
rapes. The sexual assaults spanned a 2
1/2 year period. One of the victims
died as a result of her injuries.
A week ago, more of Mitchell's
blood and saliva samples were taken
as he sat in the Washtenaw County
Jail on $50,000 bond. Michigan State
Police and the Inkster Police Depart-
ent are also investigating whether
rnot Mitchell was involved in six
rape-murders in the Inkster, Mich.,
area between 1989 and 1991. Mitchell
resided in Inkster before moving to
Ann Arbor.
Lankford filed six motions earlier
this month challenging the manner in
which the Ann Arbor police and the
prosecutor conducted their investiga-
,ons. The defense asked the court to
ppress any DNA evidence and any
physical evidence related to Mitchell.

State budget
proposal may
affect tuition

Suspected serial rapist Ervin D. Mitchell Jr. listens in court yesterday as his attorney, David Lankford, argues
motions filed in a robbery attempt case yesterday.

Lankford also asked the court to hire
an independent DNA expert. He also
asked the court to decide if there was
sufficient evidence at the preliminary
examination to hold Mitchell for trial,
and to move his client's trial out of
Washtenaw County over concerns of
"extensive" and "inflammatory" pre-
trial publicity.
Lankford also asked that the court
throw out testimony of a state police
crime lab DNA technician and a
bloody glove that was allegedly used
in the purse-snatching attempt in the
1800 block of Dexter Ave.
The defense argued that the de-
scription the robbery victim gave of
her assailant was significantly differ-
ent than Mitchell's physical appear-
ance and dress at the time of his arrest.
Therefore, they claim Mitchell was
unjustly arrested and searched, and
any physical evidence resulting from
the search - including the glove -
should be ignored.
"We have two of seven (elements
of the description) that match,"
Lankford said. "The only thing that
was distinctive is the white glove. A
taxi cab driver saw a white glove
(worn by Mitchell) - and based on
the white glove, the police were
Shelton ruled, however, that the
differences were not significant, and

Pro-trial motions
Several motions were made at
Ervin Mitchell Jr.'s pre-trial
hearing yesterday.
The judge granted:
The defense's motion to hire
an independent DNA expert at the
court's expense.
N The prosecution's motion to
postpone the trial until April 3.
The judge denied:
0 The defense's motion to
suppress any DNA and any
physical evidence related to
The defense's motion to move
the trial out of Washtenaw
8 The defense's motion that
there was insufficient evidence to
hold Mitchell over for trial.
the police were justified in stopping
and arresting the defendant on Christ-
mas Day based on Mackie's response.
"This is a case -if there ever was
one - the police would be remiss if
they had not approached (Mitchell),"
Mackie said. "Anything else would
be a dereliction of duty."
After failing to get the DNA evi-
dence thrown out, Lankford requested
that the court hire an independent
DNA expert to verify the results of

the prosecution's expert's procedures.
Lankford suggested the name of one
such expert.
"I pick (the experts)," Shelton
ruled. "I appoint them. I'm not going
to appoint an independent expert un-
less I find some problem with the
prosecution's expert. I'm going to
tentatively approve defense's request
subject to an (expert's) name and fee
Shelton also found that there was
sufficient evidence for the prelimi-
nary examination judge to hold the
defendant over for trial on assault and
robbery charges.
"It's not (the former judge's) job
to decide guilt or innocence - only if
there's sufficient evidence of an in-
tent to commit unarmed robbery,"
Shelton said. "There was a significant
chain and trail that links the defen-
dant to the crime - particularly the
glove and the blood stain."
The judge noted Lankford's claim
that Ann Arbor and Detroit media
coverage would prejudice a jury, but
disagreed that it would prevent a fair
"I believe it's still possible to ob-
tain a jury of 12 impartial people -
especially since the trial is not going
to be held tomorrow," Shelton said. "I
believe it might be necessary to se-
See MITCHELL, Page 2

By Cathy Boguslaski
Daily Staff Reporter
State appropriations for the Uni-
versity of Michigan and Michigan
State University have remained equal
for 20 years, but this year Gov. John
Engler's proposed budget may break
that tradition.
Provost and Vice President for
Academic Affairs Gilbert R. Whitaker
Jr. yesterday told a meeting of the
University Board of Regents that
Engler's proposed increase for MSU
was $10 million greater than that for
the University.
Under the proposed state budget,
MSU would receive an additional $18
million from the state while the
University's increase would be about
$8 million, University President James
J. Duderstadt said.
"To generate that difference
through tuition would take a 16 per-
cent increase in our (in-state) tuition,"
Duderstadt said.
"Clearly, we would never make
that type of proposal, Duderstadt
The proposed differential in state
appropriations comes at a time when
full-time student enrollment at the
University has surpassed that of
Michigan State University,
Duderstadt said.
"A lot of people don't realize this,
but the U-M Ann Arbor campus is
now larger than MSU," he said.
University officials said they were
optimisticbthe proposal could be
changed before being passed by the
state Legislature.
"We hope coolei- heads will pre-
vail and everyone across the board
will get a 4.7-percent increase,"
Whitaker said.
Engler's budget recommends that,
while state appropriations in general
will rise 4.7 percent, most Michigan
colleges and universities will only
see a 3-percent rise.
Part of the problem stems from the
See TUITION, Page 2

MSA rep
testifies ini
House tax
By Amy Klein
Daily Staff Reporter
Following a Michigan Student
Assembly member's testimony yes-
terday, a state House committee
voted to elimante an amendment to
a bill, potentially saving many Uni-
versity students hundreds of dol-
LSA Rep. Mike Christie testi
fied before the state House Com-
mittee on Tax Policy in support of a
bill allowing Michigan residents a
tax deduction of up to $5,000 per
year for tuition costs.
Recent floor action in the Sen-
ate, however, attached a provision
restricting the deduction to students
at universities that hold their tuition
increases to the rate of inflation.
The committee voted to remove
the amendment. That amendment
would likely exclude University of
Michigan students fromthe tax de-
duction after the first year. Over the
past five years, the University's tu-
ition has increased an average of
10.1 percent per year, nearly 7 per-
cent more than the rate of inflation.
Christie said Tuesday night that
the proposed bill would hurt Uni-
versity students.
"No one at the University would
have gotten a deduction under this
bill because U-M's (tuition) increase
is above the rate of inflation,"
Christie said.
See MSA, Page 2
Jake Baker
faces new
adversity in
Net stories
By Josh White
Daily Staff Reporter
While LSA sophomore Jake Baker
faces his arraignment and enters a
plea on a federal charge at 3 p.m.
today, he also faces adversity on the
Internet, in the form of new postings
aimed at him.
The author of stories in which he
rapes, tortures and kills his victims,
Baker is now the subject of at least
two graphic accounts of his death. In
both stories posted on Internet news
groups, Baker is killed by a woman.
Baker is charged with transmitting
interstate threats to injure or kidnap
another person. He may face up to five
years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A California woman named Tanith
Tyrr, who says she is a professional
adult writer in one of her postings to
"alt.sex.stories," details the gun-point
abduction of a man she mist kenly
calls Joe Baker. She goes on to orture

him in various ways and violently
kills him.
"I do believe that illegal acts are
illegal acts, and invasion of privacy,
slander and harassment are not OK
things no matter where they are com-
mitted," Tyrr wrote in her posting.
"Yes; I went and did the same thing as
an act of protest, by writing this ugly

Mich. lawmakers consider
balanced budget amendment

y Zachary M. Raimi
aily Staff Reporter
The call for a federal balanced bud-
get amendment grew louder last week,
as President Clinton unveiled a $1.6
trillion budget for fiscal year 1996.
The resulting budget deficit would
be about $200 billion, making this the
26th consecutive year the federal gov-
ernment ran a deficit. The budget was
st balanced in 1969, during the
ixon administration.
The frustration of trying to bal-
ance the budget was captured during
the 1994 midterm elections, in the
"Contract With America," a list of
policy goals that most House Repub-
licans pledged to vote on.
Delivering on part of their prom-
ise last month, House Republicans
assed a constitutional amendment,
hich would require the federal gov-
ernment to balance the budget by
2002, and each year thereafter.
The amendment has advanced to
the Senate, where the vote promises
to be close. Should it pass the Senate,
38 states would still have to ratify it.
Gov. John Engler, in his State of

the state address last month, chal-
lenged the state Legislature to be the
first in the nation to ratify the amend-
"Right now we are in a race with
Wisconsin to see who's the first (state)
to pass it," said Patricia Masserant,
the governor's communications di-
"We believe (the Legislature)
should act on it immediately," she
The Michigan Constitution re-
quires a two-thirds vote in both the
state House and Senate to ratify a
proposed federal constitutional
amendment. The governor does not
have to sign it, nor can he veto it.
The last amendment to the Consti-
tution passed in 1992. The Madison
amendment, which became the 27th
amendment, stops members of Con-
gress from raising their pay until after
an election.
If the U.S. Senate passes the
amendment, the focus of the nation
will turn to state Legislatures.
Craig Ruff, president of Public
Sector Consultants, a public-policy

research firm based in Lansing, says
the amendment could pass. "It is prob-
able that it will be adopted," he said.
"Because the Republicans control
the committee procedures in both
houses," Ruff said, "they can ensure
that the ratification legislation would
make it to the floor of the Senate and
the House and that then puts Demo-
crats in the position of having to (is-
sue) a yes or no vote on a federal
balanced budget amendment."
Janet Ellis, spokeswoman for state
Senate Majority Leader Dick
Posthumus (R-Alto) said it will pass
the Senate. "We don't anticipate a
problem passing it," she said.
Like Engler, Posthumus "would
be delighted if Michigan is the first
state to sign the amendment," she
The Republicans hold a 22-16 seat
majority in the Senate.
State Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith
(D-South Lyon), who represents
Washtenaw County, said she will not
support it. "I have some real concerns
of the consequences," she said
See BUDGET, Page 7

A nibt of poetry
Allen Ginsberg reads from his poem "Kaddish" last night at Hill Auditorium
before a crowd of almost 4,000 people. See story, Page 5.

.Secretary of State accuses 14 of campaign fund abuse

LANSING (AP) - Secretary of
State Candice Miller, saying a new
day had dawned in campaign finance
enforcement, called for criminal pros-
ntinn vPcta.rAa fr 1 A nnn1P in_

meanor charges against the candi-

dates or their
campaign trea-
surers. If found
mnilty_ thew cnnird

dropped after Saunders filed the re-
ports and paid $2,950 in late fees.
Last month, the Michigan Cham-
ber of Commerce called on state ac-
tion to withhold Sanders' nav until

had filed them about a month ago.
A spokeswoman for Miller, Liz
Boyd, confirmed late yesterday that
Mathis's reports had been found and his
name would he removed from the list.

attorney general's office and the sec-
retary of state's office informed."
Coleman said he expected have
his reports filed next week.
Miller's chief of staff. Pat Ander-




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