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September 28, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-28

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 28, 1995

Defense m
to ask for
spli*t trials
I Defendants may testify
against each other
From Daily Wire Services
OKLAHOMA CITY - In a major
'reak over legal strategy, the two de-
tense teams in the Oklahoma City bomb-
ing split yesterday over some of the
nost important issues in the case andno
longer agree about who should hear the
rial or whether it should be held any-
where in the state.
The abrupt breakdown in what had
been shaping up as a dual-track defense
is now seen by some legal observers as
setting the groundwork for separate tri-
als for defendants Timothy McVeigh
and Terry Nichols. That scenario also
raisesthepossibility that the two former
Army buddies eventually would testify'
against each other at trial.
Michael Tigar, an Austin, Texas, at-
torney representing Nichols, filed an
appeal yesterday with the 10th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver,
pressing higher his demand that U.S.
District Judge Wayne Alley of Okla-
homa City step down.
He argued that Alley is a "victim" of
the April 19 bombing because his court-
room and chambers were damaged when
the blast destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building next door.
The lawyer suggested that Alley's deci-
sion earlier this month not to step down had
a "somewhat contemptuous tone" and that

Supreme Court to
rule on race cases

Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and first lady Cathy Keating speak with the media Tuesday before their "Thank You America
Tour," in which they will visit four cities to offer thanks to those who helped following the federal building's April bombing.

the judge's "conclusion is unwarranted."
"Can a judge who, along with his co-
workers, has himself been directly vic-
timized by a crime of violence sit in
judgment over one accused of commit-
ting that very crime?" Tigar asked the
appellate court.
Lastmonth, Stephen Jones ofEnid, Okla.,
the lawyer for McVeigh, sided with Tigar in
legal briefs urging Alley to excuse himself.
But now he said he has changed his mind and
is willing to accept Alley.
Jones said he fears that a replacement
judge could be more detrimental to the

On a second front, Tigar said he plans
to file a separate appeal for a change of
venue, challenging Alley's decision to
hold the bombing trial in Lawton, in the
southwest part of the state. Tigar wants
the trial held outside of Oklahoma.
Jones earlier embraced the change-
of-venue issue with Tigar. But now he
said he may very well drop that position
in favor of Lawton, pointing to a new
statewide poll that - surprisingly -
shows 45 percent of residents in the
state's southwest region are undecided

about McVeigh's guilt or innocence.
From the beginning, Jones' client
has beendepicted as the prime mover in
the bombing that killed 169 people and
injyred another 600.
*k I'm warming to Lawton," Jones said.
Both defense attorneys also said they
want separate trials. Tigar has repeatedly
pointed out that Nichols was not even in
Oklahoma on the day of the blast. But
Jones has indicated that McVeigh never
.had the means or the brains to single-
handedly carry out the worst terrorist
attack in the United States.

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - The Supreme
Court said yesterday it would decide
the politically charged question of
whether the government must adjust
census figures to compensate for the
undercounting of racial minorities in
the nation's big cities.
A ruling in the case ultimately could
change the apportionment of congres-
sional seats and distribution of federal
funds among states.
"It all boils down to power and
money," observed Barbara Everitt
Bryant, director of the Census Bureau
from 1989 to 1993.
Bryant, commenting yesterday on the
court's announcement, noted that cen-
sus data are used not only to reappor-
tion Congress but to draw districts for
legislative seats down to the city coun-
cil level.
The case arises from a decision by
Bush administration Commerce Secre-
tary Robert Mosbacher not to adjust the
1990 population count after census of-
ficials determined there had been an
undercount of minorities and certain
ethnic groups.
That decision, challenged by New
York, Los Angeles, Chicago and the
District of Columbia among other cit-
ies, became an issue in the 1992 elec-
tions. Democrats argued the GOP ad-
ministration deliberately refused to ac-
count for inner-city residents who were
likely to vote Democratic. Ronald
Brown, then-chairman of the Demo-
cratic National Committee and now
President Clinton's commerce secre-
tary, attacked the Bush administration
for the decision.
But after a federal appeals court in
Manhattan ruled last year that
Mosbacher did not do enough to ensure
an accurate head count, the Clinton
Justice Department appealed to the high
In accepting the appeal, United States
vs. City of New York, the court unoffi-
cially opened its new term. As is their
tradition, the justices will not begin
hearing cases until Oct. 2, the first
Monday in October. But as the court
has done in the past two years, it made
an early start on new cases to supple-
ment a relatively slim calendar carried
over from last term.
The justices also said yesterday they
would hear a sentencing appeal from
two police officers convicted in the

highly publicized, videotaped beating
of Rodney King in Los Angeles fdurt
years ago.
After former sergeant Stacey Koon
and officer Laurence Powell were con-
victed by a federal jury of civil rights
violations, they were sentenced to 30
months in prison. An appeals court ruled
last year that the sentencing judge im-
properly departed from federal sentenc-
ing guidelines and the sentences should
have been at least 70 months.
The trial judge had reduced their
prison time largely because the defen-
dant police officers initially had been
provoked by King, because they would
be susceptible to abuse in prison, and
because they were tried both in state
and federal courts.

Critics question Oregon's
new mail balloting system

From Daily Wire Services
PORTLAND, Ore. - When Oregon
conducts its primary for replacing Re-
publican Sen. Bob Packwood later this
year, the ballot box will be as near as the
corner mailbox. Analysts say this simple
experiment in mail-order democracy
could forever change the way campaigns
are run - and, some warn, threaten the
process of community-building that oc-
curs when citizens gather at their polling
The new vote-by-mail experiment,
never before attempted in a congressional
election, is heralded as awayto save up to
$2.5 million a year in election costs and
lure large numbers of voters to the polls.
Critics say it will make campaigns more
expensive by forcing candidates to seek
longerpre-election exposure andwill open
the door to potential fraud.
Some political analysts predict that
vote-by-mail balloting, already widely
used in local issue races in Oregon, will
givebetter-organized Republicans an edge
and could mean a new level of political
engineering by churches and other social
groups with the ability to organize ballot-
ing within their memberships.
"You can easily see the potential for
families sitting down together and decid-
ing how to vote, and what scares every-
body is the churches sitting down to-
gether and saying you can vote however
you want-hell is an option," saidJames
D. Moore, political science professor at
the University of Portland.

The Oregon Legislature in the closing
hours ofits last session in June adopted a,
statewide vote-by-mail measure Ahi
would have required all elections to b
conducted by post. But Gov. John
Kitzhaber vetoed the law, saying :he
thought the idea needed further study.
The Democratic governor was repent
edly urged into caution by both politiei
parties. Democrats feared that the Repul
licans' superior organizational abilitdes
would give them the edge. Republicans
worried that ballots would be place&° in
the hands of large numbers of Democrats
who usually don't bother to vote.
Packwood's recent decision to leav
office Oct. 1 in the wake of the'.e
scandal surrounding him provided an
opportunity for all sides to give the toaid-
in ballot a trial run in both a Dec:
primary and the general election on Jn
Past experiments in local elections hate
participation and only one reported in-
stance of fraud, when a county comnif
sioner in southwest Oregon filled out'a
ballot on behalf of his wife, who was i
the hospital.
Government officials have downplaYed
the potential forfraud,incorporatingcare
ful signature checks and a double enve-
lope to protect the secret ballot. Critics
say the measure nonetheless opens tle
door to problems when ballots begin
"floating around" in people's homes and

(Lifestyle Enrichment and Advancement Pmgram)
in cooperation with
T1rIa & TIME
AX A AT A ('V'11,rtNTT


I Al 1 USU IILI -7

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