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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 25, 1974)
friday, January 25, 1974
lincoln, nebraska vol 97, no. 7
Attorneys tell methods for your day in court'
By Vtfes Albert
Many an old movie has been
climaxed by the antics of a defendant
without legal training who represents
himself, impresses the judge and wins
With the Legislature's creation of
Small Claims Courts last January,
arguing cases without legal aid is more
than ever a reality. Winning them may
be a different matter.
In a seminar at the Nebraska Union
Thursday evening, AS UN student
lawyer Bruce Hamilton and John
Stevens Berry, a local private attorney,
outlined methods for effective
handling of Small Claims Court cases.
Hamilton told about 50 students
the advantage of the Small Claims
Court is that it's "a simple, quick
people's court with no lawyers around
to foul things up.
"The rules of evidence are very
informal," he said. "You just go down
and tell your story."
The Small Claims Courts were
created by the Legislature to handle
legal disputes on claims of $500 or
less. No attorneys are present and the
proceedings are informal.
"The judges and clerks are they have," Hamilton said. He added,
supposed to lean over backwards to however, that a knowledge of basic
make this system work, and so far procedure would not hurt persons
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I 'Y"" a V ffZSZM Scum road,
By Mark Hoffman
' "Like water dripping on stones." That's how Council on
Student Life (CSL) Chairman Don Shaneyfelt described
and encouraged UNL students' effdrts ?q change the
regents' position on dormitory visitation rules.
Although the process may be slow, persistent student
efforts might bring about change, Shaneyfelt said, while
discussing visitation-related matters with four students at
the CSL meeting Thursday night
The discussion centered around the suspension of
Residence Hall Assoc. (RHA) hours at Harper Hall for three
days. The suspension began Tuesday.
John Wiltse, a Harper Hall student assistant, told the
Council that a letter-writing campaign had been started by
Harper Hall and expanded to other UNL dormitories.
The purpose of the campaign is to express student
dissatisfaction with visitation policy, including the "open
door" policy, according to Wiltse.
Harper Hall lost its RHA hours because dormitory,
officials felt that residents were not complying with the
"open door" rule by keeping their doors open when they
had female guests.
He said tha letters are "not threatening, not dictatorial,"
but an effort by students to express dissatisfaction with the
"open door" rule.
"If we want to be trea.sd like adults, we will act like
adults," Wiltse said, in explaining why students had
undertaken writing letters to the regents.
He said that students are trying to develop a little
patience, but "if they keep having crackdowns, if (students)
are rebuked by the regents," students are going to lose
patience with working within the system.
"The hardest thing for students to do is to take a
sensible approach and then not be treated sensibly," Wiitso
He said that some students feel the only way they can
gat something from the regents is by violating existing rules.
By violating rules students will look iroKnnmihla and
irrational, he said. The aim of the letter-writing campaign is
to take an adult approach and hope that approach is not
turned down by the regents, he said.
Previous student attempts to discuss visitation, or other,
dormitory-related matters, have been turned down by the
regents pending the outcome of a lawsuit against UNL.
The lawsuit, introduced by RHA, is about visitation and
alcohol rules in UNL dormitories.
Wiltse also asked the Council if UNL administration and
faculty would publicly reaffirm their position supporting
students' positions on visitation policies.
Shaneyfelt said that the Council was on record in
supporting a relaxation of visitation rules.
The Council also discussed sending a letter to the regents
asking clarification of whether dormitory lounges, stairwells
and hallways are included as rooms subject to co-ed
A group of 40 students last week asked that the Council
take action on the question.
CSL will hold its next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the
C.Y. Thompson Library basement on East Campus.
using the court
Hamilton said plaintiffs could save
time by filing claim petitions in the
court with the shortest backlog of
cases. Both Lancaster County and the
city of Lincoln have Small Claims
A four-to six-week wait before the
case comes up is typical, Berry said.
The lawyers also suggested having a
summons served by the sheriff rather
than through registered mail to insure
"Serving a summons is cheaper by
registered mail, but not wise unless
you know the defendant's address and
are sure the summons will get there,"
Preparing and practicing an opening
statement is also valuable, Berry said
"Preparing an opening statement
helps you organize your facts and also
lets the judges know if you have a
valid cause of action," he explained.
Berry said proving a case involves
"stating what you want and
proceeding logically with as many
witnesses as you can get." He stressed
the importance of having all witnesses
present during the trial.
Phi Eta Siqma
Membership certificates for
Phi Eta Siama. natinna!
L'j a i scholastic honorary for
CeniTIC3I25 Mere freshmen men, may be picked
. up m Avery 31 1.
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Vietnamese-American orphsns, ehandonsd by their
parents and ostracized by tha Vietnamese, are
finding homos with American famsSIes, Ssa Paga 2.
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