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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 20, 1975)
monday, October 20, 1975 volume 99 number 32 lincoln, nebraska
S peake rs jab Lewis inquiry
State Sen. Ernest Chambers
urged students to sign petitions
calling for a grand jury investi
gation of Sherdell Lewis's death
at Friday's open meeting.
'By Liz Crumley and George Miller
About 500 persons heard seven speakers
Friday attack the investigation of the Sept.
24 shooting death of Arvid Sherdell Lewis.
The meeting, sponsored by the ASUN
Senate, was called to "discuss in an orderly
fashion" Lewis's shooting, according to
Sen. Tony Williams.
Speakers included Omaha State Sen.
Ernest Chambers, Lincoln City Councilman
John Robinson, Lancaster County
Commissioner Bruce Hamilton and Jimmi
Smith, Charles Rogers, Roger Elliott and
Ronald Massie of the Justice for Lewis
County Sheriff Merle Karnopp, City
Councilman Robert Sikyta and a Lincoln
Police Dept. representative had said they
would address the crowd, but failed to
Lincoln Mayor Helen Boosalis said she
would attend to answer questions .but left
before the question-and-answer period
County Atty. Ron Lahners refused to
attend, saying it "wasnot in the best
interests of his office to come."
Also attending the meeting was Barbara
Kelly, Lewis's mother, who said she was
"deeply touched" by the turnout.
"If the death of my son is what it's
taken to. bring you all together, then this
is a great day," she said.
. Hamilton said, "if we are watchful, if
we show concern, if we are responsible and
continue to demand truth, the truth will
Chambers said Lahners's investigation of
the Lewis shooting showed "disorganiza
tion, lack of competency and a total dis
regard of constitutional principles" by law
"The police are creating an environment
where anything a person in uniform does
is acceptable," he said.
Chambers said the police "went aftei
Lewis because he was black, because he
drove a black Cadillac with a white top and
diamond window in the rear and because
he had a white girl friend."
Hamilton said information Lahners
released raised more questions than it
Grand jury alternative
"A grand jury remains our only
responsible alternative to Lahners's investi
gation," he said.
All seven speakers stressed student
involvement in a petition drive calling for
a grand jury investigation.
To force the calling of tne grand jury by
petition, 4,828 signatures are required
from registered Lancaster County voters.
The number represents 10 per cent of the
county residents who voted in the last
Hamilton predicted that a grand jury
would be calkd, "hopefully with a special
prosecutor who will present all the facts
to the grand jury."
Robinson advocated, a review of the
recruitment, training and enforcement
policies and procedures of Lincoln and
Lancaster County law enforcement
Elliott read a letter from the Justice for
Lewis Committee in response to what
Elliott said was a request by Lahners for
committee cooperation in arresting black
citizens in Lancaster County.
The letter, addressed to Lahners, accus
ed police officers of "intimidation, harrass
ments and coercion" and refused coopera
tion. It requested Lahners's assistance in
"removing all programs advocating 'police
as a friend,' especially where black children
are involved" in the Lincoln Public
Low-psych conference : commitmen f lows abused
By Theresa Foreman ana Dick Hovorka
The so-called vagueness and abuse of
civil commitment laws and the methods
used tq release-inmates .from prison .head-.
lined discussions during the concluding
session of the Law-Psychology Research
Conference at UNL's Law College.
Too many .persons are committed to
mental hospitals on the presumption that
they may be dangerous, said Saleem Shah,
who directs the Center for Studies of
Crime and Deliquency for the National
Institute of Mental Health in Washington
He said he does not know why this
reason for mrnitting persons has 'not
Judges commit persons because they are
presumed dangerous, but many state laws
don't include a definition of dangerousness
or mental disorder, Shah said. .
"This makes dangerousness a many
3?lendored thing," he said. "You can
efine it any way you want to.
"In Nebraska, a person could be com
mitted for biting his fingernails," Shah
In the judge's mind, a dangerous act
if ibiuu mm
Mexican Festival Starts: Profile of
pianist Viviano Valdez. ...... p.3
Editorial . '. p.4
Arts and Entertainment p.6
Crossword ................ p.S
Short Stuff p.5
Momlay: Mostly sunny &ni mild. High!
in the low 70s.
Monday nhjit. Temperatures ranging
from 40 to 45. -
Tuesday: Clear to psitly cloudy. High
temperatures in the m;j-60s.
becomes a dangerous trait which becomes a
dangerous individual, he said. The act
which started the whole irrational line of
. thinking is often nothing more than most
of us do every day, he said.
Shah said dangerousness in one situation
is not necessarily permanent dangerousness.
If one of the factors which make a person
act dangerously is taken away, it is possible
he no longer will be a threat and commit
ment will be unnecessary.
R. Kir kl and Schwitzgebel, of California
Lutheran College, said commitment is the
easy way to deal with mental disorders
because mental institutions have a low
Schwitzgebel said many psychiatric in
stitutions are unreliably rated because most
are judged by the money they spend, not
on quality. Institutions should be judged
on the type, amount and effectiveness of
treatment, he said. ,
Schwitzgebel has conducted a study of
WW I I M IWUi
By Tcrri Willaon
Nebraska Atty. Gen. Paul Douglas ruled
last week that NU's reciprocal agreement
with regional and nearby veterinary schools
does not violate Nebraska's constitution.
NU'i Department of Veterinary Science
offers two years of pre-vcteiinarian study
and conducts research, teaching and educa
tional extension programs. But students
must teke four years of doctorate work at
another university. , ' ' v
The contractual program by which NU
fcefps veterinary science students pay their
way to veterinary schools in other states
was examined last month by the Legisla
ture's board to see if it agreed with Article
7, Section 11 of the Nebraska constitution.
'It stales tfsat.iso state or local money can
be $gcfd on any project not under the
control of Nebraska or any of the state's
locsl political subdMslons. ,
According to' Marvin Twiehaus, eha?
tnsn of NU's Veterinary Science Dept., the
Baiversity now supports 67 veterinary
student fit Old&horna, Colorado, Missouri,
Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota. ,
Dokss ruling, released ' Oct. 10,
Hates that the Legislature has provided
that the NU Board of Regents may enter
bto ayrctn.cnts with schools o coHegss of
several psychiatric institutions for his book,
, Street Comer Research. He cited a hospital
in Missouri which gives mental patients
.; about 20 . minutes of .therapy per week.
This helps prove that persons are being
held for preventive detention under the
guise of treatment, he said.
He said maltreatment in mental hos
pitals is difficult to sue against "because
everyone knows the plaintiff is crazy.
'The time is long past due for the
mental health profession to render account
ability" Schwitzgebel said.
David B. Wexler, a law professor from
Arizona University said few defendants
plead insanity because if they are found
insane, they will be sent to a psychiatric
hospital for an indefinite time.
The hospital and court should work to
gether to decide if a patient should be re
leased from a hospital once he is commit
ted, Wexler said. The institution should,
judge whether the patient is ready to be
released; the court should make the final
decision, he said.,
The hospital then would not have to
consider moral aspects of the crime, he
Wexler said a prisoner should be allowed
to voluntarily transfer to a hospital for
psychological treatment. He said most
prisoners now can transfer only
Wexler also advocated an "objective
method" of releasing a person from prison,
in which a prisoner would work toward a
predetermined goal during his sentence,
such as attaining a high' school diploma, he
The method contrasts with three others
used to release prisoners, which include a
straight time sentence: a "subjective ruling"
(the prison determines if the inmate has
"developed socially constructive ideas),
and a sentence in which the prisoner is not
told how he can be released, Wexler said.
Attorney Genera! Pais! Douglas
fhim by T4 Kb&
veterinary medians md surgery 'in other
If NU's Veterinary Science Dcpt; makes
contracts with schools owned or exclusive
ly controlled by oilier states or political
subdivisions of other states, the contracts
are 'not in violation of the stats consti
tution. " Nebraska Sen. Frank Lewis f Belkvue,
chairman of the Unicameral's Education
Committee, said, hat month Douglas would
have go choice ether than to rule the
program illegal. Thursday tie said lie' was
"surprised to hear the attorney general's
opinion, although he said he had not read
Meanwhile, the search for a Eve-state
regional veterinary school site continues.
The Old West Regional Commission decid
ed in September, according to Twkhaus,
that there is definite need for such a school
Jn one of the five midwestern states of
Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota,
Wyoming and Colorado.
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