The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 18, 1991, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    An 80 percent chance of show
ers and thunderstorms today
with the low in the mid-50s.
Tonight, a 70 percent chance
of ram with the low in the mid
AOs. Windy and cool Friday
with the low in the 50s and a 30
percent chance of rain.
■ m
Senators revive bill to kill death penalty
By Tabitha Hiner
Senior Reporter
After state senators vcfed to ex
tract from the Judiciary Com
mittee a bill to abolish the
death penalty, the sponsor said he
thought LB327 had a strong chance
of making it through the Legislature.
Omaha Sen.
Ernie Chambers
said he thought
many of the
senators voting
25-20 to debate
LB327 will sup
port it on the
floor. The bill
has 24 co-sponsors.
LB327 would eliminate the death
penalty in Nebraska and replace it
with life imprisonment without the
chance of parole.
Chambers opened discussion on
the bill by saying the death penalty
has too many inconsistencies.
Even after the Nebraska Supreme
Court sentences someone to death,
judges will hesitate to condemn an
other person who commits a similar
act, Chambers said.
Sen. Jerome Warner agreed.
“There is nothing in the death
penally that is sure, swift or certain
that is consistently applied,” the
Waverly senator said.
Chambers also called the death
penalty inefficient and expensive
because appeals keep criminals on
death row for years.
Lincoln Sen. LaVon Crosby and
Omaha Sen. John Lindsay linked the
bill to abortion legislation. Both sena
tors supported LB425, a bill requiring
parental notification before minors
obtain abortions.
“For me it’s a life issue,” Crosby
said. “. . . I simply cannot vote for
anything that is going to take some
one’s life.”
Chambers said such support showed
If senators consider the fetus to be
a person, he said, their unwillingness
to kill that life transfers to opposition
of the death penalty. Chambers has
long opposed anti-abortion legisla
Omaha Sen. Carol McBride Pirsch,
Coleridge Sen. Elroy Hefner and
Omaha Sen. Jerry Chizek were the
vocal opponents of Chambers’ bill. |
Pirsch said she resented the corre
lation senators made of a “cold-blooded
murderer with the human life of a
newborn baby.”
Because murder is irreversible and
the most violent crime, Hefner said,
the only equivalent penalty the state
has is death.
“I feel that in order for a punish
ment to be effective, it must fit the
crime,” Hefner said. “Anything less
than the death penalty for . . . cold
blooded murder is not fit for the crime.”
Eliminating the death penalty would
be an “insult to the grief of the family
of the victim,” he said.
Chizek, chairman of the Judiciary
Committee, said the bill should re- j
main in the committee because it
received a 4-4 vote. Five committee
members must support a bill for it to
advance out of committee.
“I just think that if we continue to
pull bills from committee, then we’re 5
setting a precedent,” he said.
Sen. Dennis Baack of Kimball said
he supported the motion for the same
Baack said the bill should not “be
held hostage in a committee with
eight members.” j
Ewing Sen. M.L. “Cap” Dierks
said he supports the motion because
23 people executed in the United States
had later been proved innocent.
Dierks also cited statistics that
showed murder rates in states with
the death penalty are higher than in
those without the death penalty. He
said 4.9 murders per 100,000 people
occur in states without a death pen
alty while 7.4 murders occur in states
with the penalty.
Lincoln Sen. DiAnna Schimek gave
statistics from a 1987 Bureau of So
cial Research survey that indicate that
“when confronted with a full range of
alternatives, only 21 percent prefer
the death penalty over all range of
Other senators said that although
they think their constituents favor the
death penally, their consciences won’t
allow them to vote for it.
Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers opens discussion Wednesday on LB327, a bill that would abolish
Nebraska’s death penalty.
Diversions ex
plores the fine arts
world inhabited by
UNL students. Page
K ! 1 I Educators at a
fj Chicano forum call for
-** changes in the edu
cational system. Page 3.
A NCAA gymnastic championship shot
for the Huslcers depends on a Friday
night win. Page 13.
Wire INDEX 2
Opinion 4
Diversions 5
Sports 13
Charges pending
Queer Nation Nebraska member to file for alleged assault
By Tabitha Miner
Senior Reporter
A Queer Nation Nebraska member is
pressing charges against a University
of Nebraska-Lincoln student for alleg
edly pulling, kicking and spitting at him at last
week’s kiss-in rally opposing ROTC discrimi
nation against homosexuals.
Scott Shanks, a senior in the Teachers Col
lege, said he decided to press charges the day
after videotaping the alleged attack by Shawn
Swanson, a general studies freshman.
“I’m going to pursue every channel to see
that the message is sent that you don’t attack
people,” Shanks said. “You can disagree with
them — that’s fine.”
The Lancaster County Attorney Office is in
charge of the legal prosecution, while the UNL
Student Affairs Office is investigating what
Shanks called a “gross violation of conduct.”
His personal attorney is helping him sue for
physical damages. Shanks said.
Shanks was videotaping the kiss-in rally
outside the Military and Naval Science Build
ing April 10 when Swanson approached him.
Swanson then kicked, spit at and pulled
Shanks until he fell, Shanks said.
Physical damages include a broken eye
piece on his video camera and a scratched
eyeglass lens where the video camera hit it,
Shanks said.
He said he also suffered injuries to his
shoulder and neck from the fall.
Shanks will meet with the county attorney
Friday to discuss what legal charges the office
will file, he said.
Swanson could not be reached for comment.
Relations position filled temporarily — again
By Pat Dinslage
Senior Editor
UNL will have a director of uni
versity relations when the cur
rent interim director retires on
May 1, but once again only on a
temporary basis, officials said Wednes
Michael Mulnix, current director
of public relations, has been named to
take charge of the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln university relations
office, said Herb Howe, associate to
the UNL chancellor.
Mulnix will replace the current
interim director, Neale Copple. The
former journalism college dean has
held the position since August 1990,
when Tom Krepel left. Copple had
planned to retire on March 1, but
delayed leaving until May 1.
Howe said the search for a perma
nent university relations director has
been put on hold until a new UNL
chancellor is named.
“(Interim Chancellor Jack) Goe
bel decided that since it is so late in
the year to hold off because the new
chancellor may want to structure the
position differently,” Howe said.
For example, the new chancellor
may want to combine Howe’s posi
tion and the university relations posi
tion, Howe said, or may want to put
the public relations and government
relations functions together.
“The new chancellor may have his
or her own ideas how these responsi
bilities go together,” he said, “and
Jack thought it best to leave that per
son the freedom to structure it as he or
she wants.”
Howe said it is unlikely that a
permanent university relations direc
tor will be appointed before fall.
He said Mulnix was selected for
the interim because he has experi
ence in government relations work.
Mulnix worked in government rela
tions at the University of Alaska at
Mulnix said he handled legislative
relations for four to five years in Alaska
and secs similarities between the media
relations and government relations
“The questions that legislators have
arc the same ones the media have,” he
Mulnix said he does not know
whether he will fill the position on a
permanent basis.
“They asked to me help fill in,” he
said. “Whether or not that is perma
nent depends on who the chancellor
is. But I enjoy working with the Leg