Newspaper Page Text
THE SUNDAY STAR, Washington, D. C. SUNDAY, MAY 3, 1953 Metropolitan Scene— What With Fewer Crazy Pleas and More Indictments Here, It's Getting So a Man Can't Earn a Dishonest Living It’s too bad Justice is blind folded. Perhaps she would have caught up earlier wjth a few legal loopholes that nave tipped her scales slightly in favor of the crooks of the community. The good news now, how ever, is that the balance grad ually is being restored. Consider that, a few months ago, a smart mouthpiece had a good chance of getting a common crook off the hook by asking for a lunacy hear ing. The gag was that his client was mentally too upset to stand trial. The judge would ask an alienist who would agree. After brief confine ment in a mental institution the crook would be out. Too frequently the prosecutor, by this time, was involved in an other case or loath to waste time on a trial where the issue of sanity was involved. If the crook did have to stand trial, the defense would argue that the mental instability already recognized by the court was present at the time of the crime. Too often he escaped jail. That loophole now has been narrowed. Judges are taking a closer look at pleas of men tal unfitness for trial. Pleas now must be in writing. Prosecutors have agreed not to drop the cases when the crooks are released from con finement as cured. Consider also that, until re cently, a man charged by police with committing 80 Eainted with the SENSATIONAL RELAXING MIRACLE J pi DE/IGNE W MM M MM ■ V # AND MEET MARIE, pioneer of CONTOURjCOMFMT f p||| ILY chair in the world I 11 * ' all these exciting new features lilMl LVIHG ARMREST : iwSp^^l MGERTIP CONTROL lli >IUSTABLE HEADREST AM A ECORATOR COVERINGS K « i KEE WHEELING OPERATION .•sais I ADJUSTABLE mm ne individual P o ***** 0 Vt «**7 1 r uniting the b*** Have you ever changed your mind while A4^A*-'T<M oaors, recog- relaxing in a chair, and decided that the SHS2\J! iT •arors, expert- headrest was a little too hard or too aoft, esigners and or at the wrong angle? You had to get up t engineers. orts produced N A would be the wrong size and shape, still ntoured chair NEW KPHB| ' never achieving perfect relaxation. SSvSSS* FOLDING ARMREST Ml'' rjSSIJNMI Th. MAKIE dcsi.nc, Ch.i, tol.e. Mpf>f own MARIE FOLDIN'* ARMKfcdT these problems; just lounge back and a*. 4A agree fingertip control, the luxurious re j„t . EXERCISES * n m,n<^ NG Only the Marie chair has the folding ...... . Now, with mere fingertip control you mr«. Jun open k and >,t down. ffi£ KlErffSfeMT CHAIR jofc j ’ action of an thewe‘|nr>ccestirT^' petit Yon can never visualize this l | This is how your body'fits’ in a cradle your body, thus distinguishing t Vj^V-'A tvaubodv.! F<?r ,c ’ <nHf ' c construe- 3P ..... ■MI in..l City Stota [■■ Ll I %‘iwiiihii * —■■" ' "“' ■"'"" ■'■‘■■' '■■ Open From 9 io 9 This Week 1327 GST. N.W. NA. 8-6488 By John W. Thompson, Jr. crimes could have his cases gradually thinned out as they passed through the legal ma chinery until imposition of concurrent sentences by a judge on the final few guilty pleas resulted actually in a single sentence. This was in effect an invitation to repeat crime. This loophole, too, is being plugged. Police will turn over to the prosecutor all cases against the crook. These will be screened for all containing reasonable grounds for indict ment. The United States at torney then will decide how many of them—if not all— should be presented to the grand jury. Where an indict ment is returned, prosecution will follow in every case ex cept where a plea of guilty is entered or where disappear ance of key evidence or wit nesses nullifies the Govern ment case. And, where guilty pleas are made, you may see more consecutive instead of concurrent sentences being im posed. This tightening up in the forces of justice is bound to have its effect on the criminal element. Only the other day a crook, brooding in District Jail over consecutive sentences imposed on him, blew the whistle on an accomplice friend who was then arrested by police. The accomplice then further implicated the informer. Yes, things definitely are looking up for the honest man. ** * * Montgomery Tax Problems Maryland State tax officials reportedly are worried that taking the controversial Mont gomery County reassessment complaints to the courts may upset the whole property tax structure. Under State law property is supposed to be assessed at fair market value, which none of the county assessors are doing. If they did assessments would be much higher than those being fought in Montgomery. A court finding that the law was not being followed could add to the confusion that al ready surrounds the issue. In Montgomery the other day the Home Owners’ Tax League voted to go to court to force the commission to equalize assessments both within the county and with other counties. League Presi dent Brig. Gen. Adam Rich mond resigned in protest of the action. ** * * Drive-in Craze Curb food service, drive-in theaters, drive-in banks. Now comes Arlington County Board wanting the Post Office De partment to install drive-in letter boxes so motorists can deposit their mail without get ting out of their cars. Pretty soon a man may be able to handle all his daily chores without once leaving the driv er's seat. East German Refugees Undergo Screening in Berlin BERLIN.—Since the first of March, this year, 40,000 refu gees have fled Eastern Ger many. Between 1949, when the voluntary emigration began, and 1953 most of those who fled came by ‘way of the so called “green frontier”—the forests and meadows adjoining the border, rather than byway of Berlin. But since June, the eastern police have established a 10-mile-wide “no man’s land” along the frontier sep arating East from West Ger many. As a result. Berlin re mains the sole point where transit is possible. A thorough check of all trains traveling to the capital and of the subway lines lead ing into West Berlin is impos sible since travel to Berlin is not forbidden. All ,that is needed for the flight is a plau sible excuse for traveling to Berlin. However, there are many individuals who, by be coming rattled, have failed to convince Communist interro gators of their ostensible rea son for the trip to Berlin. Many have paid dearly for their moment of hesitation. The punishment for attempted flight is forced labor in the uranium mines or prison—or sometimes, for the younger people, compulsory conscrip tion into the shock troops of the “Popular Police.” The Refugee Court For those who have success fully crossed the line, one final obstacle must be overcome be fore they can be granted sanc tuary in the Federal Republic. This is the “Refugee Court,” where every refugee must be judged worthy of the protec tion of the Federal Republic. Without this official protection a refugee cannot leave West Berlin. In the past, the verdicts of this tribunal have been strict. He who cannot prove persecu tion as a result of his political attitude fails to be classified as an official refugee. Without this legal designation a refu gee has no legal protection and no opportunity of finding work in the republic. The latest directives, however, have been more lenient in this respect. A special law recently passed by the Bonn Parliament has ac corded to the 10 million refu gees already in Western Ger many equality in law with the citizens of the republic. Fur thermore. the members of the tribunal are permitted to ex ercise their discretion in cases not clearly set forth in the statutes. I visited' the Kaiserdamm tribunal and attended several hearings. Three persons were seated around a table. All were officials who had been refugees themselves several years earlier. A farmer was interrogated first. He was middle-aged. “Why were you unable to deliver the number of pigs that the authorities demanded?” one of the officials wanted to know. “They were sick so I re placed them with the equiv alent in cows,” the farmer re plied. “So, you were a ‘kulak,’ ” said a member of the board, smil ing. “That’s what they said,” re plied the man. “And when I wasn’t able to deliver the re quired amount of milk, they also requisitioned my pastures.” “And after?” “And since I wasn't able to By Donald J. Rabin hand over anything more, they ordered me to report to the police.” the farmer said. “Did you go?” an official asked. The man scratched his head. “Os course not, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” the farmer said. “Did you bring your sum mons with you?” the officials wanted to know. The farmer, worried, an swered, “If I had been found with it on the train it would have been the end of me.” “Very well, will you please leave the room?” said the pre siding officier. Now the tribunal deliber ated. It was evident that this man could no longer live in the eastern zone. Although his life had not been directly menaced he had very good reasons for leaving. “Category II,” decided the presiding officer, after having consulted the dossier of the “kulak.’' The farmer was asked to re turn to the room. He was nervous, refusing even the in vitation to be seated. “The tribunal considers that you had very good reasons for wishing to flee the zone,” the Armed Reserves Clean House A gigantic game of “name dropping”—not the kind prac ticed by Washington's influ ence peddlers now being played out under the direc tion of the Pentagon involves several thousand Army and officer said gently. “Therefore the Federal Republic will re ceive you. You have all the rights and duties of a citizen of this country. You will be evacuated to the West. Since your life was not menaced, however, you cannot be classi fied as a political refugee. But if you wish, you may appeal for reclassification.” “Oh, that's all right with me just as it is,” beamed the farmer. “Citizen of Western Ger many, citizen of Western Ger many,” he repeated joyfully to himself as he strode from the room. A woman came in after the farmer had left. She was young, and spoke very little German. She was Lithuanian, married to a German worker from Silesia. “My husband left for West Germany six months ago,” she told the tribunal. “I wanted to join him. But my neigh bors were watching me too carefully. The police ordered me to appear every other day. I was told, ‘You aren’t Ger man—you are a Soviet citizen and you will be required to return to Lithuania and to di vorce your husband!’ That's true, I am not German.” “That is not important,” said one of the tribunal members, By John B. Spore Air Force Reserve officers who voluntarily lost their commis sioned status last month. The final score of the game —the number of names dropped from the mighty paper Army and Air Force the two services’ adjutants general have maintained in martial rows of filing cabinets since the end of World War ll— won’t be known until after June 9. That is the deadline for final reports by subordinate headquarters scattered over the United States. Two Laws The need for this massive clean-out has long been rec ognized by the military. Two laws passed by Congress last year made it possible. The first law provided that all Army and Air Force re serve commissions that had been given five or more years ago—and extended for the Korean emergency—would be terminated on April 1, 1953. This affected the thousands of World War II officers who ac cepted reserve commissions when they were released from active service in 1945 and later. The other law provided that the Army and Air Force would offer all of its reserve officers an “indefinite” com mission—similar to the com missions granted to Regulars, Navy and Marine Corps re servists and Army and Air Force National Guardsmen. A few months ago a letter was sent to every Army and Air Force reserve officer telling him coldly and bluntly that he would lose his commission if he didn’t fill out and return the inclosed forms for an in definite extension of his com mission. Count Due in June The number who accepted the indefinite commission won’t be known to the Penta gon until June 9. But there is no doubt that many re servists in name only welcomed the opportunity to free them selves of legal military re sponsibility. There are some reservists who more or less resented the blunt official-ese of the letter notifying tjiem of their choice. One of them put it this way: “The letter threat ened me with the loss of my reserve commission, but I in terpreted it as a promise by the Army to let me off the hook.” Most officers who like the reserves and are active in it have responded willingly enough. But many others who had signed up for the reserves in 1945 or 1946 found they didn’t have time or the incli nation to participate actively. They are now ducking out. The desire to disengage has 8 This is What The Man From Mars Says A bout WHITE SALES Jj/Qjm that May is here . . . flowers and White W Sales are blooming oil around the town! Everybody is advertising White Soles, R. Mars invites you to shop The Town! Compare prices . . . Come to R. Mars the Contract Company where— LOWER PRICES FOR EQUAL QUALITY IS GUARANTEED! Not Just Promised. UnilßQ. MONDAY & THURSDAY 9 A M. TO 9:30 P.M. iIUUIIOs TUES W ED., FRI. & SAT., 9AM. TO 600 P.M. "It's Smart to Buy at Mars* FURNITURE • BEDDING • APPLIANCES • RUGS • LINENS Two Blocks From the Capitol • Free Parking 410 FIRST ST. S.E. • LI. 4-6900 BRANCHES BALTIMORE, 110 S. HANOVER ST. • NEW YORK, 511 FIFTH AVE. “tell us how you got away.” “One day I sold two chickens I was raising,” she began. “So, I had the money. At 6 o’clock one evening a policeman came to see me. He said: ‘I hope that you're not thinking of fleeing to the West? The po lice are coming here to get you at 9 o’clock.’ He looked at his watch and said, slowly: 'You have three hours to get your things ready.’ He said it in such away that I was sure he meant this as a warning for me to clear out before 9 o’clock. So. my two children and I fled the house as soon as the police man left, and took the next train to Berlin.” One-Min4ite Deliberation The woman left the room trembling. The tribunal’s de liberations lasted only a min ute. When she returned, one of the officers said: “You are placed in Category I. There fore you may go to join your husband. The Federal Republic will see to it that you find work and lodgings.” The woman wept openly with joy. Every day at Templehof Air port hundreds of such refu gees line up to board airplanes that will carry them away to the Federal Republic—their “new” country. probably been heightened by memory of what happened in the months following the outbreak of the Korean con flict. The Army, then uncer tain as to whether Korea was a minor “U. N. police action” or the opening campaign of a third world war, didn’t call up its active reservists but dug down for the inactive ones. It did this because its immediate need was for individuals and it didn’t want to break up the organized reserve outfits that would be called up as upits in the event the emergency became an all-out war. Many a reserve officer whose disinterest in military train ing had been made manifest since the end of World War II found himself on shipboard heading toward Korea while other reservists who attended regular drill sessions faith fully and spent their vacations on active duty tours were not called up. Protests Reach Congress The protests of the startled and unwilling reservists who found themselves on active duty in Korea or elsewhere reached Congress. For many months the role of the re serves and their use and treat ment (or mistreatment) by the services was debated and batted back and forth between the Pentagon, White House and Capitol Hill. Out of it all came: A series of laws that pro vided for three classes of re serve forces ready reserve, standby reserve and retired reserve—for all of the services. The eight-year obligation (two years’ active duty, six years’ reserve) to serve for all men entering the service. The dropping of disinter ested reserve officers who are under no obligation to the Government. The awarding of indefinite commissions to those who want them. Firm Foundation When the Pentagon files are at last cleaned out and the reservists dropping their com missions finally receive their separation notices, the Army and Air Force will, for the first time since the end of World War 11, have a firm foundation on which to build meaningful reserve programs. Whether they can do it even with the best will in the world is highly problematical. There are few precedents for success. With the possible exception of the National Guard, the post- World War I history of the efforts of the Nation's citizen soldiers to evolve an effective training program in times of peace has been marked more often by failure than success.