ACLU CRITICIZES EFFORTS TO RELAX SEARCH, SEIZURE LAWS

by Scott McMillan

News Reporter

A pending federal law to bolster search-and-seizure powers is needed, said Keno Henderson, a Harris County prosecutor. However, civil libertarian Debbie Perkey said House Resolution 666 is an unwarranted knee-jerk reaction to public outcry about crime.

The Exclusionary Rule Reform Act of 1995 proposes that courts admit otherwise legally inadmissible evidence police obtain while executing searches. The exclusionary rule, based on the Fourth Amendment, states that courts can't admit evidence that is gathered without a legal search warrant, said the American Civil Liberties Union. Otherwise, a defendant's protection from unreasonable searches and seizures is violated.

"The exclusionary rule goes too far in keeping out evidence," said Henderson, an assistant district attorney. "The courts keep making inroads to further limit and further limit admissibility."

Henderson said evidence is "admissible if you're looking for it."

For example, Houston Police Officer Larry Haus said marijuana found with a gun in a search specifically for firearms is admissible.

On the other hand, cocaine discovered in a jewelry box away from such weapons wouldn't be usable evidence, he noted.

Haus said he supports measures, like the bill, which aim to help get the criminal element off the streets. To that end, Haus added that evidence gathered in good faith is fair game for prosecutors to use.

Henderson said HPD officers can call the district attorney's Intake Division if questions arise about the admissibility of evidence. For that reason, he said, instances of cases dismissed because of "technicalities" are rare in Harris County.

Perkey said an American Bar Foundation study conducted in the 1980s concluded that only 0.5 percent more convictions would result if the exclusionary rule were relaxed.

She added that police say the number of technical dismissals is insignificant and that police support the exclusionary rule. "It makes them more professional," her ACLU report noted a Chicago policeman as saying.

The ACLU predicts a tough fight in the U.S. Senate for HR 666, which the House approved by a 289-to-142 vote margin. If it passes, the bill might cause Perkey to wonder if constitutional apocalypse is near.

"Crime is going down," Perkey said. "The Constitution is not a technicality."

 

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SA ELECTION DEBATES POISED FOR LIFT-OFF

by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Staff

Candidates for the Students' Association elections will get a chance to be heard in debates Monday at the UC Satellite.

Four presidential candidates and three vice presidential candidates will answer questions from a panel from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., said SA President Angie Milner, who added that the composition of the panel has not been determined, but that she would know who would be on it by the end of today.

Milner said she hopes whoever is elected is prepared to deal with the Legislature. "Whoever wins is going to go straight into the end of the session," she said.

Two of the candidates, SA Sen. Giovanni Garibay and SA Vice President Henry Bell, attended the rally on the Capitol Wednesday and met with state legislators.

Each candidate has his own idea of the important issues.

Garibay's party's four-point platform includes reforming financial aid, improving the quality of UH buildings like AH, improving the parking situation with carpooling and making academic advising more student-oriented.

Hunter Jackson, the presidential candidate for the LEAD party, said his party has a four-part platform that includes a promise to hold a referendum to abolish SA if the other promises are unfulfilled by the end of 1995.

Mike Luka, running as the head of the Party Party, said his priority is to improve the quality of the intramural sports fields, which he said have been neglected since the Athletics Department received a $26 million gift from alumnus John Moores.

Luka said he would also work to improve the quality of the programs in the College of Education.

Garibay, running with the CLASS party, and Bell, from the Peoples' Party, did not return phone calls Thursday night.

Neither Jackson nor Luka said they had plans for any major campaign events, but both cited low turnout as a major obstacle.

Luka said he hopes his candidacy will increase turnout. "I'm tired of the same people being in SA," he said.

Vice presidential candidates K.K. Lilie from the LEAD party, Dom Lewinsohn from the Peoples' Party and John M. Olszewski from the Party Party will also appear at the debate.

Lilie was student regent until she was removed from office at the last SA Senate meeting. Lewinsohn narrowly lost a runoff for the presidency to Milner last year.

A fifth party, Potential, was formed after the filing deadline. The party consists of five students who were originally independent candidates for Senate seats.

 

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ATHLETICS KICKS BACK WHILE OTHER STUDENT SERVICE UNITS FIGHT FOR FUNDING

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

Despite the fact that the 1995 Student Needs Assessment showed that the majority of UH students don't want their fees to pay for athletics, it will continue because of an agreement signed seven years ago.

In April 1988, former UH President Richard Van Horn signed the University Center Fee Referendum Agreement with then-Students' Association President Elizabeth (Wendy) Trachte.

The agreement said "No unit shall receive more than 35 percent of Student Service Fees in the following four (4) years."

This was a subset to the primary focus of the agreement, which was to set up a separate fee to maintain the UC, one that would be different from student service fees.

But the 35 percent part, actually the first term listed in the agreement, is what has had a major impact on the funding process.

That year, according to Dean of Students William Munson, the then-Student Service Fees Planning and Allocations Committee (now Student Fees Advisory Committee) recommended to Van Horn that the Athletics Department be funded at 25 percent of total student service fees. Van Horn funded the Athletics Department at 35 percent.

Since then, it has become understood that the Athletics Department will receive this amount of the money no matter what, so SFAC makes that recommendation anyway.

This part of the agreement was only good for four years and should have ended in 1992, but in 1990, the Health Center Fee Agreement was signed by then-interim UH President George Magner and then-SA President Mikal Belicove, then approved by the student body in the March 1990 elections.

This agreement, aside from setting up a separate fee for the Health Center, extended the 35 percent cap until the summer of 1999. This is in part four of the agreement.

Since then, SA has drafted a piece of legislation that would set up a separate fee for athletics, called the Athletic Fee. After it was passed in 1993, it was put up for referendum and passed by the student body in the March elections. Before it could be signed by the president, it went to Austin.

The problem occurred because by state law, student service fees must help pay for intercollegiate athletics.

According to the law, "student services" include textbook rentals; recreational activities; health, hospital and other medical services; intramural and intercollegiate athletics; plus other groups and activities.

The question is whether or not separate fees are considered student service fees, and the referendum has been sitting on the attorney general's desk ever since.

Until that is decided, or the year 1999 comes and goes without an extension of the 35 percent cap, the Athletics Department will continue to receive the largest portion of the student service fee pie.

 

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4-24-1

COWBOYS RIDE INTO TOWN, TRY TO STOP UH'S WIN STREAK

by Richard C. Kroger

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Cougars baseball team looks to continue a four-game home win streak against the McNeese State Cowboys with a three-game set this weekend at the new Cougar Field.

The Cowboys have started the 1995 season in strong fashion, winning 12 of their 16 games with an offensive powerhouse that boasts a team batting average of .339. Shortstop Brett Elam leads the Cowboys with a .432 average that helped McNeese run a six-game win streak earlier this year.

UH (8-6) has already played the Cowboys this year, dropping the season opener 2-1. The Cougars wasted a strong pitching performance in that game from righthander Bo Hernandez (1-2), who will likely take the mound for the Cougars this weekend.

Cougars head coach Rayner Noble knows beating the Cowboys will be difficult, but he said he feels it will be a good challenge for his team as the Cougars head into Southwest Conference play.

"McNeese State will be a good test for us," said Noble. "They represent the level of competition that we will find in the other teams in our conference."

The Cougars find themselves two games above .500 after a dramatic doubleheader sweep against Louisiana Tech earlier this week.

If the Cougars plan to continue their winning ways against the Cowboys, they will have to find a way to score some runs off of McNeese pitchers Jeff Hebert (3-0) and Jon Saylor (3-1), both of whom are scheduled to pitch against UH. The pitching duo has been nearly unstoppable this year, boasting a combined 1.21 ERA in seven games.

 

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4-40-1

TOURNAMENT TIEBREAKER TURMOIL

4-20-1

Saturday's game vs. SMU only one factor in UH's seeding

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Gather round, Southwest Conference basketball fans, it's time for that annual lesson on SWC postseason tiebreakers.

When the Cougars tip off against Southern Methodist Saturday at 7:30 p.m., the two teams will not only be fighting for a higher spot in the Dr. Pepper SWC Classic next week, but neither team will know who its first-round opponent will be.

Houston (8-17 overall, 5-8 in the SWC) is assured a fifth-place or sixth-place seeding, depending on how Texas A&M (currently fifth at 6-7) does against Baylor this weekend, <I>and<P> whether Texas or Texas Tech finishes atop the conference.

The tiebreaker system, which determines the seedings in the SWC Tournament, is plenty perplexing, particularly this season. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head games, followed by record against the highest conference seeds on down, followed by a coin flip.

The most likely scenario is that Houston would face the third seed at 6 p.m. in Dallas’ Reunion Arena March 9.

However, should Texas beat Rice at The Summit this weekend and Tech fall at Texas Christian, along with a loss by A&M and a win by UH, Texas and Tech would toss silver to decide the top spot.

That would determine who finishes fifth as well, since Houston has defeated Texas, and A&M hasn't. The Aggies, though, got an early-season victory over Tech, which swept UH.

To add to the confusion, the third-place race isn't over yet, leaving the Cougars to watch scoreboards after their final home game of the season is complete. Rice and Texas Christian are one game apart in the SWC as well, with either team able to move up and open against Houston rather than A&M.

Either way, it's a choice of unattractive mascots – the Owls or Horned Frogs.

"It doesn't really matter," head coach Alvin Brooks said succinctly Thursday, of the choice between opponents.

Houston is 0-2 against TCU, losing 106-92 in Fort Worth Jan. 14 and 106-95 at Hofheinz Feb. 11. The Cougars are even against Rice, having won at Autry Court 73-67 Feb. 8, the last victory in a memorable four-game winning streak.

"Obviously, we've had a tough time matching up against (TCU), but given the opportunity to play them three times, I think we've got a better chance," Brooks said.

At any rate, it will be nice for Houston to just worry about last-place SMU (6-19, 2-11) come game time Saturday. The Mustangs pump up 3-pointers at quite a rate, averaging 22.4 attempts a game.

"They haven't shot the 3s for a good percentage, but they shoot so many of them, they hurt you," Brooks said.

 

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4-30-1

TALE OF TWO CITIES FOR TRACK THIS WEEKEND

by M. S. Ameen

Daily Cougar Staff

This weekend, part of the Houston track team will face a last chance while the rest will get a first chance.

With the NCAA indoor track season coming to a close and the outdoor season ready to begin, Cougars will be competing in two different cities.

Today, five Cougars are in Baton Rouge for the Louisiana State Last Chance Indoor Meet. This is the "last chance" athletes have to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships, which will be held in Indianapolis on March 10 and 11.

All five Cougars who made the trip have provisionally qualified for the NCAAs, but are hoping to solidify a spot with an automatic bid.

Those members attending the meet at LSU are juniors Ubeja Anderson (men's 55-meter hurdles) and DeMonica Davis (women's 55-meters), and seniors Drexel Long (women's 400-meters), Dawn Burrell (women's long jump), and Chris Lopez (men's triple jump).

Head coach Tom Tellez is in Baton Rouge with the five athletes and will return in time to be with the rest of his team for the Carl Lewis Relays Saturday.

The majority of the team will be staying home this weekend to compete in the outdoor season-opener in Robertson Stadium.

The Carl Lewis Relays is a tri-meet in which Southwest Texas State and Texas Southern join Houston to make up the collegiate competition.

In addition, 18 Houston area high school teams are invited to compete in a separately scored meet.

This meet will serve primarily as preparation for the outdoor season.

As the meet's namesake and part of the Houston coaching staff, Olympian Carl Lewis said he is happy that the younger athletes are able to experience the excitement of a collegiate meet.

"It's for the kids, really. It's good for the young athletes to come out here and see and be around a Leroy Burrell, a coach Tellez, a Carl Lewis," said the eight-time Olympic gold medal winner.

 

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ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT 486?

by Roslyn Lang

Daily Cougar Staff

Women in crises, facing a problem pregnancy, have another choice available to them, said Susan Prihoda, certified nurse practitioner at the UH Health Center.

On Jan. 17, the Planned Parenthood Clinic, 3601 Fannin, began clinical trials on the "Abortion Pill," known in Europe as RU-486.

Prihoda said women who are pregnant and come into the health center receive counseling about all of the options available to them. "A woman who has an unplanned pregnancy needs to consider all of her options. She needs to take a look at her own sense of what it means to be pregnant and what the outcome for her is going to mean.

"Termination isn't for everyone. Termination is a choice and now we have one more option, which is medical vs. surgical termination. (RU-486) is one choice in a big gamut of choices. Fundamentally, we need to defend our right to choose: our right to choose to continue a pregnancy, our right to choose to terminate."

Planned Parenthood in Houston is one of 12 testing sites nationwide. The clinic has received thousands of calls from as far away as Ohio and Mexico, said Debbie Colt, a surgical services counselor. Most are not good candidates though -- they must be over 18, in good health, less than eight weeks pregnant and be no more than one hour away from the clinic or one of the clinic's contract hospitals, she said. "The majority of people calling think that it's easier than the surgical abortion, but that's not necessarily the case," Colt said.

Susan Nenney, director of communication at Planned Parenthood, said the procedure is a medical, or chemical, method of abortion, performed under strict watch of the clinic. The testing, which is sponsored by the non-profit Population Council, is being performed in conjunction with Baylor College of Medicine as clinical research, so there is no charge to volunteer clients, she said.

Under threats of consumer boycott, Hoechst products, which controls the drug's French manufacturer Roussel Uclaf, agreed to donate patent rights on RU-486 to the Population Council. The council subsequently announced plans to sponsor clinical trials of RU-486 involving 2100 volunteers nationwide. At the Houston clinic, approximately 200 volunteers are expected to participate in the clinical trials, said Nenney.

During the procedure, a woman is given a medical examination and counseling, and then signs informed consent documents. The procedure itself involves two drugs, to be taken orally two days apart. The first day, the patient swallows three tablets of Mifepristone, an antiprogestin that interrupts pregnancy in its early stages by blocking the action of the natural hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, the lining of the uterus softens and breaks down, expelling any fertilized egg through menstruation.

Two days later, the patient returns to the clinic for two tablets of Misoprostol, a prostaglandin, which is a substance made naturally in the lining of the uterus. The prostaglandin in this treatment causes contractions of the uterus, expelling a fertilized egg.

After taking the Misoprostol, the patient remains at the clinic for about four hours. At that point, approximately 70 percent of women have a medical miscarriage. The remaining women will abort after they leave the clinic.

Two weeks after the procedure, the woman returns to the clinic to ensure that the treatment has been effective. The Mifepristone/Misoprostol combination fails in 4 out of 100 cases. In cases where the medical regimen fails, the abortion should be completed surgically.

Tama Cravey, director of communications for the Foundation for Life, said the long-term "carcinogenic effects" of these drugs are not known and that side effects are extreme. She said side effects can include cramps and abdominal pain, similar to those associated with a very heavy menstrual period; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes requiring medication; uterine bleeding similar to a heavy period and lasting at least one week; cardiac and respiratory problems -- even death, said Cravey.

"The Population Council, who brought us Norplant -- that other pesticide, is bringing us this pesticide. Women ingest these abortive agents that then go into every cell of their body. The long-term negative impact on these women, who are being used as guinea pigs, is being overlooked. This chemical is a pesticide in every sense of the word. DDT and Agent Orange -- all of them have nothing on this," Cravey said.

Cravey said these drugs have only been around for eight or 10 years and that "not all those years were dedicated to the murder of unborn children." She said, "The Population Council and Planned Parenthood do not have women's benefits in mind, they have their own pocketbooks in mind."

Colt said it's difficult to come to work every day through pickets and threats of violence. "Abortion opponents are already harassing us and causing problems. They're the people who held up testing. They're the people who will hold up marketing after the testing. It's the anti-movement -- anti-choice. It takes away everything, every one of our choices. They're very unconcerned about the other side. They're awful."

Colt said the procedure, which is available in France, Great Britain and Sweden, provides an alternative to surgical abortions. She said, "Marie Stopes (Planned Parenthood Clinic's equivalent in Europe) recently sent a representative to the U.S. with reports that said about 3 percent of European women seeking abortions are choosing the chemical alternative.

"American import pro-life groups forced Roussel Uclaf to pull RU-486 off the market, and the French government put it back on the market. The government, the police and the general public won't tolerate that kind of behavior," Colt said.

Cravey said France, Great Britain and Sweden have extremely strict guidelines because the clinics are state-owned. "That's not the case in the U.S. -- Planned Parenthood and the Population Council are going to process these women through without giving them time to reconsider," she said.

The potential hazard for post-abortion syndrome is of considerable concern, Cravey said. Similar to traumatic stress syndrome, post-abortion syndrome causes depression, loss of sleep and loss of appetite, she said. "It's associated with loss, any kind of loss. A mother knows she's a mother. Now you are the mother of a dead child and you were instrumental in the death of that child," she said.

Women who complete the abortion process at home or elsewhere after leaving the clinic are also a concern, Cravey said. "These women are going to have the misfortune of dealing with the by-products of the abortion, possibly alone."

Nenney said (groups that are opposed to abortion) are not interested in issues of women's health. "Anti-choice fundamentally stops access to abortion. (Those groups) will attempt to distort or misrepresent the data to make sure access to abortion is not available," she said.

Nenney said the women are counseled and educated about every step in the process and must sign a consent form before any procedure is performed. The process requires more time to be spent between staff and clients, she said. Due to confidentiality, Nenney could only say response from clients and staff has been positive.

Prihoda said the clinical trials are laying groundwork for the future -- a woman's right to take care of herself in the privacy of her own doctor's office. She said, "It's going to take some courageous pioneer women to go through the clinical trial process to establish (medical abortion as an) option for all women."

 

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FEEL LOW WITH <I>SUICIDE<P> AT ABYSS

by Jim Presnell

Daily Cougar Staff

The name of this band says it all.

Low Pop Suicide has all the elements that made David Bowie write "(You're a) Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" about the semi-fictional Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars nearly 25 years ago. L.P.S., who is playing at the Abyss Saturday, boasts dark, haunting themes and melodies, engrossingly hypnotic singing and playing and a sense of the futility of existence.

A quote from the band's Rick Boston, singer-songwriter-guitarist, certainly puts it plainly: "They have discovered that dark thoughts left unsung fester within, rotting the soul. And so (they) chose to whisper these notions for all to judge, condemn and/or embrace. Your god hasn't felt their pain, nor should he/she care to."

Mark Leonard, formerly of The Band, has taken the bass player spot on the L.P.S. roster. Melle Steagal serves as drummer for the second go-round. "Why all the drama, can't we just play?" Steagal drolly asks.

"The Death of Excellence" comes to fruition in vivid shades of black and gray. And some people thought The Cure seemed depressed about things. Low Pop Suicide proves itself a band carrying on a love affair with pain and torment.

This record smells of the road, as well it should after two years on tour. The band members broke some hearts (mainly their own, admittedly) and survived a surfeit of Beavis & Butthead. Things like "Suicide Ego" say it all.

 

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TRAVIS A GOOD OL' COUNTRY BOY

Country music star Randy Travis will perform at the final Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo concert Sunday.

Photo by Dean Dixon/Warner Bros.

Cougar Staff Report

Randy Travis, everybody's boy next door, comes to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Sunday.

Travis, who has been off the road for two years while devoting his attention to acting, still has his all-American cowboy image and style that brought him to the top of country music charts and kept him there. The performance starts at 4 p.m.

His debut album in 1986, <I>Storm of Life<P>, was released in the midst of an intense depression following the ending of the brief infatuation of the Urban Cowboy era. Country has moved too far away from its roots, from the likes of Patsy Cline, Hank Williams Sr., George Jones and Loretta Lynn.

Country tried to go country-pop and kept sinking deeper into the abyss as the music was further watered down. Then came artists like Travis, George Strait and the Judds, who were doing traditional country music with a fresh, new perspective.

Before Travis' hit album, most of Nashville was still convinced country-pop was the way. This first release is now acknowledged as a cornerstone in the new country movement back to the roots of the genre.

Travis proved all the Nashville hacks wrong. He showed audiences what makes country music great in the first place.

In the nine years after his first album, Travis continued to draw fans with his mournful heartbreak ballads, like "Forever and Ever, Amen," "This is Me" and "That's Where I Draw the Line." Other songs, like "Honky Tonk Side of Town" and "Runaway Train," show his easy going side.

Travis remains one of the best country musicians in the business. His baritone voice -- a self-proclaimed melding of his two favorite country heroes, George Jones and Merle Haggard -- has kept its down-home, melancholy texture that will always identify him as a country boy to the bone.

His distinctive voice and style of singing just good ol' straight country music have helped him sell more than 17 million records and earned him many awards and fans.

Travis ranks right up there with other new country legends like George Strait, Clint Black and Reba McEntire, who all played a part in putting the "country" back in country music.

 

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