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From Our Point of View: John Collins Received Fair-As-Possible Trial

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4 The Ann Arbor News, Thursday, August 20,1970

From Our Point Of View

John Collins Received
Fair-As-Possible Trial

THE trial post-mortems
are still coming in, but at the
rendering of a verdk sy
trial like that of John i\ or-
man Collins the foremost
question still is: Did the man
receive a fair trial?

Before answering that, it
'sears repeating that the
American jury system has
weaknesses. This is not start-
ling. The human dimension
cannot be underplayed; the
tug and pull on human preju-
dices is standard courtroom
operating procedure.

But all these things consid-
ered, John Norman Collins
received as fair a trial as was
possible under the law and
given the strengths and
weaknesses of a 12-member
panel of jurors.

His rights were protected
throughout. From start to
finish, the Collins trial was
characterized by restraint.
Much of the credit for this
belongs to Judge John W.
Conlin, who received praise
from the defense counsel in
-ecognition of the way he
s-ontrolled proceedings.

BUT IF the Collins trial
was an ordeal for the judge,
the defendant, the jurors and
the other principals in the
case, it was also an ordeal for
the community. The feeling
persisted, some weeks ago,
that the jury system was on
trial here. We recall the diffi-
culty with which a jury was
selected. A trial about which
much was written and even
more conjectured was bound
to strain the community.

So we can say a firm "yes"
to the question that will be
asked for a long time after
the trial's end: John Collins
DID receive a fair trial here.
He was ably, even brilliantly

The fact that the jury was
out so long and that it was so
painstaking in its review of
the evidence before reaching
a verdict was a point in Col-
lins favor. This lengthy de-
liberation was to remove all
doubts, answer all questions
before handing down a just