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"victimless Crime" Repeal Nixed

"victimless Crime" Repeal Nixed image
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A Human Rights Party proposal to elimínate penalties on such "crimes" as public begging, drunkeness, and prostitution went down to defeat, 6-5 at City Council last Monday, November 4. Republican Council members banded together against the measure, while Democrats backed the proposal brought in by Kathy Kozachenko. "First the HRP-Democratic coalition was responsible for Ann Arbor becoming kjiown as the dope capital of the midwest," complained Republican Jack McCormick. "If this passes, we'll become known as Sin City, USA." Council member Robert Henry accused the minority Council members of sanctioning,public drunkeness, encouraging pimping, and approving the sale of pornorgraphy. Speaking on the section to drop penaltiesjfor posting handbills on lamp posts and trees, he said "If you're standing still, they'd put a poster on you." But Democrat Norris Thomas argued the ordinance should have been repealed a long time ago. He pointed out that most of the wording is vague, subject to individual interpretation. "Judgement in these matters has been exercised by the pólice department," said Thomas. "In the past, these laws have always been used in a discriminatory way." While the Republican majority killed the proposal for now, it will probably come up again after the April city elections, when the Republicans will most likely lose their stranglehold on the city due to preferential voting passing last week. In addition, a bilí is currently before the state legislature to decriminalize drunkeness. If it passes, all local units of government would be required to remove penalties for public intoxication, and detoxification centers would be set up to take the place of county jails for sobering people up.