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"O'Neal did not choose to have been denied fundamental fairness in the 1970 trial," reads the petition filed by lawyer Paul Magnarella.  "He did not choose to have police threaten his life as he walked in and out of the federal court house. He did choose to spearhead the creation of the Arusha, Tanzania-Kansas City Sister City program so as to promote friendly relations between Tanzania and the U.S."

"The O'Neal petition raises serious constitutional questions about fundamental fairness. These issues are not moot as the Government contends. They address questions crucial to American justice. We urge the court to exercise its discretion in a positive, humane manner by accepting O'Neal's petition and deciding whether he received a fair trial. We recall Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy's eloquent statement from 1949," read the petition.

"Law is at its loftiest when it examines claimed injustice even at the instance of one to whom the public is bitterly hostile," Justice Murphy was quoted as saying. "We should be loath to shirk our obligations, whatever the creed of the particular petitioner. Our country takes pride in requiring of its institutions the examination and correction of alleged injustice whenever it occurs. We should not permit an affront to distract us from the performance of our constitutional duties."