No Brief for 'Warrior Lawyer'

Being a narcotics detective with a South Bay police department, I read with disgust the profile of defense attorney J. Tony Serra ("Counterculture's Warrior Lawyer," by Robert Chow, May 3).

Spending a good part of my normal work week in court, I have come to respect the role of the professional defense attorney. Any accused person deserves an advocate and the defense attorney's duty to represent his client results in the protection of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The defense attorney in effect works for every citizen. This is why criminal defense work can be an honorable profession.

This is the opposite of what I saw in the profile of Mr. Serra. His statement that he admires "the courage, the risk taking, the bravado, the honesty, and the integrity" of outlaws and drug dealers indicates to me that he is motivated by a juvenile fascination with the underworld.

I take extreme exception to Serras' belief that drug dealers are "victims of economic and political circumstances motivated by desperation and class struggle." The true victims in the drug distribution chain are the users and the innocents they prey upon to support addiction. The users of drugs are literally slaves to the dealers who are calculating entrepreneurs motivated solely by greed. For every drug dealer who is "bettering his condition" there are hundreds of victim users whose lives are deteriorating or ending.

STEVEN G. ENDOM, Hermosa Beach

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