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'Unsung Heroes' 

Editor:

I want to thank Thadeus Greenson for another fine piece of investigative journalism on the stench surrounding the public defender's office ("'Nibs' and 'The Taz,'" Aug. 10). It is been my privilege to work with any number of fine attorneys over the course of my career as a psychologist, most of them intelligent, well-trained, principled people who take the ideals upon which our criminal justice system is founded upon seriously.

Ideas like justice can only be pursued when everyone, regardless of financial ability, race or ethnicity, is entitled to a fair trial, and a fair trial requires a robust and skilled defense. The idea that when the rights of each individual entering the justice system are upheld, regardless of their social desirability, their crime, or how inconvenient their case is to the powers that be, all people's rights are upheld, including yours and mine. Upholding our rights requires the work of public defenders, often the lowest paid attorneys around, who stand up for all our rights by defending the financially indigent.

The people they defend are disproportionately minorities: people of color, mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Not having a criminal justice system that is prejudiced, racist or that can be bought depends upon the work of the public defender. They are the unsung heroes of our justice system and our rights, our justice system and our decency as a community is stronger thanks to the work of the public defender. 

So the real question here is why does the board of supervisors want a weakened public defender's office? I'd like to see Mr. Greenson follow that investigative trail. Why else would they hire someone so unqualified for that job? I would like to see those on the board who want a weakened public defender's office exposed and voted out of office at the next election. They are traitors to the basic values our democracy.

Gerald Drucker, Trinidad

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