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'It's a Monster': Federal Drug Bill

September 26, 1988

Yes, I agree with your editorial that the Omnibus Drug Initiative Act is "monstrous." But when I came to the paragraph that discussed Lungren's proposed amendment concerning dropping the exclusionary rule that bars illegally seized evidence from being used in court, I marveled at your hypocrisy.

You wrote, "Lungren's measure is an invitation to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment." The Times, in my view, eviscerates the Fourth Amendment every time it requires a prospective employee to submit to a pre-employment drug test. The test is a search for evidence without probable cause. Such a search is no less heinous when conducted by a corporation than when it is conducted by the government.

You would probably reply that your applicants consent to the search, but the coercive specter of unemployment and poverty makes people too desperate to say no. Invading any person's privacy with the intent of denying them the means to earn a living is truly "monstrous."

JAMES L. DESPER JR.

Panorama City

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