YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Dist. Atty. Views Need Amending

August 02, 1992

Re Dist. Atty. Michael R. Capizzi on decriminalizing narcotics: "Does not the First Amendment allow ads and marketing?" he asks.

No, Mr. Capizzi, it does not. It allows freedom to speak against the government in word or print. Absence of that right allows, as in Russia under communism, dissidents to be jailed, exiled to Siberia, or to vanish forever.

Also, Mr. Capizzi, it is not the Miranda rule that gives suspects the right to legal counsel, it is the Sixth Amendment, which orders a defense counsel.

The Miranda rule invalidates the confession of the man who, smoking gun in hand, says, "I just shot him!" unless his lawyer chanced to be present, of course--an obviously unlikely event.

The Sixth only intended to prevent lynch-type or unfair sentencing. Can anyone honestly believe that defense counsel was intended to set the criminal free?

The misinterpretations of the First and Sixth amendments, which were so simply stated and literally meant, are the prime cause of the breakdown of our criminal courts.

As to his statement that we are winning the war on drugs, is that so? We should compare Prohibition, before and after, to assess its effect on crime.

Alcohol-related crime still exists, but surely drug-related crime is of greater overall effect today. We need informed answers to these questions.

B. AVERILL, Laguna Hills

Los Angeles Times Articles