My first book Lust for Justice: The Radical Life and Law of J.Tony Serra hit #16 today on Amazon’s digital bestseller list in its category of lawyers and judges. This is spectacular news because the book was published 5 years ago and is still going strong!
Lust for Justice is an important book about an unusual criminal defense lawyer who’s not in it for the money. Unlike other lawyers, he drives an old clunker car to court, wears funky old clothes from the thrift, has no bank account, no credit cards, owns nothing of worth, and has served time in jail on multiple occasions for refusing to pay income tax to a system he feels only benefits the rich while punishing the poor. When questioned by the media on how he felt about being incarcerated for 10 months, his reply was, “These are my people. I have more friends in prison than OUT! I’ve given my life fighting for their causes. They love me and I love them!”
Much of his work is done pro bono. He’s considered the “people’s lawyer” who gives voice to the downtrodden, those who cannot speak for themselves: Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, those whom this society crushes under its thumb.
Tony Serra is known for having a nexus with his jury. He spells out the facts of a case in a way that takes jurors out of their heads and into their humanity.
Lust for Justice brings to life one of the greatest radical lawyers of our time. It’s filled with humor and pathos, but most of all it’s filled with the daring of one man who stands alone in the face of the justice system and shows it for what it is: a railroad to prison for minorities.
I was Serra’s courtroom artist off and on for close to a decade. The art in this book gives the reader a real sense of the power and greatness of this man.