She's a nice girl, but...

| 28 Apr 2015 | 02:42

    To the Editor:
    Nice girl, but..., a phrase turned acronym (NGB), was used during my high school days to describe the girl who wasn't with it, just not quite good enough.

    Sadly, those words have surfaced in recent comments about the local race for district attorney between Ray Tonkin and Kelly Gaughan. Kelly is a nice girl, but...she hasn't prosecuted a criminal.

    Of course she hasn't. She isn't a prosecutor (yet), nor is any other member of the Pike County Bar Association, save Mr. Tonkin — the county prosecutor, aka district attorney. By his reasoning, only a DA is qualified to be a DA.

    Ms. Gaughan has presented several solid, constructive ideas about how to improve our county criminal justice system. Over the last four years, she has tried more bench trials than Mr. Tonkin and his staff combined.

    With his repeated focus on criminal jury trials, you�d think that prosecuting alleged criminals before juries is the DA's major activity. Yet, the most recent Pennsylvania statistics reveal that between 2011 and 2013, just 1.1 percent of the 1,685 criminal cases disposed in Pike County involved a jury trial. The DA criticizes Ms. Gaughan's lack of jury trial experience when criminal jury trials, in fact, occur very rarely.

    Ms. Gaughan has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association and Lodge 46 of the Fraternal Order of Police. One would naturally expect that the local police union, which recently suffered the tragic ambush of two members, would want a trusted, veteran criminal prosecutor handling the case, the DA with whom its members work most frequently. The very individuals who should be Tonkin fans aren't.

    When it comes to public office, Ray seems to be a nice guy, but...

    Carrie Thomas