Letter to the Editor – Support for Gordon McLaughlin

This Letter to the Editor is solely the opinion of its author.

It does not reflect the opinion of this newspaper.

We intend to present messages from both sides of the aisle.

Gordon McLaughlin is an advertiser of North Forty News.

By Devin Odell

I write to support Gordon McLaughlin for district attorney for the 8th Judicial District, which covers Larimer and Jackson counties.

As a former district court judge, now retired, I had the pleasure of having McLaughlin appear many times in my courtroom on a wide range of felony criminal matters, from minor to very serious. He was always exceptionally well-prepared, civil, and even-handed.

He could be tough in court and he never lost sight of the consequences of serious crimes for victims or the need to protect the safety of our community. But he was also practical and dedicated to achieving real results, not just sending a message or chalking up wins.

Prosecutors have enormous discretion in our system in how they bring criminal charges. In my opinion, based on overseeing hundreds of cases, the current district attorney’s office consistently brings far too many charges, often based on weak evidence, to gain leverage in plea negotiations. In addition, the current office routinely seeks sentences that are needlessly punitive, doing more harm than good and resulting in disrupted lives and a waste of public resources.

I believe that McLaughlin, unlike his opponent Mitch Murray, is committed to changing these counter-productive practices and creating a criminal justice system that is fairer, more efficient, and better serves the citizens of Larimer and Jackson counties.

I strongly urge you to give McLaughlin careful consideration as you make your choice for DA.