Defending Tanner Rouse
To the Editor:
I write in response to last week’s letter denouncing Tanner Rouse’s service as a prosecutor in Philadelphia.
In an effort to discredit Rouse and promote Mayor Kearney, both then senate candidates, Jon Feinberg asserted that the prosecutors of that office “in word and deed favored winning convictions over the fair administration of justice.” As a former Philadelphia prosecutor, I found his description of the people who worked within its walls unrecognizable.
I worked as an Assistant District Attorney for five years in Philadelphia prosecuting everything from misdemeanors to horrific felonies involving sexual assault and gun violence. The claim that all of the prosecutors in that office strive to win at any cost is false and repugnant. I felt just as accomplished on the day I convicted a man who riddled his neighbor with bullets as I did on the day I withdrew charges against an innocent man who was accused of shooting off another man’s jaw. I made countless decisions to withdraw criminal charges during my time as a prosecutor with the support of my supervisors who regularly made it clear to me that I should always act to exonerate the innocent even if it meant so-called “losing.”
My role as a prosecutor was never about winning or satisfying my ego and it was certainly never about the money. It was always about being a voice for the most powerless members of the community. I was honored to be offered the position of Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia as one of just 33 people chosen from thousands of applicants. I withstood a rigorous interview process which included a challenge to correct a hypothetical injustice at the expense of a court room victory. When those hypotheticals became reality after I was hired, I acted in keeping with my oath, my moral character and always with the support of my office’s leadership. I never let politics or pride impede a just result.
Mayor Kearney is a successful and compassionate person who has been responsive to me as his constituent. In addition, he and his wife, Claudia, have been friends to my family in some of the darkest times life has to offer. Tanner Rouse is an accomplished and motivated attorney who has a reputation for being honest and fearless. It is worth noting that his wife Ursula, who is also a former Philadelpha prosecutor, shares the same reputation. I feel fortunate that both men selflessly offered to represent my interests in the senate.
By the time this goes to print, the primary candidate will have been chosen. Votes will have been cast and decisions will have been made but these divisive accusations about an entire generation of prosecutors will linger. In our town, which purports to tout kindness, understanding and empathy towards all people, we do a disservice to ourselves, our children and to each other when we project our biases onto others with little thought to the far-reaching effects of our actions.
‘Veiled personal attack’
To the Editor:
I was disappointed to see that a veiled personal attack was printed in last week’s Letters to the Editor. Not only do I object to election related op-ed submissions being printed without providing an opportunity for a response by the group or individual who was the subject of the letter, but I think letters that disparage individuals should not be considered for publication.
When I open my Swarthmorean, I hope to only see letters promoting civil debate and I expect purported facts to be verified.
Thank you to all of the candidates willing to serve our great state.
Jack Baldwin ‘aged in place’
To the Editor:
For the last several years, Jack Baldwin was a regular fixture in town. Tall and elegant, he could often be found sitting on the Co-Op patio, either by himself or with friends. Almost every day he would take the short walk from his small apartment on Myers Ave. to the library to read the paper and just spend some time with people.
A few months ago he had a fall, not his first, but this one injured his knee and forced him into a rehab facility that led to his eventual move to a nursing home. A few weeks ago Jack died at age 94 as result of illness and pneumonia.
Jack exemplified “aging in place” and Swarthmore was perfect place for him. Living in Swarthmore allowed him to stay independent despite being slowed down by age. Thanks to all who made his life here so full. He will be missed.
Thanks for the hospitality
To the Editor:
For the last 7½ weeks we have had the privilege of being part of the Swarthmore community.
We have lived at Nick’s House, a home for patients and their caregivers receiving cancer treatment in the greater Philadelphia area. Headstrong Foundation, an organization that provides financial and emotional support to families affected by cancer, established Nick’s House.
While staying at the house, we have truly appreciated the attractive town of Swarthmore. We shopped and ate in town, buying from unique stores and restaurants, and taking advantage of community events, such as the library book and bake sale. Every day we enjoyed our routine of walking to and from the train station as we headed to the city for treatment. And the Swarthmore campus offered us a relaxing and beautiful stroll in the evening.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to more easily navigate a difficult journey by being a part of your lovely community.
Judy Rifkin and Debbie Barlieb