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To the Editor:

Last Saturday, I had the privilege and honor to walk the stage and accept my degree from Shippensburg University.

Throughout my four years at the institution, I was entrenched in a political science curriculum that placed an immense emphasis on the Constitution and its role in our nation’s governance. Throughout my academic tenure, I was taught that the provisions of the Constitution are what has separated the American way of life from the rest of the world.

This emphasis and call for constitutional order inspired me; and I will be starting my first year of law school this fall.

Given my inspirational experience at Ship, I was disappointed to see an op-ed written by a trustee of the University, attacking judicial candidate Ian Brink. The oppositional piece focused on and criticized Mr. Brinks experience at the Public Defender’s Office. The author argued that Mr. Brink has spent his career advocating for criminals. This is simply not true.

Anyone with an understanding of our judicial system recognizes the important role public defenders play in the equitable application of justice. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees criminal defendants the right to an attorney.

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Attacking Mr. Brink for serving in this capacity is contrary to our founding ideals. The notion that the role of a public defender is to help criminals escape justice, could not be further from the truth.

A public defender is what enables us, as citizens, to have faith in our justice system. We can rest peacefully knowing that the accused was subject to a fair and impartial trial, with legal representation; regardless of his/her financial ability.

The profession of a public defender is an honorable one; and this is coming from an aspiring prosecutor.

Don’t just take my word for it, the level of commitment and professionalism displayed by Mr. Brink has resulted in the endorsement of Franklin County’s top prosecutor, District Attorney Matt Fogal.

I do agree with the author in one respect; that we should focus on Mr. Brink’s experience. We should focus on the fact that he has dedicated his entire legal career to public service. After receiving his law degree, he could have entered private practice and earned large financial gains, but that’s not the path he chose. Ian is a man dedicated to helping others and advancing our legal system.

I know as judge, he will be committed to the pursuit of justice; while ensuring that all parties are treated fairly.

The oppositional piece uses the line “his stripes are his stripes”. If “stripes” are a measure of one’s experience, then I only hope that my future legal career is defined by the same level of integrity and professionalism exhibited by Ian Brink.

It is with great conviction that I encourage those in Franklin and Fulton County to vote Ian Brink for Judge to the Court of Common Pleas.


Hunter Merideth

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