The true Toney legacy
I am writing on behalf of the children of former Harmar Police Chief Rick Toney.
We’re asking people to read between the lines of a complex story behind a simple headline, “Ex-chief sidesteps prison with guilty plea,” (Sept. 26). In 2009, my mother, Kim, and running mate Jerry Chalmers ran for township supervisor. They won, but their opponents challenged the votes. The Allegheny County Elections Department found the challenge to be unsubstantial and the case was dropped.
But a complaint was made to the U.S. Justice Department and a state case went to federal court.
So read between the lines of this political battle to understand why my father chose to plead guilty when he so badly wanted to fight it to clear his name. Please go to bja.gov/Publications/PleaBargainingResearchSummary.pdf. This research on the federal courts shows how many non-guilty plea cases end in imprisonment and defendants are judged more harshly when a plea bargain is not taken.
My father could have lost his pension — our family’s only source of income — and he could have gone to prison, But worst, we could have lost him.
My entire family stood behind him during this court hearing. The article on his plea skipped the details, like the hesitation and pain in his voice and the sobs from his family.
His legacy will not be this case, but rather the love and devotion in the eyes and hearts of his family and friends who know the real Rick Toney. We are his legacy and our family shall strive on like the fighters we are.
The writer is Rick Toney’s daughter.