Letters to the Editor Supporting Oliphant

Support Oliphant (HT: 10/4/17)

Erika Oliphant has been serving as a deputy prosecutor in Monroe County since November 2009. Domestic violence is among the types of criminal cases that she has successfully prosecuted, often in tandem with the prosecution of major felonies. Oliphant has long been an advocate for our community’s most vulnerable populations in their darkest hours.

Oliphant’s previous work in our community relating to domestic violence began with her internship at the Middle Way House in the summer of 2007. This work overlapped with her term as student director of Indiana University’s Protective Order Project (“POP”) from 2007 to 2008. She was a member of POP’s Advisory Board from 2008 to 2009. Oliphant’s advice was sought out during the development of Monroe County’s Protective Order Assistance Project as well.

Erika Oliphant is a dependable and level-headed public servant committed to community safety, compassionate justice and constitutional values. Monroe County deserves a prosecutor who is a zealous advocate for justice and who has the experience to protect community safety while ensuring the rights of all citizens.

Visit www.ErikaOliphant.com to learn more about this exceptional public servant. Then join me in supporting Oliphant for Monroe County Prosecutor in 2018.

Lorraine Merriman Farrell



Oliphant for prosecutor (HT: 2/22/18)

As a probation officer, I learned the importance of the prosecutor’s office in both law enforcement and the rendering of justice fairly and impartially. That is one big reason for my undivided support of Erika Oliphant as a candidate for county prosecutor.

In her determined prosecution of crime, she will respect defendants’ judicial protections and treat victims with fairness and respect as they move through the judicial process. The implementation of these exemplary practices presupposes a hands-on mastery of criminal law acquired in her eight years of work with criminal and felony drug cases as deputy prosecutor for Monroe County.

She brought to that job an unusually deep understanding of community needs that began when, as an honors law student at IU, she interned at Indiana Legal Services and served as a legal advocate at Middleway House. She continues this fine beginning through her service on court teams for drug treatment; re-entry programs; treatment of veterans; and her local teaching of criminal law. Her personal study of best practices grounds her understanding of community costs and benefits of jail and its alternatives.

I urge you to vote for Erika Oliphant in the primary race for prosecutor.

Tomilea Allison



Truthful, ethical and fair (HT: 3/12/18)

As a friend and co-worker of Erika Oliphant for eight years, I’ve seen first hand her commitment to progressive policies and programs. It is easy to declare to be a “progressive” candidate. Erika Oliphant has a proven record of understanding these ideals and how they can be implemented successfully within the criminal justice system.

Erika actively participates in supporting harm reduction and treatment options; she wrote the Monroe County Prosecutor’s office policy on the syringe exchange program; she has studied alternatives to incarceration for years; and has spent time developing an understanding of best practices. Erika has risen to a position of leadership within the office and has earned a solid reputation within the community as an expert on constitutional protections.

Most importantly, Erika Oliphant has proved herself to be truthful, ethical and fair. The elected prosecutor can influence the prioritization of community concerns, education of law enforcement, and protection of citizens’ constitutional rights. Erika Oliphant has worked for eight years bringing a progressive agenda to light in these areas. She is the right choice for Monroe County Prosecutor. Please vote for Erika Oliphant in the Democratic primary on or before May 8.

Beth Hamlin



Proud to back Oliphant (HT: 4/4/18)

I have been active in our local criminal justice system since the 1970’s, including 24 years as a prosecutor. For the past eight years, I have worked with Erika Oliphant, and I am proud to support her candidacy.

The most important qualifications for a prosecutor are experience in the trenches and a firm grounding in criminal justice policy. It requires a leader, not a “manager.” It also requires a person who possesses an appropriate temperament. “Grace under pressure” is how Ernest Hemingway described courage. Erika Oliphant is the candidate with these qualities. She is the progressive candidate in this race, yet she is also pragmatic; firm but compassionate; professional, accessible, honest, and dedicated to the ideal of seeking justice.

Erika is fully prepared to assume the responsibilities of this most important office. I will be retiring at the end of this year. It is my hope that the office will continue to build upon the many successful policies and programs that are in place. Please join me in voting for Erika Oliphant for prosecutor.

Bob Miller



Prosecutor election critical (HT: 4/5/18)

Vote for Erika Oliphant for prosecutor. Hopefully one thing we have all learned after the 2016 election is that elections matter.

As a community, the election of a new prosecutor is critical. There are many issues that will be discussed in this campaign, but two that will dominate the agenda of the next prosecutor are the current opioid crisis and how mental illness impacts our justice system. Erika is the only candidate that can provide the kind of courageous leadership to get the results we need as a community.

As deputy prosecutor since 2009, Erika has shown a compassionate, evidence-based approach to ensure that our friends, family and neighbors with substance use disorders and mental illness are held accountable, but with a focus towards treatment, progressive sentencing programs and problem-solving courts. Erika has successfully worked with local mental health professionals, law enforcement and the judiciary, which allows her to make a significant impact on these problems as soon as she takes office.

Erika not only has the qualifications to be prosecutor, but also the temperament and maturity to serve our community with dignity and honor.

Randy G. Paul



Support for Oliphant confirmed (HT: 4/22/18)

I was alarmed to read in the H-T on April 18 that prosecutor candidate Margie Rice claimed our local criminal justice system engages in “discriminatory bail practices.” As a criminal defense lawyer I want to go on record to say this claim is false.

Ms. Rice has not practiced criminal law for more than 20 years and is simply out of touch. Jail overcrowding is a serious and complex problem, but it is absolutely not the result of “discrimination,” “technical violations of probation” or “treating addiction as a crime.”

This kind of disgraceful and disingenuous political hype should have no place in this primary election. This appears to be a pattern of weekly absurd “policy statements” released by Rice’s campaign in order to get her name in print. This stunt confirms my support for Erika Oliphant for Monroe County prosecutor.

The prosecutor is the chief law enforcement officer in the county and is much more than an “administrator.” The prosecutor carries a badge in one hand and the Constitution in the other. This requires the prosecutor to have real experience facing our current problems, which are far different than the problems faced two decades ago. Only Erika Oliphant has this experience.

Katharine “Kitty” Liell



Oliphant has credibility, vision (HT: 4/26/18)

Having worked with Erika Oliphant for eight years, I know she will be an outstanding prosecutor because she already is an outstanding prosecutor. A short stint in a prosecutor’s office does not qualify a person to be a leader of professional prosecutors. One must become an expert not only in statutes, search and seizure, evidence rules, forensics, sentencing and treatment alternatives, but also learn essential skills that can only be acquired through years of dedicated practice.

Ms. Oliphant, currently entrusted with a significant caseload of major felonies, has been the lead prosecutor in several very serious and complex jury trials, including murders. The elected prosecutor must be competent to handle these weighty cases. She is the only candidate qualified to do so.

By electing Erika Oliphant, we will have a prosecutor who can and will translate progressive goals into actual practice using her demonstrated ability to bring out the best in others. She is not only a leader among prosecutors but is also highly regarded by judges, police, probation officers and defense attorneys. She has the credibility and vision required to lead our criminal justice community into the future.

You deserve to have Erika Oliphant as your public servant.

David Gohn



Oliphant committed, experienced as well (HT: 4/27/18)

Experience. Commitment. Compassion. These are the words that come to mind when I think of Erika Oliphant, and these are qualities that I want to see in a prosecuting attorney.

Addiction and mental illness are not new concepts for our community. But how we treat folks working through them in our criminal justice system requires a new approach. Erika believes in compassion. She wants addiction and mental illness to be seen as the public health issues that they are rather than criminal.

Our jails are filling up with nonviolent offenders, and it needs to stop. Many of the folks incarcerated need assistance, not prison. Currently, around 60 percent of individuals in prison are suffering from some sort of mental illness. Erika is committed to building up our treatment courts and increasing diversion options to ensure those who need treatment can get it.

I want a prosecuting attorney who will see the whole person, and I believe Erika Oliphant is that individual.

Vote Erika Oliphant!

Ashley Pirani



Oliphant has credentials (HT: 4/30/18)

I am writing in support of Erika Oliphant for Monroe County prosecutor. She is the only candidate with the credentials and tools that Monroe County needs.

As deputy prosecutor for eight years, she was able to study firsthand the best practices for getting and keeping people out of the criminal justice system, and earned an outstanding reputation for her tireless and capable work.

She has worked directly with mental illness and opioid addictions, spending five years representing the state of Indiana on the drug treatment court team, and being a founding member of the veterans’ treatment court and re-entry court.

Erika Oliphant is well-known within the justice system in Indiana, and her record demonstrates her commitment to racial justice, equal treatment and fairness. I personally commend her collaborative relationship with Middle Way House, where she worked as a legal advocate and with which she continues to consult on behalf of domestic violence victims.

Prosecuting attorneys are charged not only with earning convictions, but also with rehabilitation of offenders and restoration for victims where possible. We need someone who is knowledgeable with all of the duties and responsibilities of the office: Erika Oliphant.

Charlotte Hess



Oliphant will fill vacuum (HT: 5/1/18)

Erika Oliphant gets my vote to be the next prosecuting attorney for Monroe County. I do not claim to speak for the public defenders office. I am just one of them, and have been for close to 20 years. Before that, three years as a deputy prosecutor in Morgan County, three years in Owen County, and three years doing trial work at Ken Nunn’s office. As the last of the defenders who has also prosecuted, I am not coming at this from a vacuum.

A vacuum is what we’re looking at in our justice building. Three of our Circuit Court judges are retiring. Current prosecutor Chirs Gaal is retiring, as is chief deputy Bob Miller. Jeff Kehr, Geoff Bradley and Darcie Winkle, a large portion of the experienced attorneys now in the prosecutor’s office, are all running for the empty judge’s positions. While any of these would make good judges, we are left with a substantial void in the experienced prosecutor department.

Erika has handled every type of criminal case imaginable. For almost a decade, Erika has stepped up on a daily basis in our courts.

Monroe County can not afford to “wait and see” with regard to the effective, experienced and dedicated pursuit of justice in our courts. Erika is ready to step up once again and is the right person for the job.

Stuart K. Baggerly


Oliphant capable, qualified (HT: 5/3/18)

My father, Joseph Sutton, was the 13th president of Indiana University. The greatest joy of his life was seeing people from humble backgrounds succeed at Indiana University and beyond. Erika Oliphant, candidate for Monroe County prosecutor, is just that type of person.

Erika was raised by a single mom in a rural area of southern Indiana, where she helped the family by growing and selling vegetables. Erika worked her way through both undergraduate and law school here in Bloomington at Indiana University, while working a factory job in order to support herself.

The same grit and determination that Erika used to become a successful lawyer is evident in the manner in which she conducts herself in the courtroom. As an experienced felony deputy prosecutor, Erika has been on the ground floor in developing alternatives to incarceration, such as our Veteran’s Treatment Court. I have heard of her compassion when speaking with victims, whom she treats with fairness, dignity and respect. Under Erika’s watch, imprisonment is reserved for violent and repeat offenders.

These are some of the reasons I will be voting for Erika Oliphant for prosecutor and I encourage you too as well.

Abigail Sutton



Confident about Oliphant (HT: 5/3/18)

My first introduction to Erika Oliphant was in regards to knitting. You can really get to know someone when discussing a personal project and passion. What I discovered was that Erika is steadfast, strong, diligent and committed. These are great characteristics to have in any situation, but these will carry her far as the next Monroe County prosecutor.

What I learned about Erika later, is that she was raised by a single mother, worked her way through school, is respected by all who know and work with her, has worked within the recovery community, has proven experience in the courtroom, and is an authority on constitutional law — a diverse background, which will serve all Monroe County residents.

She is also endorsed by Democracy for Monroe County, and is supported by the Black Democratic Caucus and the Democratic Women’s Caucus.

Erika has what it takes to be the next Monroe County prosecutor. She is the real deal. She will bring to this office a calm confidence, a strong ethical center, compassion and resourcefulness, and eight years of experience in the prosecutor’s office. I’m confident in casting my vote for Erika Oliphant for prosecutor on May 8th.

Angela Caldwell