TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Drug epidemic tops agendas of Westmoreland DA candidates

- Peter Borghetti
Peter Borghetti
- Westmoreland County District AttorneyJohn Peck
Westmoreland County District AttorneyJohn Peck

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Term: Four years

2013 salary: $172,189

Peter Borghetti

Party: Republican

Age: 55

Residence: Murrysville

Occupation: Lawyer with Meyer Unkovic & Scott

Education: Bachelor's degree, Penn State University; master's degree, Northeastern University; Massachusetts School of Law

Family: Married, three children

John Peck

Party: Democrat

Age: 66

Residence: New Kensington

Occupation: Westmoreland County District Attorney

Education: Bachelor's degree, University of Texas; Duquesne University School of Law

Family: Married, two children

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Peter Borghetti, the Republican challenger to longtime Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck, said he's ready for a career change.

Peck, who took office in 1994, said his trial experience and record as a prosecutor qualify him for a fifth term in office as the county's top cop.

While both men said the countywide drug epidemic that has resulted in a record number of overdose deaths is a key issue, each favors a different approach to help curb the use of heroin and prescription drugs.

Borghetti said he wants the district attorney to coordinate a drug task force to directly educate the public and conduct investigations to reduce drug abuse in the county.

“It should specifically be under the district attorney's control. It's imperative that part of the drug task force work at prevention as well as trying to work to save one life. That's my goal,” Borghetti said.

Peck said a task force run by the state Attorney General's Office has been in place for years to investigate drug offenses throughout the county. The district attorney's office prosecutes cases brought by the task force.

He said additional county detectives could be hired to enhance task force investigations.

“We certainly don't de-emphasize drug cases,” Peck said. “The attorney general's drug task force works with local law enforcement and police chiefs. They know where the problems are.”

The district attorney oversees a staff of 22 assistant lawyers, 17 detectives and seven victim witness coordinators.

The office prosecutes about 5,500 criminal cases each year and an additional 1,000 cases involving children in the juvenile court system.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Peck serves as the office's lead trial attorney in most high-profile cases. He said he intends to continue to do so.

The incumbent said the office, under his leadership, would continue to vigorously pursue cases in which illegal guns are used and to prosecute sex offenders.

“The most likely people to re-offend are people who abuse children, physically and sexually. We try to get the very best lawyers in the office to prosecute them. The only way to protect children is to incarcerate them so they don't re-offend,” Peck said.

Peck said he should continue to serve as the county's top prosecutor.

“It's a job where you feel you can really make a difference in people's lives,” Peck said. “I want to continue to maintain an office known for its honesty, integrity and hard work.”

Borghetti, who works as a private patent and contracts lawyer for a Pittsburgh law firm, said he would serve a mostly administrative role in the office.

“There's a team of assistant district attorneys who are more than capable, but possibly I might prosecute some cases in the courtroom. It all depends what the case is,” Borghetti said.

Borghetti and his family moved to Westmoreland County from Boston about seven years ago. He previously worked for 14 years as an engineer before becoming a lawyer.

He said that while he supports rights of gun owners, he would strongly prosecute cases in which firearms are used illegally.

“My goal is to make Westmoreland County safer and protect senior citizens. Westmoreland County deserves a district attorney who will be fair and tough,” Borghetti said. “The status quo is no longer acceptable, especially when it comes to the drug issues.”

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Motorcyclist injured in Sewickley Township
  2. Red Onion reunion possibly the last for Hempfield coal mining village
  3. Judge denies former New Alexandria tree trimmer another chance
  4. Monessen home invasion ‘ringleader’ denied leniency
  5. Heroin suspect out of Westmoreland County jail on $100K bond
  6. Police: Greensburg man had heroin, stolen gun
  7. Hempfield murderer serving life sentence promises restitution when he’s released
  8. Derry man gets 19-year prison sentence for recording sex assaults of girl
  9. Girl, 10, forced to strip in Sewickley Township home invasion
  10. Ligonier Valley YMCA project in public phase
  11. Kecksburg celebrates its UFO history with annual festival