Wednesday, February 06, 2013

EDITORIAL >> Graham stands tall

Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham has a well-earned reputation as a tough lawman. He puts criminals behind bars even when he’s pressured to go easy on them.

A native of Paducah, Ky., Graham finished his military service at Little Rock Air Force Base and decided to settle here and get his law degree. The former special Air Force investigator has been a police officer, defense attorney, deputy prosecutor and public defender. He’s seen it all, from drug trafficking to murder, from break-ins to rape.

Stacy Stracener, a former Cabot teacher, recently pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a minor and was sentenced to 14 years in prison, eight of them suspended. Her supporters, who had hoped she would avoid time in prison, thought the sentence was too harsh. Graham stood his ground.

Graham is an unassuming but no-nonsense prosecutor who some may criticize for being too tough when he tells juries to mete out punishment. He asks the same of judges, who respect Graham’s professionalism and sense of fairness.

He goes strictly by the book. He’ll plea bargain with defendants if they forgo trial, but there are no easy passes. He doesn’t grandstand and doesn’t grab headlines.

Chuck Graham has been good for Lonoke County and deserves the respect of all law-abiding citizens.

It occurs to us the attorney general’s office may become vacant in a couple of years. Chuck Graham would add dignity to the office.