Attacks fly in Tioga DA race

By Matt Porter

October 31, 2013 Updated Oct 31, 2013 at 7:05 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Tioga County voters received several election postcards this week, including one featuring a smiling Fred Luther on a fiery background with the caption, 'I'm Fred Luther, I defend criminals for a living.'

The postcard was mailed by the Tioga GOP which cites Fred Luther's 30 years as a defense attorney.

Tioga GOP chairman Don Leonard said it's a fair assessment.

"He makes a living from getting bad people out of jail or keeping them out of jail," Leonard said. "We Republicans believe that bad people belong in jail, not out of jail."

The same group revealed Luther sued the village of Waverly for $1 million dollars in a dispute over snow removal.

In 1993, Luther's wife and friend were charged $40 for not cleaning snow in their front sidewalk.

Luther in lawsuit argued that the walkway was already cleaned, and included a $1 million in punitive damages.

"Mr. Luther has abused the legal system," Leonard said, "He's abused the laws to punish people he doesn't like, punish people over a $40 fine."

The case was dismissed and then settled after an appeal, costing Luther about $40.

Another postcard delivered shows Kirk Martin next to a stock photo of a man in cuffs.

The postcard reads 'Most district attorneys prosecute criminals. Kirk Martin is a criminal.'

Despite the card saying it is not endorsed by any party or candidate, Leonard said it must have come from the Martin campaign.

"These Luther mailings are just mean, they're dirty," he said.

Luther said he didn't sponsor or condone the most recent postcard of Martin in cuffs.

On crime, Luther said he's been misquoted.

"I would put the people that put the poison on the street in jail for a long time as a district attorney," Luther said.

He said he wants to help young kids who may make a mistake with small marijuana possessions not be tainted for life leaning a little lighter on a first offense.

"The Tioga County GOP is mounting just another attack against me because they're running a flawed candidate with a criminal conviction and they're grasping at straws," Luther said.

Andy Romano said he isn't concerned about the sharp criticism in the mailings, that's because he said the truths about each candidate are already out in the open.

"An awful lot of it's truth," Romano said, "So you have to let the people decide for themselves what kind of person they want in there, and you get what you vote for."

Kirk Martin was asked for comment on this report, he did respond to that request.