Voices asked the four candidates for the upcoming district attorney election to tell how they plan on winning the hearts and minds of Centre County voters.
In alphabetical order - Karen Arnold, Anthony De Boef, Michael Madeira, and Stacy Parks Miller.
During the final eight years of her tenure as assistant district attorney under Ray Gricar, Karen Arnold specialized in child abuse and elderly abuse cases.
Arnold said that the experience she gained prosecuting these types of cases would help her greatly as Centre County’s chief law enforcement officer.
Arnold started her academic career as– of all things–a music teacher. She received her bachelor’s degree in music education at James Madison University, and went on to receive her master’s degree in organ performance at the University of Cincinnati.
Arnold spent several years as a music teacher in Virginia, Delaware, and Pittsburgh. But it was in Pittsburgh that Arnold chose to change career paths, and enroll at the University of Pittsburgh Law School.
After Arnold received her law degree she moved to Centre County to practice as a civil defender. After one year, Gricar, then district attorney, offered her a job as an assistant prosecutor, and Arnold kept that job until 2006, when the current district attorney Michael Madeira released her.
During her 10-plus years as an assistant district attorney, Arnold prosecuted a wide variety of criminal cases including: vehicular homicide, shootings and child abuse cases.
Anthony De Boef
The days of district attorneys sitting back in cushy courthouse offices, dictating orders to subordinates are over.
De Boef, a gruff Iowan with a military buzz cut, told Voices that one of his main goals, should he be elected to Centre County’s seat as the top cop, is to get down to the nitty gritty and take on a case load rather than mete out the tough cases to his assistant district attorneys.
“Having a caseload keeps you visible, keeps you in the job, you know what’s going on, you’re not just sitting back and falling out of touch,” De Boef said.
Included in the cases he plans on taking are any and all cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence. De Boef said that such sensitive cases require the full attention of the head D.A., and not less experienced assistant prosecutors.
De Boef’s first role as a Centre County prosectutor started in 1995, during the age of Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar. After three years, De Boef moved on to private practice, joining attorney Robert Mitinger to create the law firm Mitinger and De Boef.
During his nine-year stint practicing private law, De Boef specialized in criminal and civil litigation, personal law, and family law—all areas he says will lend to his credibility as a competent and experienced district attorney.
Incumbent Republican Michael Madeira won the Centre County District Attorney’s seat after former District Attorney Ray Gricar mysteriously disappeared.
Madeira is looking to the future, and lists the many accomplishments he has achieved as the chief law enforcement officer in Centre County—including a hefty list of drug convictions and murder prosecutions – as reasons for the voters to continue to trust his leadership.
Madeira grew up in Dallas Pa. in Luzerne County. He received his bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones Univ-ersity in 1986 and graduated from Villanova Law School in 1989. One year out of law school, Madeira returned to Luzerne County, where he served as the first assistant district attorney for two years before moving on to private practice.
Before being elected Centre County District Attorney in 2005, Madeira spent 13 years as a deputy attorney general on Pennsylvania’s Drug Task Force.
“There is a wide range of things this office has done and improved over the course of the last three years,” Madeira said, referring to his long conviction record, and streamlining of the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) process.
The job is not finished, Madeira said. He added that the people of Centre County would be well advised to elect him to a second term so the district attorney’s office, with Madeira at the helm, may continue its success.
Stacy Parks Miller
“No more cookie cutter sentences,” said Stacy Parks Miller, who is running on a “solid 15 years of experience,” five of them as a prosecutor.
Sentencing rigidity is a big issue for Parks Miller, who has noticed a string of lopsided sentences coming from the incumbent district attorney’s office.
“I don’t know how anyone could determine what sentence is appropriate for someone until their whole history comes before you,” she said, referring to the perceived unfairness of the current district attorney’s office in handling drug cases. She said determining appropriate sentences tailored to the individual is one of the most important parts of the job.
In 1996, and just two years out of law school, Parks Miller was appointed to serve as the first assistant district attorney in Clearfield County. There she served in a leadership role while prosecuting murder, sex crimes, assault, and drug offense cases.
After five years in Clearfield, Parks Miller joined Miller Kistler and Campbell lawfirm in Centre County where she currently practices criminal law.
“I know I can do the job,” Parks Miller said, referring to her belief that her past experiences will serve her well as Centre County District Attorney. “I just know that there’s a big need in the community and I know I can do the job.”