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Our View: On Pertler, take good with the bad


September 25, 2020

It’s never pleasant to see someone going through troubled times, especially when such troubles are splayed across the newspapers for all your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to see.

In those situations, it’s not too hard to forget that the troubled person was also a dedicated public servant who spent most of his career fighting crime and administering justice, as an elected public servant dedicated to our community.

Such is the case of Thom Pertler, the former Carlton County attorney who lost re-election in 2018 and was recently disbarred. That he gave up his law license without a fight — it was already suspended for nonpayment of fees — indicates that he was probably done being a lawyer and ecided that fighting disbarment wasn’t worth the hassle.

Certainly, we do not condone the activities that got him to this place. His very public DWI, followed by the way he suppressed important information on dishonest police officers, was reported by the editor of this newspaper thoroughly because he’s a public official and it’s news.

But the fact that Thom Pertler was a dedicated public servant in Carlton County for so many years is not lost on us. He made quite a splash as an assistant county attorney, prosecuting Donald Blom in 2000 for the murder of Katie Poirier. He won a conviction, despite a recanted confession and conflicting evidence. His other achievements prosecuting criminals over the years is impressive.

As with other prominent people who exit from the public eye in disgrace, we can feel some empathy for Pertler. We hope people remember that he is human — a father, a husband, a friend and relative to many — and that he served our county for many years. For the good things Pertler did as county attorney, we thank him. For the rest ... well, he has paid the price.


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