MILFORD - A ruling issued by the Pennsylvania Superior Court determined the Pike County Court of Common Pleas lacked the authority to grant early release from jail to serial DUI offender Timothy Flaherty.  
  In March of last year, Flaherty was sentenced to a period of one year and 90 days to five years for a DUI crash that injured another person in Milford and another DUI incident in Westfall Township.  Flaherty had faced a minimum of two years, but the sentences were ordered to be served at the same time. Only two weeks into his one year and three month sentence, Judge Joseph Kameen released Flaherty from jail to attend a program at the Montrose VA in Montrose, New York.
Flaherty, a US Army veteran, claimed he had suffered enemy related injuries in Afghanistan and that he had received a Purple Heart during his service.  Later investigation by the district attorney’s office obtained statements by a Brigadier General of the Army and other fellow service members that refuted Flaherty’s claims.  Those statements said that Flaherty became ill and suddenly collapsed.  The statements each said that his injuries were not the result of any enemy combat.  Official military records showed that Flaherty did not receive a Purple Heart during his service in Afghanistan.
During his release from jail, Flaherty was charged with possession of alcohol on VA grounds.  After that incident, Flaherty was ordered to return to the Pike County Jail.
The district attorney’s office appealed the decision to release Flaherty early to the Superior Court.  The ruling by the Superior Court stated, “[T}he Court of Common Pleas of Pike County did not have authority to grant Flaherty’s request for a furlough.”  The Superior Court noted that the law was clear that Flaherty was not entitled to early release.  The Court found the Pennsylvania Legislature has made a policy decision that repeat DUI offenders must serve their minimum mandatory sentence prior to any release from imprisonment.
Tonkin stated he was satisfied with the Superior Court decision.  “Here we had a man connected to a sitting County Commissioner, who fabricated claims of heroism and falsely claimed to have received one of our nation’s highest military awards in order to gain lenient treatment after his 3rd and 4th DUI convictions. In one incident he had injured an innocent person after he crashed into their vehicle.  He also had previously assaulted two Pennsylvania State Troopers during a prior DUI arrest.  He should never have been released from jail early and the Superior Court decision supports the law that requires serial DUI offenders to serve jail terms.  I am satisfied that the Superior Court upheld the law as written.  The case should have never had to go that far.”
   In an earlier interview with The News Eagle, Flaherty's grandpatents, Brian and Mary Flaherty, who had been raising him, defended his military service. They presented Timothy's honorable discharge documents and information that Flaherty was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The Flahertys live in Hemlock Farms. He was also being defended by a family friend, Richard Caridi, who insisted that although he is a Pike County Commissioner, was not spaking in his role of public office but as a fellow veteran.
   Caridi said Timothy Flaherty had been released to attend a program at the Montrose VA because of Flaherty's need for intense psychiatric treatment not available in Pike County.