Retired Plymouth County prosecutor Joseph Gaughan, of Marshfield, who had battled cancer for a number a years, died Tuesday. He was known as a tough courtroom prosecutor and tireless advocate for victims who always took time to help young attorneys.

Joseph Gaughan, who prosecuted many of the area’s highest-profile criminal cases in a career spanning four district attorneys in Plymouth County before he retired, died on Tuesday. He was 66.


Gaughan, of Marshfield, who had battled cancer for a number of years, was known as a tough courtroom prosecutor and tireless advocate for victims who always took time to help young attorneys.


“He was the guy that everybody went to with their cases,” Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said. “He would never tell you what to do. He would ask you what you planned to do and helped you. He was very thorough.”


Gaughan, who joined the Plymouth County district attorney’s office in 1975 and served as first assistant since 1979, was considered one of the first key lawyers in helping to usher DNA evidence into the courtroom.


Gaughan retired in 2003 from the district attorney’s office and joined the law firm of friend J. Christopher Amrhein in Hingham.


Until his most recent illness, he taught criminal law and criminal procedures at Stonehill College and at Concord Law School, an Internet law school based in California.


Funeral arrangements are pending.


The Enterprise