Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Letter: Here's "The Situation"

Dear Editor,

Former Jersey Shore cast member, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino is reportedly entering into a plea agreement in the Middletown Township Municipal Court to resolve assault charges stemming from a dispute with his brother at the tanning salon they co-own.

The plea agreement, which would reportedly see the matter downgraded from a quasi-criminal 2C disorderly persons offense to a municipal ordinance violation is in clear violation of state law and the Municipal Prosecutor Gerald Massell knows what he is doing is wrong. Almost two years ago, I wrote to Middletown to tell them that these plea deals violate the law and to discontinue the practice.

State law preempts municipal powers in this matter. It is illegal in the State of New Jersey to improperly downgrade statutory 2C charges to a municipal ordinance violation based on a November 18, 1998 directive from then Attorney General Peter Veniero and the case law from State v. Paserchia, 356 N.J. Super. 461, 466 (App.Div.2003).

New Jersey now has a diversion program for first time offenders in municipal court to complete a probationary period and avoid a criminal record. Improperly downgrading 2C offenses to a municipal ordinance violation prevents this system from accurately identifying first time offenders because an ordinance violation does not show up on a criminal history printout.

I previously complained about this unlawful practice taking place in the Middletown Township Municipal Court (as well as the Prosecutor and Judge having their private law offices in the same building, which is owned by the Prosecutor's father, a clear conflict), yet the Middletown court has failed to heed the legal warnings and continue acting as if they are above the law.

I believe Middletown Township has conspired to continue with these illegal plea deals for corrupt purposes, because an ordinance fine goes entirely to the township bank account as opposed to a state law violation, which must be shared with the state government.

Municipal Prosecutor Gerald Massell and Judge Richard Thompson should face criminal Official Misconduct charges, an ethics complaint and disbarment for their continued disregard of state law. What a situation.


Sincerely,

Eric Hafner
Toms River

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Obviously, your complaints are unfounded or there would have been action taken and the practice stopped. Go knock on someone else's door!

This is probably happening throughout the state, not just in Middletown. Check out how many ordinance violations the shore towns write in a summer. Your eyes will roll with $$$.

Anonymous said...

It looks according to the Star Ledger and Somerset County Prosecutor's Office that this practice is indeed illegal. Eric Hafner was 100% right on this one.

The fact Middletown was told by Mr. Hafner to stop doing this, but they continued makes me think they should face a penalty.

http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2011/08/manville_prosecutor_runs_afoul_of_state_plea-bargaining_guidelines.html

Anonymous said...

Here is the entire directive from the Attorney General's Office. Eric Hafner is right.

Page 1
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=24xgprr&s=8#.VCxEilPLfQE

Page 2
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=ogzmx&s=8#.VCxE7lPLfQE

Page 3
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=10di87n&s=8#.VCxE2FPLfQE

Anonymous said...

"roll with $$$"? Sounds like Middletown cares a little too much about money and little less about justice. How the hell are they going to allow the things to go on if they're violating the law. You know, honestly you sound like Gerald Massell himself. Middletown Republicans are unethical behavior seem perfect together. I feel sorry that you buy into these con artists' bullshit games.

Anonymous said...

The Situation and ole fabulous five ..are .perfect together !

Money buys anything in this town.

Anonymous said...

It looks like it's time to fire Councilman Massell's brother, Gerald Massell from his Municipal Prosecutor patronage job

Anonymous said...

In Middletown, the law is whatever those in charge make up as they go along

Anonymous said...

Eric, wonderful info.. a. good friend had the same. experience re traffic ticket in another of Judge Thompson's towns. The AG's letter is very clear!

Have you recently done a complaint re the downgrades? How can we help? Good catch.

Is there a law or ethics rule about judge and prosecutor sharing an office building?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of arrests just wait what is a coming......

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Gerald Massell has found himself in some trouble. He should do the right thing and resign.

Anonymous said...

The Massell brothers belong in jail for stealing Middletown's money.