A former Dover police dispatcher faced serious charges and was left with a four year prison sentence and no question about the judge’s desire to make an example of him. The thirty-nine year old man worked for the department for six years, during which time he was accused of several offenses. He pled guilty to one.
He admitted to wrongdoing back in February of this year and stated he provided information to friends and family members about criminal histories and automobile registrations. He also got discounts from a towing company by awarding business to the company, who was not on a list of approved towers for the city. Finally, he disclosed the identity of a witness to a relative.
He waived his right to a grand jury hearing in exchange for only having to plead guilty to one count of the New Jersey criminal charge of official misconduct. Such a crime applies to people who work for the public and use their power and privileges for unethical behaviors. It’s commonly applied to police officers and other civil servants.
Upon sentencing the defendant to 4 years in prison the judge said “This significant sentence should serve to send the message that public officials will be harshly dealt with when they violate their obligations to the public.”
Anytime a judge talks about “sending a message”, it’s clear proof they are trying to make an example of someone. And while this man’s actions were not just or legal, his sentence is a pretty harsh one for certain. But judges are given a sentencing range and given the power to use all of the facts of the case to determine an appropriate place within that range to sentence the defendant. This judge obviously thought 4 years was appropriate.
The defendant will be eligible for parole after 2 years and is barred from holding public employment in the future.
It’s not unusual for a defendant to feel like their sentence is unjust. A defense attorney can assist you in determining why the judge sentenced you the way they did and the factors that may be considered by the judge at sentencing time.
If you are facing criminal charges, contact our offices today. I have experience in handling all kinds of New Jersey criminal cases and would like to assist you with yours.