When it comes to political corruption, serious crime pays in the Ocean County, New Jersey Superior Court.
Case in point: Howard Birdsall of Birdsall Services Group, pleaded guilty to corporate misconduct and fraud charges, admitting to making countless illegal political donations to score high-value government contracts. Under the terms of his plea before Judge James Den Uyl, he will get a four year sentence, with likely immediate Intensive Supervision Parole release. Mr. Birdsall might never see a day in prison.
Yet Jon Peditto, a local photographer who victimlessly grew 17 marijuana plants for his own usage and occasionally shared a joint with friends, was recently sentenced to eight years in state prison, with an over two year mandatory minimum, by fellow Ocean County Judge James Blaney.
Judge James Den Uyl should reject the sentencing recommendation in Mr. Birdsall's plea deal, and require Howard Birdsall to actually serve at least a decade in prison for his serious crimes or face a trial. The public cannot accept otherwise.