Pubdate: Thu, 25 Feb 2016
Source: Trentonian, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2016 The Trentonian
Author: Eric Hafner


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.

- - Eric Hafner, Toms River
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