This July 4 it seems the further we get from 1776 the further we get from real democracy, at least in New Jersey.
Counties in New Jersey elect their sheriffs so it has become a political position where power-brokers can use that office for their own purposes. For example, back in 2006 then-Assemblyman Joe Cryan got the Union County Sheriff’s office to intimidate an ex-girlfriend:
Golding was arrested by 13 officers — from Cryan’s Union County — in the Statehouse parking garage in Trenton, which is in Mercer County and guarded by the New Jersey State Police.
Over the next few years the judicial system (made up of judges Cryan had a hand in putting on the bench) then worked over Elizabeth Golding while Assemblyman Cryan got a new job: Union County Sheriff.
Union County is as Democrat as Huntrerdon County is Republican. What happened there might be even worse:
Republican Deborah Trout was elected Hunterdon County Sheriff on November 8, 2007 and one of her first actions was to require top employees to sign a loyalty oath that reads in part:
I will not directly or indirectly seek or accept the Republican Party’s nomination for the position of Hunterdon County Sheriff. Moreover, I agree that, during the period of my employment with the Hunterdon County Sheriffs Department and for a period of two years thereafter, I will not compete against Sheriff Deboarh Trout by partaking in, assisting with, or consulting with, or be officially or unofficially associated with any other Republican candidate for Sheriff of Hunterdon County during the primary or general elections. I also hereby agree that Sheriff Deboarh Trout shall be entitled to enforce the provisions of this Agreement by any legal means. Such means shall include that right to enjoin me by legal process from violating the provisions hereof.
Can this be right? Apparently not since because of this, and other issues, in May, 2010:
Judge Ciccone announces indictments against Trout, Russo and Falat after a grand jury identifies 41 counts of official misconduct and other crimes. Hunterdon County Prosecutor J. Patrick Barnes resigns the same day and the Prosecutor’s Office is taken over by the state Attorney General’s Office.
Justice served? Hardly. That last part about the state taking over just meant that Trout, who worked to get Christie elected, got off at the bequest of two people who at the time were the top brass at the state Attorney General’s Office and who today are Judge Paula T. Dow and Judge Stepehn J. Taylor.
There are people in Hunterdon County fighting to have these injustices overturned but all that seems to be doing right now, with the Christie machine in control, is running up legal bills by those who will kick back part of their fees to Christie-2016 looking for another political victory – though not for the rule of law or those who respect it in New Jersey.