Subject: Gene Melody for Municipal Judge
Date: Wed, December 18, 2013 10:31 am
To: email@example.com, “Gerald Tarantolo”<firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
The letters campaign for Gene Melody comes to all of us and there is no need to forward them. This is the first time in my 5 years on council that I have witnessed this type of campaign for a professional appointment. I actually find it to be an immature approach to try and seek an appointment within our borough. I am well aware of Eugene Melody's life accomplishments and resume, that is why there are RFQs to look over. In this case, I have know [sic] Gene his entire life and I have always admired him as a child and now an adult.
This borough has just lost thousands of dollars in expected revenue from not appointing the right person for this same position. If the job is not handled to our satisfaction (like we just experienced) we are unable to guide, discipline or dismiss the person we select. So although I know Gene Melody is a good man, I really don't know his capabilities in the courtroom as a lawyer. No one knows, with certainty, that he would be able to perform the task of MC Judge and gain the respect needed to be successful in this position.
Our police department is full of young aggressive officers that have been producing more summonses than we have seen in several years. If these officers get discouraged by our selections for the position of judge and or prosecutor, this town will see those numbers decline. Judge Thompson has earned the respect from the public, attorneys and police officers. He has a known and consistence [sic] sentencing formula which is very similar to our previous Judge Mark Apostolou that also had the respect of everyone in and outside the courtroom. Defense attorneys come into his courtroom and are well aware of his abilities and knowledge so they don't even attempt to try to outsmart or out-lawyer him. This also saves time and money when moving the court's large calendars.
I will remind everyone that I consider Gene Melody a friend and a great product of Eatontown. Unfortunately, we can not just appoint our friends in positions of this magnitude when we have someone with a proven record and ability to be appointed without any risk or concern of his ability to do the job we all expect from this position.
I hope that this helps everyone reach the same conclusion to appoint the most qualified individual as MC Judge for the next 3 year term. That person is Richard Thompson.
Dennis J. Connelly
Eatontown Borough Councilman
Editor's Note One: The author of the above email retired from the Eatontown Police Department in September 2007, after twenty-five years. At the time he wrote the email, he was the Eatontown Borough Police Commissioner. He became Eatontown Council President on January 1, 2014.
Editor's Note Two: On Friday, October 23, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey suspended Richard Thompson without pay from the judgeships that he held in Bradley Beach, Colts Neck, Eatontown, Middletown, Neptune City, Oceanport, Rumson, Tinton Falls and Union Beach. The stated reason for the suspension was alleged violation of Canons One and Two of the New Jersey Code of Judicial Conduct. On February 2, 2018, Thompson admitted guilt in Superior Court to felonious falsification of about 4000 court records. These falsifications directed to the town fines that should have gone to other governmental bodies. On September 24, 2019, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, in matter bearing Docket No. D-11, ordered that Richard Thompson show cause on January 7, 2020, why he should not be disbarred or otherwise disciplined. One wonders why it took close to eighteen months for that order to show cause to issue. Regardless, that matter proceeded as scheduled. Oral argument before the Supreme Court of New Jersey on that matter is online (viewable using Internet Explorer, not Firefox). The Supreme Court of New Jersey disbarred Thomson on January 16, 2020, only nine days after his hearing. The decision of the Disciplinary Review Board recommending disbarment included the following language: “Despite respondent's protestations of being singled out, the evidence clearly and convincingly illustrates that he engaged in an egregious, systematic scheme of criminal conduct, while serving in public office. Pursuant to Conway, such behavior normally mandates disbarment. Like the judge disbarred in Boylan, respondent's crimes deeply and profoundly impugned the integrity of the legal system...Respondent's crimes exposed his lack of moral fiber, openly displaying his unfitness to continue to practice law.”