Judges, prosecutors, and other members of the legal system are often willing to take circumstances into account when working with accused individuals. This is especially true with non-violent crimes such as petty theft or vandalism if the individual being charged doesn’t have a past criminal history. Understanding legal options is important for defendants when negotiating plea bargains or deciding whether to allow a matter to go before the court. For one man, a history of mental illness may have swayed prosecutors to extend a plea deal.
According to reports, a 39-year-old man received a plea deal from a Morris County, New Jersey, assistant prosecutor. The deal included a requirement for continued mental health treatment, probation, and restitution for damages inflicted during an act of vandalism. The man was accused of destroying a monument that was dedicated to sexual abuse victims.
According to reports, the 39-year-old admitted to taking a sledgehammer to the monument on Nov. 18, 2011. The monument weighed 400 pounds and was located outside of St. Joseph Church, which is in Mendham. The man could not explain his reasons for destroying the monument.
The original charge against the 39-year-old was third-degree criminal mischief. After he accepted the plea deal, the charge was lowered to a disorderly persons offense. The man is required to make a restitution payment of $7,500 for the monument and will be under probation for two years. The man’s attorney, as well as the prosecutor and judge, report that they feel this is the best outcome for the mentally ill 39-year-old.
Every case has its own unique details, and every person has a background that may contribute to actions related to a case. One important job of a defense team is to identify the details and background that could be pertinent to a defense and present them in the best way possible to reduce charges, seek a not guilty verdict, or decrease sentencing.