Is New Jersey the next Delaware?

By Art Gallagher

Is New Jersey the next Delaware?   That’s the question Politickernj raised earlier this week regarding the 2012 U.S. Senate race in NJ.  Politckernj is wondering if the 2012 U.S. Senate race in New Jersey will be similar to the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Delaware.

The short answer to that question is no. An incumbent was not running in Delaware in 2010. 2012 is a presidential year. 2012 will not be a repeat of 2010.  New Jersey is not Delaware.  More on that later.

As you might imagine, I have a unique perspective about the differences between New Jersey and Delaware, which is not related to electoral politics.  If you’re a reader of this site or The Asbury Park Press, you’re probably aware that I was arrested in my home in Highlands after 10PM on Friday October 14 on a fugitive warrant out of Delaware.  I’ve been charged with two felony counts of theft over $100,000 and two misdemeanor counts of forgery.  The charges will not be further discussed on this site, other than to say that I am confident of a favorable outcome.

The real reason I was arrested on a fugitive warrant is that the Delaware attorney I had engaged to arrange my surrender in Delaware failed to communicate with the investigating detective in a timely manner.   I have a different attorney now.

3 hours vs. 3 weeks

So far the biggest difference between my experiences in New Jersey and Delaware is time.  I arrived, as scheduled, to surrender in Delaware this Wednesday at 11am and was on my way home by 2PM.   As in Monmouth County, most of that time was spent waiting. 

I wasn’t handcuffed, patted down or locked up in Delaware.  The actual processing, (being photographed, finger printed and signing some papers) took about 10 minutes.   Then my attorney and I hung out until the fugitive warrant was removed from the system. We waited for a Justice of the Peace to finish his lunch and to appear via video for my bail hearing. The video bail hearing took less than five minutes.  My bail was set at $12,000.

Technically, I was detained until my family members posted my bail.  But I wasn’t really detained.  My attorney and I waited in the lobby of the police station for the bail to be posted.  I was even allowed to step outside of the building for a smoke, twice.

After about 40 minutes, I signed the bail receipt and was released from my detention in the lobby.  It took about a ½ hour to meet up with my family members who had posted my bail.   The clock in the car read 1:46 and we were on our way home.

That entire experience is very different than what I experienced in New Jersey.

At about 10PM on Friday October 14 I was arrested at my home in Highlands.  I was frisked and handcuffed.

At the Highlands police station I asked to call an attorney.  “We’re not questioning you.  We’ll let you call your attorney when we know what you can tell him,” was the reply.   I was photographed by the arresting officer twice.   My belt, shoes, cash, wallet and blackberry were confiscated and I was put into a cell.

A few hours later a sergeant came into the holding area to tell me what was going on.  A Monmouth County judge had set my bail at $250,000 with no 10% option.  “But there’s really no bail,” he said, “even if you post the $250,000 the fugitive warrant is still in place and you’ll be arrested again.”   “Your wife called, we’ll let you call her back in the morning before we transfer you to the county jail.”  “What are the charges?” I asked.  “Some kind of theft,” was his answer.

I managed to get some sleep on the thin plastic mattress and with the lights on.  In the morning an officer sat with me while I called my wife from a police station line that was being recorded.  I was given access to my blackberry to read her phone numbers for my attorney, family members and friends that she should call. I sent a text to my attorney.

Then I was transferred to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution where I spent the next three weeks.

$12,000 vs. $250,000 or $150,000

Why my bail was set so high in Monmouth County compared to the bail required in Delaware (where I am not a resident and have no ties to the community) remains a mystery to me.

At my bail reduction hearing in Monmouth County, which occurred after I had already been incarcerated for almost two weeks, the judge who reduced my bail to $150,000 with no 10% option said that such bail would be appropriate for like charges levied in New Jersey. 

The Asbury Park Press reported this morning that a former attorney was arrested for stealing over $200,000 from a client.  Those charges are somewhat similar to those levied against me. The former attorney’s bail was set at $35,000.

On November 1, The Asbury Park Press reported that a Wall Township attorney and her paralegal were indicted after a three year long investigation for stealing $800,000 from wards whose interests they were assigned to protect.  The attorney and the paralegal were each released on $75,000 bail.

In comparison, my bail in Monmouth County seems like an injustice and I realize that I sound like I am complaining.  That is not my intention. It is a mystery.

This experience has been incredibly difficult for me, perhaps more so for those who love me.  It has been life altering, yet I have faith that in the long run it will be for the good.

Over the next few days or weeks I’ll be writing more about my experience and some of the other differences I have noticed between New Jersey and Delaware.  

I’ll get back to writing about the political happenings in Monmouth, the State and the Nation. I’ll be writing about some of the things I missed while was away.  I may write about topics other than politics too. 

I won’t be writing about the charges against me.  Comments about the charges will be removed and those commenters blocked.  There are other sites that will accommodate my naysayers.

I am happy to be back. 

I am extremely grateful to the many, many people who have supported me throughout this ordeal and to those who have been supportive since my release two weeks ago.   In times of crisis like the one I have faced, you quickly learn who your friends are.

I am grateful to, and for, my friends and family.

Posted: November 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 U.S. Senate Race, Art Gallagher, blogger, Delaware, Monmouth County, New Jersey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

16 Comments on “Is New Jersey the next Delaware?”

  1. Dan Jacobson said at 8:12 pm on November 18th, 2011:

    Welcome back to blogging, Art!

    As many of us have noted since this story broke, you are entitled to the presumption of innocence. Those who believe in our Constitution should respect that and withhold judgement on these charges until all the facts are in.

    All of us — saint, sinner and those somewhere in between — are entitled to that consideration from our fellow citizens.

    In the meantime, I look forward to enjoying your return to the site you built.

    Dan Jacobson

  2. Lois said at 8:29 pm on November 18th, 2011:

    love you babe. So good to have you back.

  3. Charles M said at 8:43 pm on November 18th, 2011:

    Welcome back Art! Things were too boring with out you here!

  4. Mrs. Seward said at 9:00 pm on November 18th, 2011:

    Well said.
    Welcome back!

  5. The Digger said at 9:18 pm on November 18th, 2011:

    Welcome Back!

    Sounds like we need prison reform in Monmouth County, to save some overspent tax dollars.

  6. Helene said at 9:47 pm on November 18th, 2011:

    You never know what challenges life will throw at you. Good luck to you on this matter.

  7. louise said at 2:25 am on November 19th, 2011:

    As a blue in Middletown, I have often found your comments mean-spirited about MT dems. But even so, I have compassion for your family and for what you all have been going through. Given your comments about how you have been changed, I look forward, hopefully. to your having a more balanced view and encouragement for those who participate in the political process in an attempt to improve things, even if they are not of your party. We are all at least of the same human race. And, let’s admit it, as Dan has stated, it is way too boring to have one party all the time. Please do not disappoint me and others by going back to your old ways; you ran as an independent, act as one.

  8. Bob English said at 2:34 pm on November 19th, 2011:

    Art…Glad to have you back.

  9. Rick Ambrosia said at 6:11 pm on November 19th, 2011:

    Glad you’re back Art! The admin who you had covering just wasn’t up to the caliber of postings that you provide. Please keep up the good work and know that things always work out for the best.

  10. Ray Goddard said at 7:46 pm on November 19th, 2011:

    Art, great to have you back. I’m confident that everything will be fine.

  11. Tea Party Courier » Is New Jersey the next Delaware? – MoreMonmouthMusings said at 4:17 am on November 20th, 2011:

    […] BLOG ELECTION WATCH- read full blog entry below: Is New Jersey the next Delaware? – MoreMonmouthMusings This entry was written by staffwriter , posted on Sunday November 20 2011at 08:11 am , filed under […]

  12. admin said at 9:36 am on November 20th, 2011:

    Nice Ambrosia,
    Here I am doing the best I can as a favor to a friend and you have to beat up on me. Do you enjoy hurting other peoples feelings?

  13. Rick Ambrosia said at 11:40 am on November 20th, 2011:

    Too much Jimmy and “Barry Goldwater”. And, if your feelings get hurt just because of that…you’re in the wrong business.

  14. admin said at 2:07 pm on November 20th, 2011:

    I’m not in the business you cruel SOB. This will set my therapy back at least 6 months.

  15. Welcome back, Art! said at 1:45 am on November 22nd, 2011:

    Can’t help but notice that the Asbury Park Press didn’t bother to pick up the news story that your bail in Delaware was set at a fraction of what NJ asked for.

    $12,000 bail in DE vs $250,000 in NJ certainly sounds like news to me, but I suppose the APP felt that the story wasn’t damaging enough to the lives of yourself and your family.  

    Frankly, I’m disgusted with them and the vile, ugly, hate comments they allowed to be posted along with their articles.  It was beyond appalling.

    I’m truly sorry that you, your family, and your friends have been through this ordeal  I hope you all can gain some solace in knowing that what’s been happening out there hasn’t gone unnoticed by the general public.        

    Happy Thanksgiving, and best wishes to you and yours, Art.

  16. Is New Jersey the next Delaware? – MoreMonmouthMusings – Election 2012 Coverage said at 10:33 pm on November 27th, 2011:

    […] More From Source: Is New Jersey the next Delaware? – MoreMonmouthMusings […]