Criminal Judge Says Arson Case Was Illegally Wrested From Him
Gannon denies knowing who disclosed the letter to the media but acknowledges authorship.
The plea deal in question was offered to former Morris County Sheriff's Officer and volunteer firefighter Jason Campbell, who is accused of two arsons, official misconduct, drug possession and child neglect.
Under the spurned plea, Campbell would have admitted to second-degree official misconduct and third-degree drug possession, with a recommended sentence of five years in prison, followed by five years of parole.
Charges for two incidents of arson and child neglect would have been dropped.
The misconduct charge was based on Campbell allegedly flashing his sheriff's badge in an attempt to avoid drug charges after he was found with oxycodone in a 2012 traffic stop.
At the time, Campbell was under suspension on account of the arson charges.
Gannon said in his letter and in an interview that he does not believe the lawyers — Assistant Morris County Prosecutor Brian DiGiacomo and defense counsel Jeffrey Patti of Sparta — were truthful when they told him during the June 20 plea hearing that proving the arson would be problematic.
He wrote that he thought they were "trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the Court" and "I am not sure they realized I had previously read the Grand Jury testimony and all the police reports."
In fact, Gannon had dismissed charges on one of the arsons for insufficient evidence but was reversed by the Appellate Division on March 1.
The dismissed arson concerned a fire set at a vacant house in Parsippany in June 2010. Campbell, then acting chief of a Parsippany-Troy Hills fire company, helped put it out.