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Friday, June 18, 2010

Corrupt Court Administrator a Jersey City Disgrace

A Jersey City Municipal Court administrator is facing jail time for fixing 214 parking tickets she incurred over an eight-year period.   (That's an average of two a month.)  Virginia Pagan admitted guilt in New Jersey's Hudson County Superior Court yesterday, with her plea following a guilty plea from former Municipal Court Judge Wanda Molina.

This corruption, by a judge and court administrator, severely undermines the public's faith in the even-handedness of the judicial system and in the administration of justice itself.

Both Pagan and Molina face future permanent bars of public employment and restitution obligations; Molina should also be facing disbarment from the state bar.  (I would advise she should resign in advance of her criminal sentencing in order to show contrition for a crime to which she has admitted as a prerequisite for more leniency.) 

I have previously suggested that Molina should be barred from running or being employed by any nonprofit organization (of which many such organizations receive most or all of their funding from government sources and are thus de-facto public sector employers), and I would add in a bar for-profit corporation which receives government grants or contracts.   The same should apply for Virginia Pagan.   Such a bar would be a stronger punishment and more of a deterrent than a short jail sentence -- which for many in New Jersey's public sector seems to be some perverse rite of passage.

Eric Dixon is a New York investigative lawyer who specializes in corporate, business and election law and civil and constitutional rights matters.   He is available for comment at 917-696-2442. 

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