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  1. #1
    Forum Member SANDSTROMJM's Avatar
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    Default Teen Gets Community Service For Forest Fire

    POSTED: 10:01 a.m. EDT June 5, 2003

    TOMS RIVER, N.J. -- An Ocean County teenager will spend his Saturdays maintaining firefighting equipment to fulfill the community service portion of his sentence for his role in causing a forest fire that caused $1 million in property damage.

    Phillip J. Marshall of Beachwood was sentenced to three years probation and 780 hours of community service on Wednesday by Superior Court Judge Edward Turnbach.

    Marshall, 19, pleaded guilty to arson in March under a deal struck with the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. Marshall, who is due to graduate from high school this month, was spared a 364-day jail term he could have received under the plea bargain.


    He was one of three Beachwood residents charged in the June 2002 fire that scorched 1,300 acres, destroyed one home and forced the evacuation of 500 others in central Ocean County and closed the Garden State Parkway for 12 hours.

    Authorities said the three failed to extinguish an illegal campfire after celebrating Ryan Mehan's 17th birthday with a beer party in the woods at Double Trouble State Park in Berkeley.

    Mehan received a year of probation after he pleaded guilty in Family Court to criminal mischief and witness tampering charges in September.

    On Monday, Christopher Walters, 20, pleaded guilty to criminal mischief charges as part of a deal struck with prosecutors.

    Walters -- who had been charged with starting an illegal fire, damaging state property and disrupting public transportation -- faces up to 364 days in jail when he is sentenced July 18.

    Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Phillip J. Marshall of Beachwood was sentenced to three years probation and 780 hours of community service

    Thumbs up to a real community service sentence!

    I roll my eyes when you I read these 20/40/80 hour community service sentences

    This is 8 hours/week for nearly two years -- that's enough to put a real crimp on somebody's free time!

  3. #3
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    This sentence put a smile on this FF's face....and shows some excellent cooperation between law enforcement, the NJ Forest Fire Service, investigators and the Ocean County Prosecutor's office.

    Well done!
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  4. #4
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    Not necessarily a bad idea, but if it's a volly dept, then one of the members has to serve the guy's sentence with him.A youth court judge called me a couple years back and floated this same idea and I said we'd give it a try. We worked around his school time.There's generally some people around the station for a while in the evening, but you've still got to have someone there to supervise the individual. There is only so much equipment to clean and square footage to sweep. Everybody got through it but we told the court,"Tkanks but no thanks" on another go around with this program.

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