Judge explains Ricciardi decision; notes familial circumstances and loss of income

HOBOKEN – The federal judge who sentenced former Hoboken information technology manager Patrick Ricciardi to five years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to intercepting confidential emails and disseminating them to third parties said that she opted against jail time due to Ricciardi’s familial circumstances, his financial losses since being fired, and her opinion that he “Should not be held accountable for past corruption.”

At the sentencing on Friday, both the prosecution and Mayor Dawn Zimmer gave statements discussing Hoboken’s history of political corruption, and asked Judge Esther Salas to impose on Ricciardi a harsh jail sentence as a deterrent against future corruption.

But Salas, while admitting that Ricciardi’s crime was “reprehensible,” said that he cannot be held accountable for the corruption of past mayors such as Peter Cammarano and Anthony Russo, both of whom were mentioned by name in Zimmer’s statement.

“Justice is not met by holding Ricciardi accountable for the corruption of past administrations,” said Salas. “That is not justice.”

Salas also said that in sentencing Ricciardi to probation rather than jail time, she took into account his familial situation. Ricciardi’s three sons all live at home and depend somewhat on their father, especially a son who suffers from an illness. Additionally, Ricciardi pays alimony to his estranged wife, and is significantly behind on his mortgage, she said.

“When we look at [one of the sons], we need to recognize that he needs his dad,” she said.

She also noted Ricciardi’s new income of $50,000, which is significantly less than the $200,000 he made working for the city. She said that the financial impact would suffice as payment for his crimes. – Dean DeChiaro

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