SENTENCINGS DELAYED IN FIREHOUSE TUSSLE
One of two videos of a firehouse fight involving three Sea Bright firemen last October. The second video is below. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The lawyer for two Sea Bright volunteer firefighters convicted of assaulting a third in the town’s firehouse last year has obtained a delay in their sentencings, which had been scheduled for today.
Brothers Steven Lang, 25, and Peter Lang IV, 33, are facing banishment from the fire company, under a sentence sought by the prosecutor in the case, Mike Halfacre. But defense lawyer William Wilson won a one-month adjournment by questioning whether the town’s governing body really wants to see the Langs kicked to the curb.
Meantime, redbankgreen has obtained the two video views of the October 9, 2010 scuffle, which occurred during a wet-down celebration for a new fire truck.
The videos were used in municipal court in Little Silver, to which the case was moved to avoid conflicts of interest in Sea Bright. The Lang brothers were both found guilty in July of of disorderly persons offenses against fellow volunteer Justin Hughes. Hughes was convicted of harassment in the case.
Halfacre, a lawyer who also serves as Fair Haven’s mayor, has asked Judge James Berube Jr. to ban the Langs, who are both line officers in the fire company, for at least a year, and possibly for life. He cited a state law that he said requires forfeiture of office by anyone in a public position who is convicted of any offense that touches upon the defendants role in office.
Peter Lang was set to move up the ladder into the assistant chief position this year, and Steven Lang was slated for the second lieutenant role. But those positions have sat vacant all year, with the brothers maintaining their previously held officer positions.
Hughes, 28, who is not an officer, is not believed to face a ban.
Halfacre tells redbankgreen that the sentencings were adjourned because Wilson believes the borough council “might have a mixture of opinions” on whether it wants Halfacre to pursue banishments. Halfacre said he is willing to listen to the council, which next meets on September 6, for its input.
But while he’s open to the council’s input, Halfacre said, ultimately, he’s the one who will decide what penalty to pursue.
“The fact of the matter is that the borough council is not the ones making that decision. I’m the one making that decision,” Halfacre said.
Ultimately, it’s up to judge Berube to decide whether to accept or reject the prosecutor’s recommendation, Halfacre said.
Wilson could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.