PoliceOne Staff Report (MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ) -- Two New Brunswick police officers convicted of running a brothel were sentenced on Jan. 3 to three- and four-year prison terms respectively.
Superior Court Judge Barnett Hoffman told former police sergeant Marco Chinchilla, and ex-detective James Marshall that their crimes deserved "stern punishment."
Marshall was ordered to serve four years, Chinchilla will serve three.
"Given the potential range of official misconduct by a police officer, the misconduct here relating to the operation of a bordello is not the most egregious," Hoffman told the court, according to the New Jersey Home News Tribune.
"Nevertheless it deserves stern punishment...A message must be sent to the people who protect society against criminals that they cannot become part of the criminals. That no one is above the law -- including police officers."
Both men profess their innocence in the case. Marshall told the Tribune that he turned down a plea agreement offered by the prosecution. Chinchilla and his family asked the judge to consider his 16 years on the force.
"Certainly a lifetime of past accomplishments must be taken into account and weighed against the misdeeds involved in this case," Hoffman told the court.
Marshall faces other charges stemming from allegations that he ran two other houses of prostitution in the city, was involved in the drug trade, and committed perjury and bribery.
Attorneys for the men promised to appeal. There was talk of a possible new trial when it was discovered that one juror did not reveal a prior drug arrest, but the judge would not overturn the jury's verdict, saying that the juror "basically gave candid answers"