Moreover, since Jones was remanded as opposed to the Appellate Division exercising original jurisdiction, it may very well be that she was ultimately sentenced to a downgraded prison sentence, as opposed to a standard five to ten year second degree prison sentence. Due to the age of the Jones case, I could not ascertain the ultimate disposition. The State’s attorney of record on appeal, Marc J. Friedman, indicated that: he did not know Jones’s ultimate disposition, the the defendant’s attorney on appeal was deceased, and that he did not believe any record of the case remained in Essex County.
Additionally, Jones embezzled $720,600.22 in 1984. When adjusted for inflation, that figure is the equivalent of $1,670,341.35 today. Thus, Jones’s case is far less similar to a third degree theft than many second degree thefts involving losses relatively close to the $75,000 threshold that distinguishes third degree thefts from second degree thefts.
Moreover, the appellate division disagreed with the Jones trial court’s weighing of the aggravating and mitigating factors:
Comparing these factors, the judge concluded the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating factors and downgraded the crime to a third degree offense for sentencing purposes. N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(f)(2). The State contends the judge reached this result by improperly weighing the factors with a focus on the defendant and rehabilitation rather than on the seriousness of the offense. See State v. Roth, 95 N.J. 334, 377 (1984). It contends this action amounted to a clear abuse of discretion requiring reversal. We agree.
Jones at 607-608.
Thus, an important distinction between Jones and cases in which a downgrade is sought is whether or not the weighing of the aggravating and mitigating factors are affirmed on appeal. If the factors are affirmed, the case at issue is more amenable to a downgrade than Jones was.