The Appellate Division concluded with the following in relevant part: The evidence indicated Edwards was convicted of a first-time offense for shoplifting. Because the matter had been decided summarily, according to Pennsylvania law, the offense must have involved merchandise valued at less than $150. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3929(b)(i). In New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11(c)(4) provides that shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense when the full retail value of the merchandise is less than $200. Here, although the exact value of the merchandise Edwards shoplifted is unknown, the evidence established that it was less than $150. It follows that, if she had been convicted in New Jersey, she would have been convicted only of a disorderly persons offense.
For this reason, even assuming N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2(a) applies, we agree with the court that the Pennsylvania conviction does not require removal of Edwards’ name from the ballot. A hearing was not required because the record contained the necessary information, given that it established a Pennsylvania magisterial district court heard the matter, and was therefore a summary offense.
Plaintiffs’ arguments regarding Edwards’ eligibility for elected office conflate the forfeiture and eligibility provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2. Plaintiffs emphasize in their brief they are challenging Edwards’ eligibility, yet they focus on the forfeiture provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2(a), which only address offenses committed by elected officials while in public office. Plaintiffs ignore N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2(d), which deals with individuals ineligible to serve. Here, it is undisputed Edwards’ offense occurred prior to her election, and therefore N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2(a) is inapplicable.
We by no means suggest that a candidate’s past shoplifting offense is a trivial matter or that such an offense could not be deemed an offense bespeaking dishonesty under N.J.S.A. 2C:51-2(a). Even so, plaintiffs plainly do not satisfy the requirements of the forfeiture statute. Moreover, Edwards properly disclosed the shoplifting offense when she filed her petition for candidacy, and the voters elected her despite that disclosure.
The irrelevant information in the plaintiffs’ brief further suggests that this litigation was intended to embarrass the office holder. Or, it could have also been an effort to hurt her chances at re-election.